Jacqueline Avant, the 81-year-old wife to legendary music executive Clarence Avant, was shot and killed in a home invasion robbery in the couple’s Trousdale Estates Beverly Hills home on Wednesday morning.
Jacqueline and Clarence Avant’s daughter, Nicole Avant, who is a producer, political fundraiser, and former United States Ambassador to the Bahamas under President Obama, is the wife of Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos. Netflix confirmed the news Wednesday morning. Jacqueline Avant’s husband Clarence wasn’t injured.
The Beverly Hills Police Department got a phone call at 2:23 a.m. about a shooting that had just occurred on the 1100 block of Mayor Place in Trousdale. When the police arrived, they found a victim with a gunshot wound, who was swiftly transported by the Beverly Hills Fire Department paramedics to a local hospital—but she tragically did not survive.
Clarence Avant, also known as “The Black Godfather,” was just recently inducted into The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame with the Ahmet Ertegun Award. Clarence, a legend in the music business, was the chairman of Motown Records, but early on in his career, Clarence was a concert organizer and event producer. He founded Sussex Records in 1969, whose most famous artist was Bill Withers. He produced the 1973 movie Save the Children and was actively involved with politics—including the Hillary Clinton campaign—and active in philanthropy. In his long and wide career, Clarence also founded a radio station, managed jazz artists, and eventually became mentor to music greats such as Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, L.A. Reid, and Babyface.
Jacqueline and Clarence got married in 1967 and were together for more than 50 years. They have two children including Nicole, 53, and Alexander Du Bois Avant, 50.
When Nicole was growing up, politicians such as Jimmy Carter, Tom Bradley, Gray Davis, and Jerry Brown visited her parents’ Hollywood estate, which was an early influence on her. As an adult, Nicole served as Vice President of Interior Music Publishing, her father’s company, until she got into political fundraising for Barack Obama. In fact, she was his SoCal Finance co-chairwoman for Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. In 2009, Nicole was appointed as United States Ambassador to the Bahamas by President Barack Obama. Since then, she’s been extremely active in political fundraising and philanthropy. In 2019, she produced a movie about her father’s life and career, aptly titled The Black Godfather, which was released on Netflix. She and Ted Sarandos are known to be big Democratic fundraisers in Hollywood, and are at the center of the social worlds of Hollywood’s top moguls and producers.
In an interview with NBC around the release of The Black Godfather, Nicole described her mother—born Jacqueline “Jackie” Alberta Gray—as someone who fostered her appreciation for the arts.
“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 recalled. “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.”
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