LOS ANGELES - The Phil Spector murder trial turned into an analysis of actress Lana Clarkson's talent on Thursday, as jurors saw her laughing, dancing, acting and alive in a promotional video she made for casting directors.
"Lana Unleashed" showed a string of comedy skits in which she played a Barbie doll and imitated singer Little Richard. While three jurors chuckled at some of the jokes, others seemed less amused and an alternate juror rolled her eyes during the Little Richard vignette, which featured Clarkson wearing dark makeup.
The video resume, played by the Spector defense, showed several clips from Clarkson's movies and commercials, and featured low-budget film titan Roger Corman likening her to Jack Nicholson. Clarkson starred in Corman's "Deathstalker" and "Barbarian Queen" movies.
The defense played the video in an effort to undercut the testimony of Clarkson's agent Nick Terzian who said that she was a "moneymaker."
Suggesting that the video would leave people in show business unimpressed, defense lawyer Roger Rosen asked Terzian if after watching the video "did you still think she was extremely viable, a real moneymaker?"
"Yes," Terzian said.
The 40-year-old actress's talent has become an issue during the Spector trial because the defense contends she killed herself in his mansion on Feb. 3, 2003. Lawyers contend that Clarkson was depressed because she failed to achieve fame.
Before Thursday, the jury's in-court exposure to Clarkson has been limited to snapshots, and, repeatedly, gruesome pictures of her corpse. Legal analysts said the defense ploy was risky.
"This caused Lana Clarkson to come to life for this jury and that's a dangerous route for the defense to go down," said Jean Rosenbluth, a University of Southern California law professor who is closely watching the trial.
The court day began with Spector asking Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler to call off testimony because defense lawyer Linda Kenney-Baden, a member of Spector's team of five attorneys, was not well.
"She explains to me everything that's going on throughout the trial," the 67-year-old music producer said, adding he would feel "naked" without her.
Fidler rejected the request.
© Copley News Service