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Hollywood Publicist Ronni Chasen Found Shot to Death

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood November 16, 2010 at 6:32AM

On Saturday night, press agent Ronni Chasen came up to me at the Governor's Ball, kissed me on the cheek, asked me if I had greeted producers Dick and Lili Zanuck and Inception's Hans Zimmer and Chris Nolan, reminded me that she wanted me to interview composer Eliot Goldenthal for Julie Taymor's The Tempest, and told me to save the date for her Christmas party. I've known Chasen since she was a senior press agent at Rogers & Cowan in the 80s. She went on to run her own firm, Chasen & Co., which reps filmmakers and composers. Chasen, who was a diminutive but forceful blonde, kindly tutored me in the ways of Hollywood when I was fresh from New York. Her brother, director Larry Cohen, once shot a film in my upper West Side apartment. Chasen was one of those publicists who knew her job, loved her clients, and was able to suggest without being a nudge. She was, in short, a mensch. I am, like everyone else who knew her, in shock.
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Thompson on Hollywood

On Saturday night, press agent Ronni Chasen came up to me at the Governor's Ball, kissed me on the cheek, asked me if I had greeted producers Dick and Lili Zanuck and Inception's Hans Zimmer and Chris Nolan, reminded me that she wanted me to interview composer Eliot Goldenthal for Julie Taymor's The Tempest, and told me to save the date for her Christmas party. I've known Chasen since she was a senior press agent at Rogers & Cowan in the 80s. She went on to run her own firm, Chasen & Co., which reps filmmakers and composers. Chasen, who was a diminutive but forceful blonde, kindly tutored me in the ways of Hollywood when I was fresh from New York. Her brother, director Larry Cohen, once shot a film in my upper West Side apartment. Chasen was one of those publicists who knew her job, loved her clients, and was able to suggest without being a nudge. She was, in short, a mensch. I am, like everyone else who knew her, in shock.

Now she is dead, the Los Angeles coroner told The Wrap. She was 64. UPDATE: here's the LAT. She was shot five times in the chest in her car in Beverly Hills early Tuesday, crashing into a lightpole around 12:28 AM near Sunset and Whittier, returning from the premiere of Burlesque. What happened? The Beverly Hills police do not know and seek assistance (310-288-2656); they released a statement (below):

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.

This article is related to: Directors, Obit, Chris Nolan


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.