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

Police responded to calls about a shooting at Jacqueline and Clarence Avant's home about 2:20 a.m. Wednesday.


LOS ANGELES — Jacqueline Avant, the wife of the music executive known as the "Godfather of Black Music," was shot and killed in the couple's home early Wednesday.

Beverly Hills police responded to calls about a shooting at the home of Jacqueline and Clarence Avant at 2:23 a.m., they said in a statement. Police said the victim was taken to a nearby hospital by paramedics but did not survive. 

A spokesperson for Netflix confirmed that Jacqueline Avant, 81, had been shot and killed. Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos is her son-in-law.

It is unclear whether Clarence Avant was home.

Potential suspects were not at the scene when officers arrived, police said.

"Jacqueline was an amazing woman, wife, mother, philanthropist and a 55-year resident of Beverly Hills who has made an immeasurable positive contribution and impact on the arts community," the family said in a statement read by Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook. "She will be missed by her family, friends and all of the people she has helped throughout her life."

Investigators and forensic specialists were processing the scene Wednesday afternoon, Stainbrook said. All potential motives are being investigated, including a possible robbery attempt, he said.

"A lot of times people think of home invasion when it comes to robbing or burglarizing a residence," Stainbrook said. "And so obviously someone went into the home. We just don't know what for, what the purpose was or the motive was behind it."

It appeared that a security guard was on duty, Stainbrook said. Investigators are collecting and reviewing video.

Jacqueline Avant, who once modeled in the Ebony Fashion Fair, married Clarence Avant in 1967, and the couple had two children together. Their daughter, Nicole Avant, credited her mother with helping keep her father balanced in the 2019 documentary "The Black Godfather."

“Well, they’ve been married for 52 years, and my mom is really the one who brought to my father and our family the love and passion and importance of the arts and culture and entertainment,” she said in the film. “While my father was in it, making all the deals, my mother was the one who gave me, for example, my love of literature, my love of filmmaking, my love of storytelling.”

She said her mother was "the umbrella" in her father's life.

Serving as a manager, producer and mentor, Clarence Avant has been credited as the influencer who helped launch the careers of some of the most notable Black musicians of all time, including Bill Withers.

He was inducted into the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame this year, with Lionel Richie giving a speech honoring him during the ceremony. Richie called him a "teacher" and "master communicator."

"What he did for us, the sons and daughters of the Afro-American community, he was the one that brought us to some understanding of what the music business was all about," Richie said.

Former President Barack Obama said Avant was one of his favorite people in a video tribute that aired at the ceremony last month.

"Clarence and others, they are really the bridge from a time where there was almost no opportunity to a time where doors began to open," Obama said. "They led the way: in politics, in business, in the arts, in saying, 'No, make room for us.'"