Roger L. Simon

Phil Spector: River Deep, Mountain (No Longer) High

For once, justice was done in Los Angeles. Phil Spector was convicted of second-degree murder.

I didn’t know Spector very well, but did bump into him, literally, on several occasions, mostly parties, eons ago. He was even the subject of my first (unproduced, of course) screenplay Rock Emperor. It’s so long ago, I don’t remember everything that was in it, but I do recall it had something to do with the real life story of Phil locking his wife Ronnie (of the Ronettes) in the turret of his Hollywood Hills castle-like mansion. The script was evidently more accurate than I knew at the time. In the end of my version – sign o’ the times (1970+/-) – she is liberated by the Black Panthers who machine gun Spector to death in the control room of his recording studio. [Did you get paid for that?-ed. Fifth Amendment… Hey, it had quite a run in Hollywood and got me a job with Stanley Donen.)

Anyway, Spector now apparently goes away for fifteen years to life. Be glad you’re not him.

BTW, knowing Spector, he is even now plotting a legal comeback. From Wikipedia: In 1988, the original Ronettes sued Spector for nonpayment of royalties. In 2001, a New York court announced a verdict in favor of The Ronettes, ordering Spector to pay nearly three million dollars in back royalties; however, the judgment was later overturned on appeal.