Lana Clarkson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Lana Clarkson
Lana Clarkson (1962-2003).jpg
Born Lana Jean Clarkson
(1962-04-05)April 5, 1962
Long Beach, California, U.S.
Died February 3, 2003(2003-02-03) (aged 40)
Alhambra, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Murder
Resting place
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Nationality American
Education Cloverdale High School
Alma mater Pacific Union College
Occupation Actress
Years active 1982–2003
Relatives Jesse J. Clarkson (brother)
Fawn Clarkson (sister)

Lana Jean Clarkson (April 5, 1962 – February 3, 2003) was an American actress and fashion model. During the 1980s she rose to prominence in several sword-and-sorcery films. In February 2003, Clarkson was fatally shot in the mansion of songwriter and producer Phil Spector, who was charged and convicted of second degree murder on April 13, 2009.[1]

Early life[edit]

Clarkson was born in Long Beach, California to Donna and James M. Clarkson, and raised in the hills of Sonoma County, California. She had a brother, Jesse J. Clarkson, and a sister Fawn. While living in Northern California, she attended Cloverdale High School and also Pacific Union College Preparatory School. During the Christmas season of 1978 and after her father's death, Clarkson's family moved back to Southern California and settled in the Los Angeles region of San Fernando Valley. Right after Clarkson's family moved back to Los Angeles County, she pursued a career in entertainment industry as a performer and fashion model.

Career[edit]

In the early 1980s, Clarkson landed bit parts in film and television. In 1982, she made her screen debut as a cameo character in director Amy Heckerling's coming-of-age comedy based on the Cameron Crowe book, Fast Times at Ridgemont High,[2] as the wife of science teacher Mr. Vargas (Vincent Schiavelli). The film was her first speaking role. In 1983, she also peeks into the frame in Scarface behind Michelle Pfeiffer dancing on the floor of the Babylon Club.

Clarkson's best known films may be her work with Roger Corman, appearing first in his fantasy film Deathstalker, as a female warrior/love interest to the title character played by Richard Hill.[2] Corman oriented his films towards young male viewers, using a mix of action and female nudity. Clarkson's work in Deathstalker led to her being offered the title role in Corman's next film, Barbarian Queen, a role Corman referred to as "the original Xena" because of the parallel in featuring a strong female leading character in an action-oriented sword-swinging role.[3] The film gained cult status, in part due to an infamous scene where Clarkson is bound topless to a torture rack, interrogated, and raped.[2]

In 1987, Clarkson appeared in the John Landis spoof Amazon Women on the Moon. Following that, Clarkson starred in Roger Corman's Barbarian Queen sequel, Barbarian Queen II: The Empress Strikes Back, though the plots and characters bore no resemblance to the other film. Filmed in Mexico, the movie featured mud-wrestling Amazon women, magic sceptres, and (in homage to its predecessor) Clarkson's character slowly tortured to death naked on a stretching rack by a villain. Clarkson received star billing in the film which went directly to video. Although sales of the video were low, Corman did manage to turn a profit.[2]

In 1990, she starred as a supporting character in the period horror film Haunting of Morella as the evil attendant to a young woman played by model/actress Nicole Eggert. In the film, Clarkson played a dominating lesbian character who tries to resurrect the spirit of a witch burned at the stake during the Salem witch trials.

Clarkson's work in the B movie sci-fi genre inspired a cult following, making her a favorite at comic book conventions, where she made some promotional appearances signing autographs for her fans. She appeared in numerous other B movies as well as a range of television spots and appearing in commercials for Mercedes-Benz, Kmart, Nike,[2] Mattel and Anheuser-Busch. Her television appearances include parts on Night Court, Silk Stalkings, Riptide, Three's Company, Knight Rider[2] and Wings, and a guest appearance as a villain on the television adaptation of Roger Corman's film Black Scorpion in what would be her final role.

Clarkson traveled around the United States and Europe while working on fashion photo shoots. Other projects took her to Japan, Greece, Argentina, Italy, Switzerland, France, Jamaica, and Mexico.

