Jacqueline Avant, the wife of music icon Clarence Avant, was fatally shot and killed Wednesday morning at their residence in Beverly Hills. She was 81 years old and pronounced dead after being transported to a nearby hospital.
TMZ obtained photos from their home in Trousdale Estates, which shows a smashed sliding door where the suspect(s) may have broken in around 2:23 a.m. and fired shots.
Initial reports pointed to a home invasion, however, Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook is holding back on that classification. “The motives in this case are still unknown, and we’re investigating all possible motives,” he said during a news conference. “We will not speculate on anything that’s out there, including if this was a robbery attempt or not.”
A security guard was present at the home but was not injured. At the moment, it’s unknown how many suspects entered the house or what their motive was. However, it is believed that at least one person entered the home.
Clarence Avant was home during the incident but not injured.
In a media release, Lt. Giovanni Trejo offered condolences to the family, “The City of Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hills Police Department extends our deepest sympathies to the victim’s families.”
Known as the “Godfather of Black Music,” Clarence Avant helped launch the careers of Bill Withers, Michael Jackson, Babyface and others, and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in October.
Jacqueline Alberta Gray was a well-known philanthropist and Ebony Fashion Fair model who held many titles, including president of the Neighbors of Watts, a support group for the South Central Community Child Care Center. She married Clarence in 1967, and the couple shares two children.
Their daughter, Nicole, who’s married to Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, discussed the Avant’s legacy in Netflix’s 2019 documentary “The Black Godfather.” In the production, Lionel Richie, Quincy Jones, L.A. Reid, Snoop Dogg, Barack Obama, Cicely Tyson and others also paid tribute to Clarence Avant’s influence.
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