The entertainment industry is currently reeling over the death of Jacqueline Avant, wife of legendary music executive and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Clarence Avant. She was shot and killed during a home invasion attempt at the couple’s Beverly Hills home. She was 81 years old. It is currently unclear if 90-year-old Clarence was harmed in any way due to conflicting claims, but TMZ reported that they were told he was not injured.
The couple was married for more than 53 years and had two children, one being Nicole Avant, former U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas and producer of the 2019 Netflix documentary on her father’s life: The Black Godfather. While speaking on that project, Nicole addressed the impact her mother had on the life of her famous father and their entire family.
“Well, they’ve been married for 52 years, and 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 told NBC News at the time. “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.”
“Her bringing that energy and her passion for the arts kind of kept my dad balanced,” she added. “She’s the umbrella in his life.”
Jacqueline was also a touring EBONY Fashion Fair model and a philanthropist. We had the chance to learn about his efforts to woo her in The Black Godfather, taking her to meet huge stars like Harry Belafonte and getting into elite establishments like the Birdland jazz club. Also, he comically tried to impress her by bringing up money.
“He’d always have a car pick me up. And I thought, ‘Who is this guy?'” she said in the doc. “And then one day, I guess he was really trying to win me over. And for some reason he mentioned…how much he had paid the Internal Revenue Service. I guess he was trying to tell me how much [money] he must have made.”
“I told you, life begins with a number and it ends with a number,” he said in response. “Life is about numbers.”
The couple would eventually marry and move to Los Angeles, two things he used to tell friend Quincy Jones he would never do he did with and for her. They had quite the love story and built a monumental life together. See photos of the pair from over the years below.