Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen, 64, was shot and killed early Tuesday while driving in Beverly Hills, RadarOnline.com reports.
Police arrived to the scene around 12:30 a.m. after at least two people reported hearing multiple gunshots. The victim was “in and out of consciousness but breathing,” RMG News reported. She was rushed to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead. An autopsy has yet to be conducted.
“We don’t have crimes like this in the city of Beverly Hills, so it is a surprise to us,” Lt. Tony Lee of the Beverly Hills Police Department told an ABC affiliate.
Police told The Hollywood Reporter:
“On Nov. 16th 2010 at approximately 12:28AM Beverly Hills police officers received info regarding shots that were heard in the area of Sunset and Whittier, shortly after a collision was reported in the same area. Units arrived and discovered a newer black Mercedes Benz E-350 involved in a solo crash to the light pole. The lone female occupant was located in the vehicle with apparent multiple gunshot wounds to her chest. Beverly Hills paramedics transported the victim to a local hospital where she was later pronounced deceased. The investigation is in the preliminary stages and no further information is available at this time. At this time there is no suspect, info or motive for this crime.”
Chasen was among the last of a breed of old-school Hollywood press agents. Credits to her resume include “Driving Miss Daisy”, “Cocoon”, “Cocoon II”, “The Verdict”, “Rocky III”, “Rocky IV”, “Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves”, among others.
The news of Chasen’s violent death shocked showbizzers.
Howard Bragman, a fellow Hollywood publicist who worked with Chasen, said: “She had been doing this forever. She had a lot of class, a lot of style and a lot of intelligence. She was just very very well-respected.”
“Work over here has stopped,” said Paramount PR exec Lea Yardum. “We’re all in shock. All of us at Paramount are devastated. … It’s a tremendous loss. She was a good friend and a great publicist. And a good person.”
Producer Irwin Winkler, a client for 30 years, said: “To all of us, she just was part of our life — way beyond just beyond publicist client (relationship). When I was down she made me go up. When I was up she made me go higher.”
Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal called Chasen “a dear friend and cherished member of our community. She was at our (‘Burlesque’) premiere last night and so full of her.