Phil Spector hasn't had a hit in years, but he's lined up to become the next biggest media star in the world one month from tomorrow, when he stars as the defendant in the next live courtroom celebrity murder trial-- the first celeb courtroom case to be televised from Los Angeles since the OJ Simpson trial.
Too young to have heard of Spector? Don't think he counts as a celebrity? Well, his trial's got sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll, Viagra, bullets, kink, pop culture, the Sunset Strip, Roger Corman flicks, lots of Hollywood noir sleaze-- and a castle! And remember, neither OJ nor Robert Blake were exactly celebutards.
This being L.A., the judge who okayed the cameras in his court--and guaranteed another media circus when trial begins on March 19-- actually mentioned "The Dancing Itos" when he made his decision!
The Dancing Itos were the chorus line of bearded Asian men in judge's robes that was trotted out with regularity on The Tonight Show during the Simpson trial-- Jay Leno's way of mocking trial judge Lance Ito and getting cheap laughs from the slaughter of a young mother and her friend.
"I'm sure Judge Ito did not expect to turn on 'The Tonight Show' and see the Dancing Itos," Superior Court Judge Larry Fidler said on Friday. " "I don't worry about seeing the Flying Fidlers."
Spector, the Sixties record producer behind the "Wall of Sound" and legendarily volatile nutjob, is charged with killing aging B-movie actress Lana Clarkson at his home in the early hours of February 3, 2003, after he picked her up at The House of Blues on the Strip, where she was working as a hostess. He allegedly made some kinds of incriminating statements after Roger Corman's legendary Barbarian Queen was found shot in the mouth in the vestibule of his creepy castle in an LA suburb. He's remained free on bail for more than four years-- four years!
How's that for justice?
Two notes: Spector shows up in the book Tabloid Baby, the definitive account of the OJ Simpson media circus. And we produced a Court TV hour on Spector, Lana and the murder case-- back when it was fresh. So stay tuned here for some good inside stuff...