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Record producer Phil Spector charged with murder

Phil Spector
Phil Spector

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CNN's Charles Feldman provides background on famed music producer Phil Spector who was charged with the murder of an actress.
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Phil Spector
Robert Shapiro

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Music producer Phil Spector, known for his creation of the "Wall of Sound," was charged Thursday with murder in the shooting of actress Lana Clarkson, the Los Angeles district attorney's office said.

In his afternoon arraignment in Alhambra Superior Court, Spector pleaded not guilty. The judge set the next court date for January 23.

Spector, 62, was arrested February 3 after authorities found Clarkson's body in a pool of blood at the entrance to Spector's mansion. His driver had called 911, reporting gunfire inside the home.

A coroner's report concluded that Clarkson, 40, was the victim of a homicide. Sheriff's authorities said Spector was the only suspect.

He was released on $1 million bail while prosecutors decided whether to charge him.

Spector suggested in an interview with Esquire magazine that Clarkson may have shot herself.

His attorney, Robert Shapiro, released a statement saying his office had "assembled a team of scientific experts which is among the most respected and prestigious in the world.

"Based on this team's findings of this horrible human event, any jury will conclude that Phil Spector is not guilty," Shapiro's statement said. "We will prevail."

The district attorney's statement said the complaint against Spector alleges he used a handgun to commit the crime.

Spector first became famous for writing and recording (with his group, the Teddy Bears) the No. 1 song "To Know Him Is to Love Him." In the early '60s, he developed the Wall of Sound, an exciting, instrumentally dense swirl of melody and percussion associated with productions such as the Ronettes' "Be My Baby," the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," and Darlene Love's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)."

Spector also produced the Beatles' classic "Let it Be" album, George Harrison's "All Things Must Pass," John Lennon's "Plastic Ono Band" and "Imagine," and the Ramones' "End of the Century."

He has won two Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, but he has largely stayed out of the public eye for the past two decades.

Clarkson appeared in small roles throughout her acting career, with appearances in films including "Scarface," "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "Deathstalker," and "Blind Date."

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