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Prison takes its toll on music icon Phil Spector

Phil Spector is pictured in July 2013 and October 2013. Rex Features

LOS ANGELES – Two newly released photos of Phil Spector show the toll of age and prison on the once flamboyant music legend.

The most recent photo shows a bald, sombre-looking 73-year-old Spector staring straight into the camera on Oct. 28, 2013. An earlier photo of a smiling Spector is dated July 24, 2013.

California Department of Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton said Tuesday that the October photo was taken when Spector was moved to the prison system’s huge California Heath Care Facility in Stockton. The facility provides medical and mental health care to the state’s sickest inmates, including those with chronic conditions.

Thornton said she couldn’t reveal details of Spector’s health because of state medical privacy regulations. He is serving 19 years to life for the 2003 killing of actress Lana Clarkson.

The legendary music producer revolutionized rock music with his “Wall of Sound” before his genius was eclipsed by decades of bizarre behaviour that culminated in his conviction for murder. He claimed he was innocent and his defence team argued that Clarkson, despondent over a fading acting career, killed herself at his castle-like home.

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BELOW: See the transformation of Phil Spector from 2005 to 2013.

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Damian Dovarganes / The Associated Press
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Phil Spector, pictured in August 2007. Getty Images
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Phil Spector, pictured in July 2013. Rex Features
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Phil Spector, pictured in October 2013. Rex Features

His appearance in bizarre wigs at his trials and testimony about violent behaviour tarnished his reputation as a musical genius who created the “Wall of Sound” that merged beautiful vocal harmonies with lavish orchestral arrangements to produce such pop hits as “Da Doo Ron Ron,” ”Be My Baby” and “He’s a Rebel.” His production of the Righteous Brothers’ version of “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling” remains a classic.

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His first jury deadlocked, but a second one found him guilty of second-degree murder in 2009 six years after Clarkson’s death. By then, he had married his much-younger wife, Rachelle, who was at his side throughout the trials and continues to live at the mansion and visits him in prison.

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