In the 1980s she volunteered weekly at the AIDS charity Project Angel Food which delivers food for those in Los Angeles disabled by HIV or AIDS, at a time when the disease was greatly feared by the general public.[2]

Clarkson's career began to stall as she approached her thirties. No longer able to earn a living as an actress, Clarkson sought alternate routes of income, including operating her own website on which she sold autographed DVDs of her films and communicated directly with her fans on her own message board. Although she made a living by playing busty, lusty women, Clarkson's fondest desire was to be cast as a comic actress or perform as a comedian. Her publicist friend Edward Lozzi told Vanity Fair writer Dominic Dunne that Clarkson had been working on a stand-up comedy act that he had witnessed.[4]

In 2001, while living in Venice, California, for the last several years, Clarkson developed, wrote, produced, and directed a showcase reel titled Lana Unleashed. She took a part-time side job in early January 2003 at the House of Blues in West Hollywood, California to make ends meet.

Death[edit]

On February 3, 2003, Clarkson was fatally shot in the mansion of music producer Phil Spector. In the early hours of that morning, she met Spector while working at the House of Blues. Both left the House of Blues later in Spector's limousine and drove to his mansion. Spector and Clarkson went inside while his driver waited outside in the car.[5] About an hour later, the driver heard a gunshot before Spector exited his house through the back door with a gun. He was quoted as saying, according to affidavits, "I think I just shot her."[5] Spector stated that Clarkson's death was an "accidental suicide" and that she "kissed the gun".[6]

Spector was tried for the murder of Clarkson four years later in 2007. On September 26, 2007, the case was declared a mistrial because the jury was hung 10 to 2 for conviction.[7] He was tried again for second degree murder on October 20, 2008. On April 13, 2009, the jury found Spector guilty of murdering Clarkson.[8] Spector was sentenced on May 29, 2009 to 19-years-to-life in state prison.[9]

Filmography[edit]

Film
Year Title Role Notes
1982 Fast Times at Ridgemont High Mrs. Vargas
1982 My Favorite Year Girl in Old Gold Cigarette Pack Uncredited
1983 Female Mercenaries
1983 Deathstalker Kaira Alternative title: Warrior King
1983 Brainstorm Food Fantasy Girl Uncredited
1983 Scarface Woman at Babylon Club
1984 Blind Date Rachel
1985 Barbarian Queen Amethea
1987 Amazon Women on the Moon Alpha Beta
1989 Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II Amathea
1990 The Haunting of Morella Coel
1990 Barbarian Queen II: The Empress Strikes Back Princess Athalia Direct-to-video release
1997 Vice Girls Jan Cooper
1997 Love in Paris Woman at Fashion Show Alternative title: Another 9½ Weeks
1997 Retroactive Stunt performer
2000 Little Man on Campus Joyce
2001 March Dr. Ellen Taylor
Television
Year Title Role Notes
1983 Three's Company Sharon Gordon Episode: "Alias Jack Tripper"
1983 The Jeffersons Sofia Episode: "Who's the Fairest?"
1984 Brothers Vanessa Episode: "Fear of Flying"
1984 The New Mike Hammer Masseuse Episode: "Kill Devil"
1984 Riptide Kelly Episode: "Catch of the Day"
1984 Knight Rider Marilyn Episode: "The Rotten Apples"
1984 Who's the Boss? Nanette Episode: "Sports Buddies"
1985 The A-Team Sonny Monroe's Girlfriend Episode: "Champ!"
1985 George Burns Comedy Week Librarian Episode: "Disaster at Buzz Creek"
1985–1990 Night Court Various roles 2 episodes
1986 Hotel Sheila Carlson Episode: "Hidden Talents"
1986 Amazing Stories Mrs. Ellis Episode: "Miscalculation"
1986 The Love Boat Angela Episode: "The Shipshape Cruise"
1988 It's a Living Fawn Episode: "Skin Deep"
1992 Wings Janine Episode: "Noses Off"
1993–1995 Silk Stalkings Various roles 2 episodes
1996 Night Stand with Dick Dietrick Jamie Episode: "Getting Even"
1996 Land's End Kay Episode: "Who's Killing Cole Porter?"
2000 18 Wheels of Justice Marta Episode: "Revelation"
2001 Black Scorpion Dr. Sarah Bellum/Mindbender Episode: "Virtual Vice"

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Phil Spector Found Guilty In Murder Retrial, Faces At Least 18 Years In Prison". idiomag. 2009-04-14. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Shooting victim was B-movie actress". BBC News. 2003-02-04. Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  3. ^ "Lana Clarkson". Lana Clarkson. Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  4. ^ Dunne, Dominick (August 2007). "Legend with a Bullet". Retrieved March 6, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Phil Spector: The 'Mad Genius' of Rock'n'Roll". TruTV.com. Retrieved 2010-11-18. 
  6. ^ "Killer Phil Spector Jailed For 19 Years". Sky News. Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^

External links[edit]