Ronni Chasen Mourned by Friends as Police Seek Killer

Ronni Chasen (AP Photo, file)

Ronni Chasen Murdered: Slaying Of Hollywood Publicist Baffles Police
Ronni Chasen (AP Photo, file)

LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) As police investigate the slaying of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen, movie industry leaders are expressing grief and outrage at the loss of the 64-year-old industry veteran.

Chasen was gunned down in her Mercedes on Sunset Boulevard Tuesday after attending the premiere of the new Cher and Christina Aguilera film "Burlesque," whose soundtrack she was pushing for an Oscar nomination, according to the trade publication Variety.

She also was working with 20th Century Fox on a supporting actor Oscar campaign for Michael Douglas in :Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps," according to Allen Berry, a publicist for the actor.

She was shot in the chest several times in the attack that sent her luxury car careening into a light post. Police had no motive or suspects and said no threats had been reported against her.

The mystery deepened later in the day when police seized computers from her firm, Chasen and Co.

The attack stunned Hollywood, where she was a revered figure after promoting such Oscar nominees as "Driving Miss Daisy," "Crazy Heart," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,"' "Doubt," "The Wrestler," "There Will Be Blood," "Babel" and "Walk The Line."

"I'm devastated by this," producer Richard Zanuck told the Los Angeles Times. Zanuck, who said he worked with her on every movie he's produced, told the newspaper he had talked to her Monday about Disney's Oscar campaign for his movie "Alice In Wonderland."

"I've always admired her work ethic. Her hours were hideous and she organized and went to all those functions we all dread," he said.

Fellow publicist Howard Bragman called the killing bizarre. "She wasn't a shady character," he said. "It's a small community and she was one of the fixtures in it."

Actor Morgan Freeman, who won an Oscar nomination for his role in "Driving Miss Daisy," a film on which Chasen worked, said in a statement, "I had the extreme pleasure of working with Ronni on 'Driving Miss Daisy.' We've been friends ever since. She is someone I greatly admired, and she will be remembered."

Bragman said Chasen had a unique way of doing business: "She was not a woman who was a slave to the fashion of the day," he said. "She played to her own vision and integrity. She was very bright, very successful."

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