Jacqueline Avant, the philanthropist and wife of legendary music executive Clarence Avant, was fatally shot Wednesday at their Beverly Hills home, police said. She is 81 years old.
Jacqueline and Clarence’s daughter, Nicole Avant, is married to Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos. A Netflix spokesperson confirmed that Clarence Avant was not injured.
“I don’t think it was a random attack,” Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark G. Stainbrook said. “Crime of any kind will not be tolerated and we will not rest until suspects or suspects are brought to justice.”
Stainbrook said the investigation was “very fluid” and encouraged the public to release any relevant information. He also said it was too early to speculate what the motive was or whether the shooting was part of a robbery plot.
According to the documentation provided to The Hollywood Reporter of the Beverly Hills Police Department, their contact center received a call at 2:23 a.m. in response to a shooting in the 1100 block of Maytor Place, in the upscale Trousdale Estates neighborhood. Upon arrival, the police discovered the victim had gunshot wounds; This person was taken to Cedars-Sinai hospital but did not survive.
The report confirms the suspect(s) were no longer at the scene when police arrived.
TMZ was the first to report, saying the shooting happened during a home invasion.
During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Stainbrook provided some details about the shooting but said it was a “tough day for our city” and shared a message from the Avant family, called their contributions to the city and the entertainment industry “unparalleled.”
“The entire Avant and Sarandos family would like to thank everyone for their love, support and heartfelt condolences to Jacqueline Avant,” read the statement, provided to CHEAP. “Jacqueline is an amazing woman, wife, mother, and philanthropist, and 55-year resident of Beverly Hills, who has had an enormous positive impact on the arts community. . She will be missed by her family, friends and all the people she helped during her wonderful life.”
Clarence Avant, 90, known as “The Godfather of Black Music,” is a pioneering trader and Grammy Award-winning executive who mentored and helped launch the careers of countless celebrities. artists in the music and entertainment industries, including Little Willie John, Bill Withers, Michael Jackson, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, LA Reid and Babyface.
A manager, label owner, concert organizer and event producer, he created the first African-American-owned FM station in the city of Los Angeles during the 1970s and founded Sussex Records. in 1969 and Tabu Records in 1976 before becoming president of Motown Records in 1993.
His life and legacy were captured on screen in the Netflix 2019 documentary Black Godfather, produced by daughter Nicole, and explores how Avant championed impressive deals for Black talent through the narration of Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Snoop Dogg and more. In May, he was announced as the recipient of the Ahmet Ertegun Award from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Married in 1967 and together for more than 50 years, Jacqueline and Clarence have two children, former US Ambassador to the Bahamas Nicole, 53, and Alexander Du Bois Avant, 50.
Born Jacqueline Alberta Grey, Jacqueline is a former Ebony Fashion Fair model known for her philanthropy. She served as president of Neighbors of Watts, a support group for the South Central Community Child Care Center, and entertainment chair of the NOW benefit auction and NOW membership. She also serves on the board of directors for the Center for International Students at UCLA.
In an interview with NBCBLK surrounding the release of her father’s Netflix documentary, Nicole described her mother as someone who fervently nurtured her love of the arts.
“My mother was really the one who gave my dad and our family the love, passion and importance of art, culture and entertainment,” she recalls. “While my father did all the dealings, it was my mother who gave me, for example, my love of literature, my love of filmmaking, my love of storytelling.”
Following the news, Tyler Perry, Quincy Jones, Viola Davis, Magic Johnson and other Hollywood figures took to social media to pay their respects to Avant.
Perry wrote, “My heart breaks for Clarence and Nicole and all the Avant family. This world can be so cruel and cold!! I don’t know what kind of slut could shoot an 81-year-old woman, and in her own home. But you can rest assured that every resource available will be used to find out who is responsible for this horrifying nightmare. This is very sad.”
Magic Johnson describes Avant as “the sweetest person you can meet.” He tweeted, “Cookie and I are completely traumatized by the loss of one of our best friends, Jacquie Avant. She was senselessly killed last night during a home invasion. This is the saddest day of our lives. Jackie is the sweetest person you will ever meet. She has a beautiful soul, a kind heart and always has a kind word to everyone. She is quiet, but strong and very intelligent. We are crying for the loss of Clarence, Nicole and Alex. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire family. “
Davis expressed her shock about the news of Avant’s death on the tweet, “Sorry for the Avant family. My heart belongs to you!!! OH MY GOD!!!! Where are we??!!! What are we?!!”
Former President Clinton also took to social media on Wednesday to pay his respects, write that she “was an amazing woman, a wonderful partner to Clarence and mother to Alex and Nicole, an active citizen & a close friend to Hillary & I for 30 years. She inspires admiration, respect, and affection in everyone who knows her. We are very sad. She will be deeply ignored.”
Scott Feinberg, Ryan Parker and Mike Barnes contributed to this report.
December 1, 1:08 pm Updated with Bill Clinton’s tribute.
December 1, 2:30 pm Update information released by Sheriff Mark G. Stainbrook in the press.
December 1, 6:42 pm Updated with more tributes.
An earlier version of this story misspelled Jacqueline Avant’s nickname, Jacquie.
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