Renowned Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen was shot to death early Tuesday while zipping through Beverly Hills in her Mercedes-Benz after a movie premiere, authorities said.
Chasen, 64, well-known for her decades of work promoting A-list Oscar candidates, was shot five times in the chest around 12:30 a.m. on Sunset Blvd., police said.
Her Mercedes-Benz E350 was discovered crashed into a light pole, and Chasen was alone inside the wreck when police arrived.
They found Chasen drifting in and out of consciousness, but still breathing. The crime scene in the stretch of Sunset Boulevard was marked by yellow tape and broken glass.
Chasen died less than an hour later at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
There were no arrests and no motive in the slaying that shocked the Hollywood film community, said police Lt. Tony Lee.
Chasen had attended the premiere of the new film “Burlesque” before her death. She was apparently headed back to her Westwood home when the gunfire began.
“She had a way about her – unbelievably friendly and helpful,” said Nikki Finke, editor in chief of the web site Deadline Hollywood.
“She was beautiful. To think of her in that car…it’s just not possible.”
Finke said she spent an hour on the phone chatting with the typically upbeat Chasen shortly before the movie premiere.
Fellow Hollywood publicist Howard Bragman said Chasen was an unlikely target for attack.
“She wasn’t a shady character,” he said. “It’s a small community and she was one of the fixtures in it.”
Chasen worked as a senior movie publicist for Rogers & Cowan before launching her own agency, Chasen & Company Publicity, in the early ’90s.
Her latest Oscar clients were Michael Douglas for his part in “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” and “Alice in Wonderland 3D.”
Other celebrity clients included the late actress Natalie Wood, composer Hans Zimmer, and movie producers Dick Zanuck and Irwin Winkler. Chasen also worked as a publicist for worked as a publicist for high-profile films, including “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Lolita.”