Plans have been formalized for a gathering tonight in New York to celebrate the life of Ronni Chasen. Friends and colleagues of the beloved publicist are being invited to Michael’s at 24 W 55th Street from 6-8 PM to have a drink in her honor. Last night, I attended a DGA screening of Ed Zwick’s Love and Other Drugs. At a post-screening party at Tomate, the shock over her death dominated the conversation. She was part of the Oscar push on many of this year’s films, including that one. If there are any questions about tonight, call Scott Rudin’s office.
Usually the fiercely competitive Hollywood PR landscape is ”populated heavily with the most mendacious and vicious group of people”, in the words of one of them. But not today. Throughout the morning and afternoon, rival firms offered their assistance and sustenance to the shocked and grieving employees of Ronni Chasen’s publicity firm. The companies sent their own staff members to assist with phone calls and memorial details as well as lunch for all the personnel. Tonight, Chasen’s friends and former colleagues are gathering at the Four Seasons Hotel outside Beverly Hills to remember her. Producer Scott Rudin is organizing a similar gathering in New York City tomorrow for the people who worked with Ronni. Both groups have asked that the media give them privacy. Today, Ronni’s longtime colleague at Chasen & Co Publicity, Jeff Sanderson, made this tribute which summed up the reaction of so many in the showbiz publicity field: “There was no one like Ronni Chasen. Passionate. Dedicated. Tenacious. Loyal. Lovable. She was an iconic publicist who loved her clients and always strived to do her best for them. To me she was not only my colleague and mentor for over 18 years, but also my dearest friend and a part of my family. I will feel her loss every day, …
The following obituary was written by her publicity firm:
Los Angeles, CA (November 16, 2010) — Tributes have been pouring in from the elite of the entertainment and media arenas for Ronni Chasen, one of the industry’s preeminent press agents, who was tragically killed in the early morning hours of November 16, 2010. A funeral service for Ronni Chasen will be held on Sunday, November 21, at 11:00 a.m. at Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary, located at 6001 West Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90045.
Over the course of her remarkable, decades-long career, Ronni Chasen earned the respect and admiration of her colleagues and the loyalty of her clients, to whom she was passionately devoted. Her work was an integral part of her life, and her love for her profession showed in her zeal for everything she did. Bringing more than 35 years of experience to bear, she approached her job with an extraordinary blend of old-school public relations and cutting-edge marketing. Her singular enthusiasm and indefatigable spirit endeared her to everyone with whom she worked, and it was common knowledge in the industry that it was impossible to say “no” to
Of all my time in this business I can think of no one more dedicated to her clients, more doggedly determined to help them achieve their goals. In many ways, Ronni always reminded me of a sort of lost breed of press agent and she would always bend over backwards to help with a story. She also had the driest, most acerbic sense of humor. Yes she was no bullshit and very straightforward. She was persistent, yes, but also knew when to hold back. This is unbelievable to think I won’t be seeing her anymore. There was barely an event, an awards show, a premiere, a party, or any number of press things where I didn’t see her. The last was the Governors Awards Saturday. Recently we met in the Polo Lounge with her longtime client Dick Zanuck. She told me she couldn’t think of three other times in the decades she had been working with him that he agreed to an interview like that. And then when the story ran, she emailed me from Paris where she was travelling to say he really liked it.
She always made me feel special. As a film …
SHOCKER! Oscar Publicist Ronni Chasen Shot And Killed In Beverly Hills Driving Back From ‘Burlesque’ Premiere In Hollywood
3RD & 4TH UPDATE, 12 PM: Shock and dismay and in some cases tears swept Hollywood this morning when news spread that popular Oscar publicist Ronni Chasen had been the tragic victim of violence around midnight in the Sunset and Whittier area of Beverly Hills. Here’s more intel about the 64-year-old’s last hours: The Oscar campaign and holiday movie season got fully underway at the start of this week. She was lobbying media to write positive articles promoting Academy Award nominations for Michael Douglas in the Supporting Actor category for Twentieth Century Fox’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and for Walt Disney Studios’ Alice In Wonderland 3D in the Best Picture category. Both were the subject of a combination business and social phone call from her office with Deadline editor-in-chief Nikki Finke from 5:30 PM through 6:30 PM. Then the Oscar publicist drove her late model black Mercedes Benz E350 to Sony Pictures Entertainment/Screen Gem’s premiere of the movie Burlesque at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Then she attended the after-party at Drai’s in the W Hotel. ”“We were all together last night, and Ronni was having the best time doing what she enjoyed most,” recalls producer Donald De Line. ”When we all said goodbye last night, little did we know it would be our last. I am in shock; that this could happen is incomprehensible. Only a few hours ago we were celebrating. I’m glad she was happy last night and that she was in all her glory.”
She left the party and drove down Sunset Blvd through West Hollywood and just at the start of Beverly Hills (most likely heading towards her home in Westwood) when she was shot and killed sometime around midnight. Chasen’s friends say she made a call to her office about 8 minutes before the gunfire to put a reminder on her office voicemail. “She was not feeling in danger,” a source said. Beverly Hills police at 12:28 AM received information regarding shots that were heard in the area of Sunset and Whittier. Shortly after, Ronni’s car was discovered in a collision with a lightpole in the same area and she was found inside with multiple gunshot wounds to her chest. Police sources say Ronni’s car window was broken but nothing was taken from her purse. She was transported from the scene by paramedics and pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. This reaction just came in from Amy Pascal, Co-Chairman of Sony Pictures which hosted the Burlesque premiere that turned out to be Chasen’s last Hollywood event: “Ronni was a dear friend and cherished member of our community. She was at our premiere last night and so full of her trademark energy and love of life. We are heartbroken, shocked and completely devastated.”
2ND UPDATE: The Beverly Hills police have issued this statement about Ronni Chasen’s murder, now confirmed by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office: “At approximately 12:28 AM, Beverly Hills officers received information regarding shots that were heard in the area of Sunset and Whittier. Shortly after, a collision was reported in the same area. Units arrived in the area and discovered, a newer black Mercedes Benz E350 involved in a solo crash with a lightpole. The lone female occupant was located in the vehicle with apparent multiple gunshot wounds to her chest. Beverly Hills paramedics transported her to a local hospital, where she was later pronounced deceased. The investigation is in the preliminary stages, and no further information is available. Also, there is no suspect information or motive at this time.”
UPDATE 9:45 AM: Nikki Finke has confirmed that Ronni Chasen was “shot and killed” last night, according to Beverly Hills police. Nikki spoke to her at 5:30 last night. Ronni was promoting Michael Douglas for Best Supporting Actor for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, as well as Alice In Wonderland 3D for Best Picture. A friend said that, after leaving the office, Ronni attended the premiere of the Sony Pictures/Screen Gems film Burlesque. A longtime Rogers & Cowan senior movie publicist, spanning decades, Chasen went out on her own, establishing Chasen & Company Publicity around 1991. She had a thriving business, especially at awards time, representing directors, writers, musicians, actors, and films.