Phil Spector is released on $1 million bail. The producer is accused of murdering B-movie actress Lana Clarkson

By Gary Susman
Updated February 04, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

After spending the day in a cell at the Alhambra, Calif., police station, legendary record producer Phil Spector was released Monday evening on $1 million bail, according to the Los Angeles Times. He was charged with first-degree murder in the early morning shooting death of a woman at his mansion in the Los Angeles suburb. Police identified her as Lana Clarkson, a B-movie actress whose connection to Spector was unclear. Sources told the Times they had met only the night before, and police told the Times they had been called by a limousine driver who reported hearing shots after dropping the pair off at Spector’s home. His attorney, O.J. Simpson lawyer Robert Shapiro, declined to comment on the case.

Clarkson, whose website says she was born in 1961, was a tall, blond actress whose fans best remembered her for starring in the series of ”Barbarian Queen” movies produced by low-budget king Roger Corman, which she claimed were precursors to the TV hit ”Xena: Warrior Princess.” Though she had bit parts in such mainstream fare as ”Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and ”Scarface” and had numerous TV guest spots to her credit, she was mostly known for such B-movies as ”Deathstalker” and ”Vice Girls” and was a frequent guest at comic book conventions.

A 1989 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee for his hitmaking work with such artists as the Righteous Brothers, the Crystals, the Ronettes, the Beatles, and many others, Spector was famed for his ”wall of sound,” the lush, multilayered orchestral effect that marked his records and made him one of the most influential producers in rock history. The 62-year-old had worked sporadically over the last couple of decades; his friend Marvin Mitchelson, the Los Angeles attorney, told the Associated Press on Monday that Spector had been developing a movie about his life and had been in good spirits. Still, Spector was famously volatile in and out of the studio, with Dee Dee Ramone, Leonard Cohen, and Ronnie Spector (the Ronettes’ lead singer, and his wife from 1968 to 1974) all having once accused him of waving a gun at them.