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rest in peace

Pop singer Ronnie Spector dies at 78

Ronnie Spector, the leader of '60s girl group the Ronettes, died Wednesday following a short battle with cancer. She was 78.

"Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humor, and a smile on her face," Spector's family said in a statement. "She was filled with love and gratitude."

Born Veronica Bennett on Aug. 10, 1943, Spector started the Ronettes in the late 1950s with her sister, Estelle Bennett, and cousin Nedra Talley. Their debut — and only — album, Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica, was released in 1964. Their hits included "Be My Baby" and "Baby I Love You," and they toured England with the Rolling Stones. The Ronettes broke up in 1967 after touring Germany, and Spector went on to release four solo albums.

Spector was known for her style, and love of bee-hives and winged eyeliner. In her memoir, Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness, Spector wrote the Ronettes "weren't afraid to be hot. That was our gimmick." Amy Winehouse named Spector as one of her idols, and Billy Joel said he wrote "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" with Spector in mind.

In 1968, Spector married producer Phil Spector, and she shared details about their relationship in her memoir. She said he abused her and wouldn't let her leave their Beverly Hills mansion, routinely threatening her life. She divorced Spector in 1974; he died in 2020 while serving prison time for the 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson.

Ronnie married her manager, Jonathan Greenfield, in 1982. She is survived by Greenfield and their sons, Jason and Austin.