Spector Calls Death of Woman a Suicide

Times Staff Writer

Phil Spector, the famed record producer who has been under investigation since the February shooting death of a woman at his Alhambra mansion, describes the incident as a bizarre suicide in an upcoming magazine article that offers his first public comments on the case.

“She kissed the gun,” Spector is quoted as saying in an Esquire magazine article that is scheduled to hit newsstands next week. “I have no idea why -- never knew her, never even saw her before that night.... There’s no case. She killed herself.”

Los Angeles County sheriff’s detectives are still investigating the death of 40-year-old actress and nightclub hostess Lana Clarkson early Feb. 3 in the foyer of Spector’s faux castle. Spector was arrested hours after the shooting and released on $1-million bail.


The coroner’s office has not ruled on the cause of death. No charges have been filed. Sheriff’s investigators declined to comment Tuesday on the new statements by Spector, but in March a department official discounted the suicide theory when it appeared in a widely circulated e-mail that Spector apparently sent to friends and some press.

“If we had come to a conclusion as monumental as suicide, we would have a duty to say so publicly,” Sheriff’s Capt. Frank Merriman said in March. “We believe a crime occurred.”

The interview was conducted in April by Esquire contributing editor Scott Raab. For the story, Raab joined Spector on a chartered flight from Los Angeles to New York and joined him at restaurants and a concert.

Raab quotes Spector, 60, as describing the woman’s shooting as self-inflicted and mysterious: “It’s ‘Anatomy of a Frame-Up.’ ” I have no idea who she was or what her agenda was. They [police] have the gun -- don’t know where or how she got the gun. She asked me for a ride home. Then she wanted to see the castle.”

Spector told Raab that Clarkson was loud and drunk when he met her at the House of Blues, the Sunset Strip club where she was employed, and he said she “grabbed a bottle of tequila from the bar to take with her.”

That does not agree with previous comments made by the nightclub’s staff. Spector is also quoted as saying that he was not drunk. Employees at the House of Blues and another nightspot Spector visited that night said he had been drinking.