BEVERLY HILLS—Authorities are asking for the public’s assistance in finding the person(s) responsible for the murder of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen, 64. On the night of Monday, November 15, Chasen made an appearance at the premiere of the new movie “Burlesque,” starring Christina Aguilera and Cher. Early Tuesday morning, she was found shot in her vehicle.
Sgt. Davis, of the Beverly Hills Police Department, stated to Canyon News that Chasen was last seen leaving an after-party at Hollywood’s The W Hotel in a new black Mercedes Benz E-350. Forensic evidence suggests that the victim was shot multiple times in the chest, which shattered her vehicle’s windows, before she crashed.
“The shooting was reported at around 12:28 a.m.,” said Sgt. Davis. “The vehicle crashed into a light pole near Whittier Drive south of Sunset.”
Paramedics arrived on the scene and transported the victim to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where she was later pronounced deceased. Authorities have acquired search warrants for the victim’s home and business. They are also reviewing the surveillance tapes from businesses on the Sunset Strip in hopes of acquiring more information.
According to Sgt. Davis, at the moment, authorities do not have any motives, suspects, witnesses or any new leads.
Beverly Hills PR Executive Edward Lozzi said to Canyon News, “Officials are interrogating valet persons at The W Hotel. Chasen made a normal phone call at 12:20 a.m. to her firm to let staff know of things to do for the morning and something happened between that phone call and 12:30 a.m.”
Chasen is originally from New York, but moved to Los Angeles to begin her career as a publicist in the early 1970s. She worked as senior vice president of worldwide publicity for MGM in 1993. Chasen developed her own Beverly Hills public relations and marketing firm, Chasen & Co. She worked promoting the 1988 film “Driving Miss Daisy” starring Morgan Freeman, “Lolita,” “The Swan Princess,” and most recently campaigned for Michael Douglass for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” Chasen is known for being involved in promoting many Oscar-winning films including the 2008 hit “Slumdog Millionaire” and “The Hurt Locker.”
When asked by Canyon News his reaction upon learning of Chasen’s murder, Lozzi responded, “We were all shocked. We lose people close to us, but this was a random killing. It could have possibly been a road rage incident. Sunset Boulevard is an area many publicists, [who are] located on Wilshire, drive through and that will be a reminder for many of us, especially, at night since after what happened to Ronni.” He added, “I’ve known her for 30 years. I worked in the mailroom at Roger and Cowan when I first met Ronnie and she was gorgeous back then. When she was head of publicity for MGM in 1993, she was the queen of PR for women and looked up to by many. She came in during the tail end of the golden era and was already a big shot at a young age.”
Chasen was not married and did not have any children. She is survived by her brother, writer and director Larry Cohen; his wife Cynthia Cohen; her two nieces Melissa and Jill; and her grandniece Alexis and grandnephew Gabriel.
The BHPD is asking anyone who has any information about the incident to contact the detective hotline at 310-288-2656. Additionally, the Palm Springs International Film Festival is offering a $100,000 reward to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest of Chasen’s killer(s).