BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF. (AP) - The slaying of one of their own has united the competitive community of behind-the-scenes Hollywood publicists, prompting them to contribute big bucks for reward money to find the killer.
Ronni Chasen, well-known for working tirelessly to promote her celebrity clients, was shot to death in her car as she drove home from a party after attending Tuesday’s premiere of the new Cher and Christina Aguilera movie, “Burlesque.”
Tributes flowed quickly from her stunned community and, absent any hard leads in the homicide investigation, so did money.
The Palm Springs International Film Festival, which Chasen worked with for many years, on Wednesday offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of her killer. Fellow publicist Michael Levine a day earlier started a fund and hoped to raise an additional $25,000 by the end of the week.
“A very good lady, a good friend and a genius at her craft. Her death is very, very sad and mystifying,” festival chairman Harold Matzner said in a statement.
Though by no means a household name, Chasen was a celebrity in her own right to those who work to promote Hollywood movies and their stars. Friends remembered her as an old-school publicist, one with a distinctive, brassy voice who could be relentlessly pushy and loud.
But at the same time, they said, she was never rude and seemed to have no enemies.
Police searched Chasen’s Los Angeles condo and her West Hollywood office but had little immediate insight into who might have wanted to harm her.
Chasen, 64, was shot multiple times in the chest as she drove through Beverly Hills around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Neighbors reported hearing gunfire and found Chasen’s car crashed into a light pole on Whittier Drive, a street of multimillion-dollar homes just south of Sunset Boulevard, and a well-used shortcut to get to her home on the Westside of Los Angeles.
On Wednesday, at least one bus company that takes tourists past famous Hollywood sights was stopping to let customers gawk at the scene of the killing.
Her friends and colleagues wondered how the life of a woman who had spent her career rushing from red carpet to red carpet to charm the connected for her star clientele could have ended in such a violent way.
“I mean, a publicist doesn’t make that type of enemies,” said Chasen’s longtime friend, Oscar-nominated singer-songwriter Carol Connors, who co-wrote the theme to the film “Rocky.”View Entire Story
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