USA News

Jacqueline Avant, wife of music executive Clarence Avant, fatally shot in Beverly Hills home

Jacqueline Avant, a Los Angeles philanthropist and the the wife of legendary music producer Clarence Avant, was shot and killed during what authorities believe was a home invasion robbery in Beverly Hills early Wednesday morning, a source familiar with the case told The Times.

Police responded to a call of a shooting in the 1100 block of Maytor Place shortly before 2:30 a.m., according to Lt. Giovanni Trejo of the Beverly Hills Police Department.

Officers discovered one victim with a gunshot wound who was transported to a local hospital but died.

Trejo could not immediately confirm the name of the victim. TMZ reported that it was Jacqueline Avant, 81. A source who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed to The Times she was the victim.

Avant has been a prominent Los Angeles philanthropist over the decades, notably in support of the UCLA International Student Center.

Her husband, Clarence Avant, is a legendary figure in the music industry, working with or advising such stars as Jimmy Smith, Lalo Schifrin, Babyface, Bill Withers, Sixto Rodriguez, the SOS Band and Cherelle.

A Times story in 2019 described Clarence Avant as a “poor kid from Depression-era North Carolina who rose to become a behind-the-scenes titan of managing, dealmaking and problem-solving across the spectrum of black entertainment — from a previous era’s jazz and soul royalty to today’s R&B/rap empires, with sports and politics thrown in for good measure.”

The shooting comes amid growing concerns over a string of follow-home robberies in upscale areas of the Los Angeles area.

In November, a crew of masked robbers tracked actor and former BET host Terrence Jenkins to his Sherman Oaks home and attempted to block his car in with an SUV, but he was able to flee in his car as shots were fired.

Last week, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore announced he was setting up a task force to deal with the follow-home robberies, saying the department has not seen violent hold-ups “like this in decades.”

The trend, which has targeted celebrities and upscale restaurants in recent months, turned deadly in the predawn hours last Tuesday when a man was gunned down during an attempted robbery outside Bossa Nova restaurant in Hollywood.

Investigators were still at the scene of the shooting Wednesday morning, Trejo said.

The home is located in Trousdale Estates, a wealthy neighborhood above Sunset Boulevard.

The Avants were a major focus both in music and politics.

Their daughter, Nicole Avant, is married to Netflix executive Ted Sarandos. In 2007, she described her parents’ deep ties to Democratic leaders, including Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Nicole remembered “President Jimmy Carter and Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley working the crowds in the family’s living room. [Future California Gov.] Gray Davis, just starting his own political career, had a small office in the ‘70s at her father’s record company. Gov. Jerry Brown was a frequent visitor at the family’s Beverly Hills estate.”

This is a developing story.

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