Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Arrested in the Beverly Hills murder of Jacqueline Avant

Beverly Hills police have arrested Jacqueline Avant, a prominent Los Angeles philanthropist, political insider and wife of music legend Clarence Avant, sources familiar with the matter told The Times.

Officials are planning a press conference at 12:30 to provide details.

“This is a sad incident, and although we are happy to have been arrested, I feel very sorry for the family,” Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Steinbrook told The Times.

Jacqueline and Clarence Avant lived in the prestigious Truesdale Estates in Beverly Hills. Early Wednesday morning at least one person entered their home and shot Jacqueline. According to Steinbrook, Clarence and a security guard were also in the house at the time of the shooting.

Police responded to the reported shooting at the 1100 block of Maytor Place shortly before 2:30 am Wednesday, and upon arrival, police found Jacqueline with a gunshot wound. She was taken to Cedars Sinai Hospital, where she later died.

The chief said that it looked like nothing obvious had been extracted from the house, but that it would take time to say with certainty.

Law enforcement sources told The Times that at least one intruder entered the house prior to the shooting. An aerial video on Wednesday showed a sliding glass door that appeared to have been shattered.

Avant, 81, has been a prominent figure in national Democratic politics and a Los Angeles philanthropist for decades.

She once served as president of Neighbors of Watts, a support group for the South Central Community Child Care Center, as well as chairman of the NOW Entertainment Auction.

Her husband is a legend in the music industry, working or advising stars such as Jimmy Smith, Lalo Shifrin, Babyface, Bill Withers, Sixto Rodriguez, SOS Band and Cherrelle.

Known as the Black Godfather, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2016 and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2021.

Avant’s assassination caused shock in Hollywood, as well as in political circles, where she was a beloved figure.

Reginald Hadlin, who directed a 2019 documentary about Clarence Avant, described Jacqueline as “universal love and admiration for a role model in our community and in our lives,” and said he was shocked by the news.

Their daughter Nicole Avant was the US ambassador to the Bahamas during President Obama’s administration and is married to Ted Sarandos, co-CEO and chief content officer of Netflix. In 2007, she spoke of her parents’ deep connections with Democratic leaders, including Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Former President Clinton was among those who paid tribute to Avant after the shooting. tweet that she was “a wonderful woman, a great partner to Clarence and the mother of Alex and Nicole, an active citizen and a close friend of Hillary and myself for 30 years.”

“She evoked admiration, respect and affection from everyone who knew her,” Clinton said. “We are heartbroken. She will be greatly missed. “

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