Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen fatally shot in Beverly Hills attack [Updated]


Ronni Chasen, 64, a longtime Hollywood publicist, has been identified as the Mercedes Benz driver who was fatally shot in Beverly Hills early Tuesday morning, Los Angeles County coroner's spokesman Ed Winter said.

Police are still searching for the shooter.

 Chasen has represented such entertainment luminaries as the late actress Natalie Wood, composer Hans Zimmer, and movie producers Richard Zanuck and Irwin Winkler.

Authorities said they arrived at Sunset Boulevard and Whittier Drive about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday and found the Mercedes-Benz E350 crashed into a light pole. Chasen had been shot multiple times in the chest. No one else was in the car.

No one could be reached for comment at her Beverly Hills public relations and marketing firm, Chasen & Co.

[Updated at 11:26  a.m.: Nahid Shekarchian, a 33-year Beverly Hills resident of the neighborhood who lives just south of the house where Chasen's car crashed, told The Times that sometime after midnight she heard gunshots -- "boom-boom-boom" -- and opened the curtain of her upstairs bedroom.

She told her daughter-in-law to call 911 and went outside to see what had happened. Shekarchian said the woman in the car was bleeding profusely from her nose and had blood on her chest. She added that the window on the passenger side of the front seat had been shattered.

Another neighbor walked to the car window and asked: "Can I help you?" Shekarchian said the driver "was breathing very heavily" and did not respond. 

Two sources, who spoke to The Times on the condition that they not be named, said Chasen attended the premiere of the Cher movie "Burlesque" as well as a party after the screening. The premiere was at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre, and the party was at the W hotel in Hollywood. She lived in Westwood and may have been driving home when the attack occurred.

Hollywood publicist Howard Bragman, who worked with Chasen on a number of projects, described her as “a lady and a grown-up” in an industry of flash and impermanence.

“She had been doing this forever. She had a lot of class, a lot of style and a lot of intelligence. She was just very very well-respected,” Bragman said.]


Ronni Chasen slaying: Witness describes shots, bloody scene

Slain Hollywood publicist had attended Cher movie premiere before Beverly Hills attack

Photo: Beverly Hills traffic control officer James Tyner puts up additional yellow tape at the corner of Walden and Whittier drives, a block from the fatal shooting. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

-- Andrew Blankstein and Harriet Ryan in Los Angeles and Martha Groves in Beverly Hills

Photos: Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen fatally shot in Beverly Hills

Comments () | Archives (27)

I wonder if she had an ex-husband or jilted former client??

This has all the markings of a professioal hit. Figure it out cops. Somebody was pissed off at her enough to have her killed. A boyfriend, an ex, or maybe a business associate. Get on it, and don't zero in on a car jacking gone wrong.

I guess all publicity is not necessarily good publicity.

I concur with Mark: This stinks to high heaven.

One of her competitors had her killed. This is the biggest time of the year, the Oscar's ! This is when the competition to get ones clients and movie's out there to be seen is the most fierce. Someone who knew her schedule for the night, when she would be driving down that street to go home was there waiting for her, I betcha. A carjacking on a nice residential street just doesn't seem probable to me. She was murdered for business reasons, in the multi billion dollar show business arena.

Ronnie just in a terrible car crash, bleeding profusely from the chest and nose, breathing heavily and you walk up to her and ask Can I help you? Real smart

Randy Quaid wasn't lying!!!!!

Thanks mark, if it wasn't for your expert insight, the real lapd detectives wouldn't know where to Begin. Keep watching csi, so you can help the police crack more cases.

I sure hope they catch the person who murdered this great publicist. Just tragic and my God she was still breathing when the neighbor went to her. This is like the gangster days of Hollywood.

Randy Quaid was right!


A case of mistaken identity or a hit, paid, or a do it yourself one? Where were the relatives and business associates at the time of the shooting? Bank account money withdrawals might reveal a cash withdrawal used to pay the killer. Someone sold any gold or jewelry for cash lately? Buy a gun? DNA from bullet cases? "What kind of gun do you own?" Insurance? Who collects? Someone lost a lawsuit? Bankruptcy cost anyone a bunch of money? L.A. has some very smart detectives. (They should, for what they get paid. But are worth it, so that not too many people get gunned down on the street.) I'm glad my big problem is no water pressure. Watch out for road builders wielding backhoes. They keep the phone company at full employment. "Whoops, I think it's one of those fiber optics wires."

Could she have been at a red light, shot and possibly robbed?

Well, this could be random or mistaken identity. But the circumstances are rich for speculation. This will certainly be a chapter in the next Hollywood dark-side doc. If she was in the wrong place at the wrong time, what a tradgedy. If she was mixed up in stuff she shouldn't have been, still a tragedy.

It's a shame she had to pay the ultimate price. Whatever happened; and we may never know, it was not worth her life.

I highly doubt the "can I help you?" was literal. Come on, people. Let's not bore each other with pedantry.

another thing about the woman who asked "can i help you?" she's 33 and has a daughter-in-law? seriously.

I am deeply chocked !
We are loosing a great 'Dame' and a dear friend.
Deepest condoleances to the family. Dirk Brossé

The caring neighbor is not 33 with a daughter-in-law JT Huntley! Take the time to read the article before you pass judgement on someone. She is a 33 year resident of Beverly Hills.

I don't see how anyone but a professional (or a very well-practiced amateur) could land all the shots in the chest area of a moving target. There is always the chance of mistaken identify, of course, but I don't think a pro would make that kind of mistake. I wonder if a car followed hers and reported to a shooter in position up ahead of Ms. Chasen's route, so the shooter could be in position at a certain point. Unless the shooter was reasonably certain of her route home, looks as if at least two people would have had to carry this out.

To the people who are criticizing the neighbor who walked up to the car and said,
"May I help you?" -- You really are nit-picking.

It was a perfectly reasonable way to determine if Ms. Chasen was conscious and responsive, and it was also a good way to let her know, if she was conscious, that this was not the person who attacked her coming in closer to harm her, but someone trying to get her help. I'm sure that person would not have just stood there and done nothing when Ms. Chasen did not respond.

At least this person did something constructive, as opposed to so many who have walked right past people down on the ground and in obvious need.

If it was a hit man or random road rage, they would have shot her in the HEAD. Shooting someone multiple times in the chest (the heart) means it's personal. It was someone close to her. Someone who had some sort of break up or falling out with her. An ex lover or friend or close business associate. I guarantee it.

This is a shocking crime. I feel extremely sad for Ronni and her family. I have driven and walked around Beverly Hills as a visitor from the UK. I have always felt safe in Beverly Hills. This crime is very worrying. I hope the person/persons that did this are brought to justice as soon as possible. This should not have happened to such a lovely lady.

Sounds like she really pissed someone off at the after party. Someone followed her and fired shots. I definitly think this is not just another random act.

no shots to the head doesn't rule out a hit. Not if you're trying to create doubt about it being a hit.

Randy quaid is not off base. Ronni Chasen part of a pattern. Start looking at the bigger picture, people. And count the days between this one and the next one.

1 2 | »


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: