Celebrity deaths 2020: In memoriam

Beatles producer dies in jail, 81

Phil Spector has died at the age of 81.

The convicted murderer and "wall of sound" music producer died on Saturday, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said.

Sources told TMZ the jailed producer died of COVID-19 complications, but the CDCR said the cause of death is under investigation.

Spector had been serving a 19-year sentence in prison for the murder of US actress Lana Clarkson in 2003.

"California Health Care Facility inmate Phillip Spector, 80, was pronounced deceased of natural causes at 6:35 p.m. on Saturday, January 16, 2021, at an outside hospital," the CDCR said in a statement.

Spector had been hospitalised after his coronavirus diagnosis four weeks ago and returned to jail, sources told TMZ.

He reportedly relapsed, however, and died on Saturday after being taken to hospital.

CDCR said the medical examiner in the San Joaquin County Sheriff's office will confirm the cause of death.

The late producer had been involved with a number of great hits - and mixed albums for top names including The Beatles.

He produced for other artists, including The Righteous Brothers, Ike & Tina, and The Ronettes.

Spector became known for the "wall of sound" music technique.

He used a roaring effect in music which he discovered in a tunnel near Hollywood Blvd - which he dubbed the "Wagnerian approach to rock 'n' roll," TMZ reports.

Spector was imprisoned after he fatally shot actress Lana Clarkson in 2003.

Actress Lana Clarkson was found shot dead in the California home of rock & roll producer Phil Spector in 2003.
Actress Lana Clarkson was found shot dead in the California home of rock & roll producer Phil Spector in 2003.

Although the first court proceedings led to a declared mistrial, a retrial that started in October 2008 led to him being found guilty of second-degree murder.

He was eligible for parole in 2025.

Actor Al Pacino played the disgraced producer in a 2013 movie on his murder trial, titled Phil Spector.

Al Pacino and Helen Mirren in the 2013 film, Phil Spector.
Al Pacino and Helen Mirren in the 2013 film, Phil Spector.

Spector had three wives throughout his life: Spectors Three vocalist Annette Merar, The Ronettes singer Veronica Bennett, later known as Ronnie Spector, and Rachelle Short.

Spector recently was seen with a new look as he appeared bald in his latest prison snap.

The picture came after he became known for his use of wigs during his trials.

Producer Phil Spector.
Producer Phil Spector.

Word of Spector's death spread quickly on Sunday, with people commenting on his life.

"Phil Spector has died. He was genius and lunacy wrapped up in one," one user wrote.

"It's a shame that the incredible music he produced is tainted with the horrors of his personal life," they added.

This story originally appeared on The Sun and has been reproduced here with permission

 

Originally published as Beatles producer dies in jail, 81


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