How can Hollywood sleep soundly tonight knowing there is a murderer, a fiend on the loose? The feeling is reminiscent of the aftermath of the Tate/La Bianca murders 41 years ago.
Ronni Chasen (64), a well respected publicist was mortally wounded in the early hours of the morning on November 16th. She had just left an after party at the W Hotel in West Hollywood, after attending the premiere of the film Burlesque, co-starring Cher and Christina Aguilera at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, on Hollywood Boulvedard. In the film Cher sings “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me”, penned by Ronni’s client and friend Diane Warren. Chasen was hoping to garner an Oscar® for the movie soundtrack.
Chasen was heading to her condominium in Westwood taking a route along Sunset Boulevard and Whittier Drive, near the Beverly Hills Hotel, when she was gunned down. She received 5 gunshot wounds to the chest. Her Mercedes-Benz went out of control and crashed into a lamp post as she was heading south on Whittier Drive.
At 12:28 a.m., residents of Whittier Drive, a quiet, tree-lined street often used as a cut through between Sunset and Wilshire Boulevards, heard gunshots. Nahid Schekarchian reported she heard a "boom boom boom". Her daughter-in-law called the police, and she, her son and a neighbour ran down to the car. They found Chasen struggling to breathe and bleeding from her nose and chest. The front passenger window was shattered.
Detectives with the Beverly Hills Police Department spent Tuesday trying to piece together the final minutes of Chasen's life and discover a motive for the killing of the 64-year-old single woman who, according to friends, had no enemies.
The Beverly Hills Police have released this bulletin:
"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."
Chasen was taken to Cedar Sinai Hospital where she was pronounced dead 1 hour later.
Born and raised in New York, Chasen, sister of writer, director, producer, Larry Cohen, after a stint as a soap opera actress, began her illustrious career in public relations in the theatre. After relocating to Los Angeles, she headed publicity for American International Pictures. For 10 years she served as Executive VP of Motion Pictures for Rogers and Cowan, one of the most prestigious PR firms in the world. She later held the post of Senior Vice President forMGM.
Almost 20 years ago her dream came true when she opened her own boutique PR firm, where she worked with a broad range of personal and corporate clients.
The memorial service for Chasen will be held Sunday, November 21st, at 11:00 am at Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary.
Memorial Donations can be sent the Tower Cancer Research Foundation in Beverly Hills.
Listen to Cher singing You Haven't Seen the Last of Me