Phil Spector, Convicted Murderer Once Revered as a Pop Music Producer, Dead at 81

Phil Spector died atage 81
Jae C. Hong-Pool/Getty Images

Phil Spector, the rockstar turned convicted murderer, died over the weekend from natural causes while serving his prison sentence. Spector was 81, the California department of corrections confirmed Saturday to CBS News.

Spector was best known for his "Wall of Sound" method, creating groundbreaking musical masterpieces but all of his musical accomplishments were overshadowed when a jury convicted him of the shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson, who was found at his Los Angeles home in 2003.

Clarkson was best known for her role in "Barbarian Queen." She was found shot to death in Spector's suburban mansion, CBS reported. Spector maintained that the actress' death was an "accidental suicide," the outlet reported.

The pair had reportedly met while Clarkson was working as a hostess at Los Angeles' House of Blues, Roling Stone reported.

On the early morning of Feb. 3 nearly 18 years ago, Spector's chauffeur heard what he thought was a gunshot echo from his home, according to a testimony they would later give, the outlet reported.

He was sentenced to 19 years to life in prison for second-degree murder in 2009.

Spector, whose full name was Harvey Philip Spector, was a Bronx-born native who, after his father's suicide, moved to Los Angeles with his mother. There, he went on to play in jazz groups across the city, according to Rolling Stone. 

By his mid-twenties, he became a millionaire and music legend.

He was known for his musical partnerships with esteemed artists including The Beatles, Ike & Tina Turner, and Glen Campbell.

After Clarkson's murder, it took a year for authorities to file charges. Until then, Spector was a free man walking on $1 million bail, CBS reported.

Officials say that Spector died of natural causes, although he was hospitalized with coronavirus four weeks ago.


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