Shot in Beverly Hills: Hollywood Publicist Ronni Chasen Killed

A publicist was fatally shot on her way home after attending a film premeire.

November 14, 2010, 1:39 PM

Nov. 17, 2010— -- Authorities are searching for clues today after the fatal shooting of a long-time publicist who promoted and represented some of Hollywood's most famous celebrities and films.

Ronni Sue Chasen, 64, was shot five times in the chest before she crashed her-late model black E530 Mercedes Benz into a light pole in Beverly Hills early Tuesday morning, according to the Beverly Hills Police Department.

Chasen was driving home after attending the Monday night Hollywood premiere and after-party for the new movie "Burlesque," starring Cher and Christina Aguilera.

"She was at our premiere last night and so full of her trademark energy and love of life. We are heartbroken, shocked and completely devastated," said Amy Pascal, co-chair of Sony Pictures.

Shortly before 12:30 a.m., police received reports from residents who heard gunshots and a 911 call reported a single car crash just south of Sunset Boulevard.

Chasen was taken to Cedars-Sinai Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Police are sifting through the information on computers seized from the Beverly Hills public relations firm she owned.

The reason for the seizure is unclear but Beverly Hills police said they had no reports of threats against Chasen or her company.

There was no known motive or suspect in the case as of late Tuesday.

Beverly Hills Police Lt. Tony Lee told ABC News Los Angeles affiliate KABC the shooting was out of the ordinary. "We don't have crimes like this in the city of Beverly Hills, so it is a surprise to us," he said. Police said this is only the third homicide in Beverly Hills this year.

The film "Burlesque" is one of a long list of films Chasen has promoted throughout the years.

She also promoted "The Social Network;" "Country Strong," starring Gwyneth Paltrow; and Disney's "Alice in Wonderland." She promoted Michael Douglas as supporting actor in "Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps."

Chasen began working as a publicist in 1973 and was known for her work promoting "Driving Miss Daisy," "On Golden Pond," and "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves."

Chasen represented the late actress Natalie Wood, producers Richard Zanuck and Irwin Winkler, composer Hans Zimmer, and songwriter Diane Warren.

There has been an outpouring from friends who describe Chasen as a wonderful person who became an icon in Hollywood.

Paul Bloch, co-chairman of Rogers and Cowan, the public relations firm, released a statement saying, "She was a powerhouse in the industry. She was as good as it gets."

Michael Levine, a friend and publicist, has set up a fund to help find whoever shot Chasen.

"We must do everything possible to assist the Beverly Hills police in solving this horrific crime. Ronni gave the utmost for her clients and this industry," he said.

He is calling on all of Hollywood to raise $25,000 to help bring her killer to justice.

"It is like losing a family member, and she had a particularly close relationship…She was also a close friend to so many clients this is her entire life!"

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