Two years after the death of music producer and convicted murderer Phil Spector, a controversial attempt to clear his name is understood to be underway.
Widely lauded as a musical genius for his work with The Righteous Brothers, Tina Turner, The Beatles, and more, Spector spent the last years of his life in prison after being convicted of murdering actress Lana Clarkson.
In February 2003, the shooting of the 40-year-old in Spector’s sprawling California mansion, known as the Castle of the Pyrenees, shocked Hollywood and the world.
Specter – who Died in prison at age 81 after contracting COVID -Always maintained his innocence by claiming that Clarkson “kissed the gun” and shot himself on his property.
It’s the version of this event that the producer’s daughter still believes to be true, according to the director of the new Sky documentary.
This four-part series delves into the lives of Spector and Clarkson and examines the notorious murders that took place in his home.
Nicole Spector agreed to be interviewed for the show, claiming her father was “easy prey” for prosecutors, and evidence heard at his trial that “he couldn’t pull the trigger.” It soon became clear.”
“She has a strong feeling that Lana took her life and believes the forensic evidence backs it up,” director Sheena Joyce told Sky News.
“I don’t know if she’ll change her mind about it.”
Nicole remains “angry” and “devastated” for spending more than a decade in prison for a crime she didn’t believe her father committed, Joyce says.
According to the documentary maker, Spector’s daughter is “getting the Innocence Project (which works to acquit wrongfully convicted people) to back the case and get her father acquitted.”
When he was convicted of murder during Spector’s first trial (which ended in a jury hanging) and a subsequent retrial, the defense attorney said that Spector pulled the trigger on the gun that killed Clarkson. He claimed that “there is no physical evidence”.
“We didn’t find any fingerprints[on the gun]. There was no DNA on the gun. There was no bullet residue on him,” Spector’s trial attorney Linda Kenny Burden told the documentary. also highlights the apparent lack of blood on the white jacket Spector wore on the night of Clarkson’s death.
Don Urgot, who directed the documentary with Joyce, said the two were “open minded” about Spector’s conviction, perusing the records, documents and video evidence presented at his trial.
However, both filmmakers believe the jury’s verdict was correct in Spector’s retrial.
“I think it’s silly to think that[Lana Clarkson]walked into a stranger’s house, got rooted in[Spectre’s]stuff, found a gun and shot her in the face,” says Joyce.
“We’ve looked at forensic evidence, but it doesn’t exonerate Phil Spector.
“(Nicole) is going to hold on to what needs to be held on to.
“It’s very clear to us that Phil Spector did that.”
“You can’t change Nicole’s mind,” adds Argott.
“She has her truth and that’s what she clings to. I’m not going to say it’s wrong or take it away.
“Indeed, I think she struggles to reconcile the beautiful man her father had for her with his portrayal of him as a murderer. She just can’t get there.
“She has retained elements of the investigation that she considers to be the definitive proof of her father’s innocence, and that’s where she is.”
The Innocence Project said it could not comment on whether Spector was involved in the exoneration attempt, but his daughter Nicole also declined to comment when contacted by Sky News.
“B-class actress” label
The documentary not only explored the murder itself, but also focused on media coverage of Clarkson’s death, repeatedly calling Clarkson a “B-movie actress.”
She has a string of film and television credits, appearing in the 1980s cult film Fast Times At Ridgemont High, opposite David Hasselhoff in Knight Rider.
Clarkson was working as a hostess at the House of Blues Club on Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip when she first met Spector the night she was killed.
Joyce says Clarkson’s portrayal as a “B-movie actress” is a “throwaway shorthand”.
“Somehow having a nickname like ‘B-movie actress’ before her name shows that she was desperate, that she wanted it, that she wanted it. , ”said the director.
“It’s a very quick way to tell a story about someone.
“It was important that Lana wasn’t just a footnote to Phil Spector’s story.
“We wanted her to be a fully fleshed out character.
Clarkson’s mother Donna is interviewed in the documentary, but Joyce admits she had “considerable concerns” about joining.
“It can be difficult for people to understand the benefits of participating in something like this,” she says.
“They talk about the hardest things that happened to them.
“And they are preparing for disappointment and ridicule, which is tearing old wounds.
“It was important for her to understand that she really wanted[Lana]to be fleshed out as a real character, not a footnote to a Phil Spector story.
“It took a while to convince her, but in the end she trusted us. We feel we did the right thing with her.”
How Phil Spector Was Convicted of Lana Clarkson’s Murder
- Phil Spector had dinner with friends in Los Angeles on the night of February 2, 2003.
- Later that night, he took a waitress to the House of Blues on Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip, where he was introduced to actress Lana Clarkson, who worked as a hostess.
- Spector invited Clarkson to his mansion in Alhambra, California, where driver Adriano De Souza drove the two.
- In the early hours of February 3, 2003, De Souza said he heard noises coming from the Spector premises and the producer opened the door with a gun and said, “I think the boss killed someone.”
- Police arrived and found Ms. Clarkson dead in a chair with a single gunshot wound to her mouth.
- Spector was arrested, first telling police that “the gun had accidentally fired” and later saying that Ms Clarkson committed suicide.
- Spector’s televised trial began in March 2007, but the jury could not agree on a unanimous verdict.
- A non-televised retrial began in October 2008, resulting in Spector being convicted of murder. He was jailed for at least 19 years in May 2009.
A ‘musical genius’ who committed a ‘heinous crime’
Some media coverage of Spector’s death was criticized at the time, with the BBC apologizing for headlines describing the convicted killer as “talented but flawed”.
Joyce said in the documentary that “a lot of people are probably upset that we recognized his musical talent.”
“He was a murderer and he committed heinous crimes. He abused women for decades. It’s absolutely true,” says the director.
“He was also a musical genius. One doesn’t deny the other, but you can’t really reconcile the two.”
Spector was only 17 years old when he scored a Top 10 hit in the US, performing To Know Him Is To Love Him with The Teddy Bears.
However, he is best known for his role as a producer, working with some of music’s biggest stars and creating his “wall of sound” recording technique with its dense, layered effect. bottom.
A billionaire by the time he was 21, Spector has produced hits for Ike and Tina Turner, The Ronettes, The Righteous Brothers, Cher, Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles, and more. Produced the last album “Let It Be”. He also co-starred with John Lennon in Imagine.
The 1965 song You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’, co-written by Spector, is listed as the most broadcast record in the United States of the 20th century.
Asked if he could listen to his music now without thinking about Spector’s murder, Joyce replied, “It’s a tough question. How do you distinguish between art and artist?
“Can you distinguish art from an artist? That is not a question for which we have a definite answer.
“Phil Spector was a man behind the scenes, not a singer, and I still think it’s easier to listen to Phil Spector’s music.
“I can’t imagine Christmas without his Christmas album.
“That being said, he was a genius music producer who abused women and murdered people. You can’t separate that.
“I think there is no clear answer and everyone has their own route.
“Isn’t the reason you don’t watch a movie produced by Harvey Weinstein because he’s a monster? Everyone’s lines will be different.”
Spector is available now on Sky Documentaries and streaming services.