Wife of legendary music executive Clarence Avant fatally shot in Beverly Hills home

Jacqueline Avant, the wife of Grammy Award-winning music executive Clarence Avant, was fatally shot early Wednesday in her Los Angeles-area home.

Beverly Hills police officers responded to a home just before 2:30 a.m. where they found one person shot. The unidentified victim was taken to a hospital and died. It was unclear why the home was targeted. 

No suspects were found at the scene. 

A Netflix spokeswoman confirmed to Fox News that the victim was 81-year-old Jacqueline Avant. Avant’s daughter, Nicole, is married to Ted Sarandos, Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer. 

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EXCLUSIVE: Crime scene photos of broken window and detectives at the home of Clarence Avant wife’s murder. 01 Dec 2021 Pictured: Clarence Avant. Photo credit: APEX / MEGA TheMegaAgency.com +1 888 505 6342 (Mega Agency TagID: MEGA810028_001.jpg) [Photo via Mega Agency]
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Avant was a local philanthropist and president of the Neighbors of Watts support group. She also served on the board of directors of the International Student Center at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Her 90-year-old husband is known as the “Godfather of Black Music” and was recently inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Former President Barack Obama and Vice President Kamala Harris were among those who paid tribute to him in a video made for the induction ceremony in October.

Jacqueline Avant, left, and Clarence Avant appear at the 11th Annual AAFCA Awards in Los Angeles on Jan. 22, 2020. She was fatally shot early Wednesday in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Mark Von Holden Invision/AP, File)

Jacqueline Avant, left, and Clarence Avant appear at the 11th Annual AAFCA Awards in Los Angeles on Jan. 22, 2020. She was fatally shot early Wednesday in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Mark Von Holden Invision/AP, File)

He mentored a number of artists including Bill Withers, Little Willie John, L.A. Reid, Babyface, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. In 2019, Netflix released “The Black Godfather,” a documentary about his career. 

News of Avant’s death triggered a slew of tributes from celebrities and political figures, including former President Bill Clinton. 

“Jackie Avant was a wonderful woman, a great partner to Clarence and mother to Alex and Nicole, an active citizen & a dear friend to Hillary and me for 30 years,” he wrote on Twitter. “She inspired admiration, respect & affection in everyone who knew her. We are heartbroken. She will be deeply missed.”

Daniel Bakewell, a lifelong friend of the Avant family and publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel, a Black-owned weekly newspaper, conveyed his condolences in a statement released through the publication. 

“I cannot express how overwhelmingly pained I am at the loss of such a beautiful person as Jackie Avant. For her to be killed in such a senseless way is unfathomable,” he said. “There are no 2 more kind and generous people than Clarence and Jackie and for their home and their lives to be violated in such a violent manner is unconscionable.”

NBA legend and former Los Angeles Lakers star Earvin “Magic” Johnson called Jacqueline Avant “the sweetest person you could ever meet.”

“She had a beautiful soul, kind heart, & always had a kind word for everybody. She was quiet, yet powerful, & very smart. We are crying for Clarence, Nicole, & Alex’s loss. Our thoughts & prayers go out to the entire family,” he wrote on Twitter.

U.S. Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., said she was “heartbroken” by the tragic news. 

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“Mrs. Avant was a force of compassion and empowerment locally and nationally for decades, as well as a model of service and giving back to those who needed it most,” she tweeted. “The devastating events of last night along with recent reports of brazen crime in Los Angeles rupture the expectation of safety we have for our friends, families and fellow Angelenos.”

A police officer walks down Maytor Place in the Trousdale Estates section of Beverly Hills, Calif., Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. Jacqueline Avant, the wife of music legend Clarence Avant, was fatally shot in the neighborhood early Wednesday. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

A police officer walks down Maytor Place in the Trousdale Estates section of Beverly Hills, Calif., Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. Jacqueline Avant, the wife of music legend Clarence Avant, was fatally shot in the neighborhood early Wednesday. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

“All of us have a right to be safe and last night was an absolute violation of that right,” she added. 

The Beverly Hills Police Department is expected to hold a news conference sometime Wednesday to release more details about the killing. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Deshmukh Junaid

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