In a shocking story that touches many top entertainment reporters, including Anne Thompson and Nikki Finke, personally, veteran publicist Ronni Chasen was shot five times in the chest and killed in her car killed last night. She was 64. The car was found crashed on a streetlight.
The mystery behind this case — where a carjacking, road rage, or some other sort of random act of violence seems unlikely but a motive remains utterly unknown — will no doubt grip readers. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m curious. Just to add to the immediacy of it for me and a lot of people, she was shot on Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills at around 12:30 a.m., taking probably the fastest route at that hour to the West Side from Hollywood, where it appears she was attending the premiere of “Burlesque” at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. I was at the Chinese complex last night — not for “Burlesque,” but covering a premiere of a web series in one of the smaller theaters above. Of course, perhaps thousands of other people were there as well. Still, it brings it a bit closer to home.
As the murder remains a complete mystery at this point. the Beverly Hills police (310-288-2656) are actively seeking information from the public on this bizarre crime. However, it’s important to remember this was a living, breathing person, not a fictional character on “Law & Order.” She had friends and family, including her older brother, legendary screenwriter and B-movie auteur Larry Cohen. Our condolences to all.
UPDATE: According to this story from AP, computers at Ms. Chasen’s firm have been seized by police. Would that be standard procedure in a case like this?
Also, another of the writer’s Chasen was very friendly with turns out to be Roger Ebert. What a strange and sad case.