Jacqueline Avant, a Los Angeles philanthropist and the wife of music legend Clarence Avant, was fatally shot in Beverly Hills, California, early Wednesday, according to authorities and a Netflix spokeswoman.
Netflix spokeswoman Emily Feingold confirmed that Jacqueline Avant was killed in the shooting. Avant’s daughter, Nicole, is married to Ted Sarandos, Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer.
Jacqueline Avant was a local philanthropist who was president of the Neighbors of Watts and served on the board of directors of the International Student Center at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Her husband, Clarence Avant, is known as the “Godfather of Black Music” and was recently inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Former President Barack Obama and Vice President Kamala Harris were among those who paid tribute to him in a video made for the induction ceremony in October.
Nicole Avant, who served as U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas from 2009 to 2011, is now a film producer whose work includes a 2019 Netflix documentary about her father, “The Black Godfather.” In an interview with NBC News about the documentary, she praised her mother.
“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. “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.”
Beverly Hills police have not officially identified Jacqueline Avant as the victim in Wednesday’s violence, saying only that detectives are investigating a shooting that killed one person.
The coroner’s office has not yet officially identified the person, either, but said the victim was reported as a woman in her 80s.
The suspect — or suspects — fled the scene and have not been found, Beverly Hills police said in a news release.
Avant’s family issued a statement to confirm she was killed in the attack. “The entire Avant and Sarandos families wish to thank everyone for their outpouring of love, support and heartfelt condolences for Jacqueline Avant,” reads the statement. “Jacqueline was an amazing woman, wife, mother and philanthropist and a 55-year resident of Beverly Hills who has made an immeasurable positive impact on the arts community. She will be missed by her family, friends and all of the people she has helped throughout her amazing life.”
Police received a call at 2:23 a.m. reporting the shooting in a neighborhood. Officers found a person with a gunshot wound, who was later pronounced dead.
The police chief was expected to hold a briefing later in the day with more information.
TMZ first reported Jacqueline Avant’s death.
The Avants were married in 1967. They had two children, Nicole Avant and Alexander Du Bois Avant.
Clarence Avant, 90, is a Grammy-winning executive, concert promoter and manager who mentored and helped the careers of artists including Bill Withers, Little Willie John, L.A. Reid, Babyface, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
He founded Sussex Records and Tabu Records in the 1960s and 1970s, and was chair of Motown Records in the 1990s.
Basketball icon Earvin “Magic” Johnson wrote on Twitter that he and his wife were “devastated” by the news of Avant’s death, calling her “one of our closest friends.”
“This is the saddest day in our lives,” he wrote.
Cookie and I are absolutely devastated at the loss of one of our closest friends Jackie Avant. She was senselessly murdered last night in a home invasion.💔😢 This is the saddest day in our lives.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) December 1, 2021
Rep. Karen Bass, a Democrat from California, said she was heartbroken by the violence.
“Mrs. Avant was a force of compassion and empowerment locally and nationally for decades, as well as a model of service and giving back to those who needed it most,” Bass wrote on Twitter.
I’m heartbroken by this morning’s news of this tragic and shocking murder.
Mrs. Avant was a force of compassion and empowerment locally and nationally for decades, as well as a model of service and giving back to those who needed it most. 1/ https://t.co/wTQPi2vLFp
— Congressmember Bass (@RepKarenBass) December 1, 2021
Tyler Perry expressed his shock and outrage, writing on Twitter, “I have no idea what kind of sub-human could shoot an 81 year old woman, and in her own home.”
In a followup tweet, Perry promised that “you can rest assured that every available resource will be used to find whoever is responsible for this awful nightmare. This is tremendously sad.”
But you can rest assured that every available resource will be used to find whoever is responsible for this awful nightmare. This is tremendously sad. (2/2)
— Tyler Perry (@tylerperry) December 1, 2021
Other stars also shared their shock and grief at Avant’s tragic death on social media.
This is horrible!!!! Condolences to the Avant family… https://t.co/r5H1tTvHFe
— Loni Love (@LoniLove) December 1, 2021
The heaviness of my heart today is unlike any other that I have ever experienced in my life…The news of the tragic loss of my beautiful “sister-in-law” Jacquie Avant is devastating beyond words.
— Quincy Jones (@QuincyDJones) December 2, 2021
I'm devastated and heartbroken by the loss of Jackie Avant. She was an endlessly kind and generous soul who always sought out new ways to give back and lift others up. My heart goes out to Clarence, Alex, Nicole, and the entire Avant family.
— Al Gore (@algore) December 2, 2021
So saddened to hear the devastating news regarding Jacqueline Avant! What a kind beautiful elegant soul she was. My condolences are with the entire Avant family. Our Prayers are with you! 🙏 #RIP pic.twitter.com/TqL0Ee0lVQ
— La Toya Jackson (@latoyajackson) December 1, 2021
Heartbroken disgusted+ angry. Love to Clarence Avant and Alex and Nicole and the Avant family We all loved Jackie and are all horrified by this senseless and heinous act of violence.💔
— Diane Warren (@Diane_Warren) December 1, 2021
This news is beyond Shocking and horribly sad. God bless you Jacqueline Avant may you rest in power and peace.
— ✌🏼rosanna arquette (@RoArquette) December 1, 2021
So sorry for the Avant family. My heart goes out to you!!! OMG!!!! Where are we??!!! WHAT are we?!! 🙏🏿💔https://t.co/mhyGK4Nm3j
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) December 1, 2021
— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) December 1, 2021
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) December 1, 2021
This one hurts deep. Tragic & senseless violence. Who murders an 81 year old woman? Miss Jackie was the sweetest person you’d ever meet; just talking to her was pure joy. Class act. Pulling & praying for my friend and brother Clarence and the Avant family. pic.twitter.com/HOcGJBvipz
— Tavis Smiley (@tavissmiley) December 1, 2021
Dalton and Dazio reported from Los Angeles.