It's a legitimate Hollywood whodunit: shots rang out in the early hours of Tuesday morning in Beverly Hills, and when police arrived on the scene, they discovered a crumpled Mercedes-Benz involved in a solo crash with a light pole. Inside the car lay the body of publicist Ronni Chasen, five bullet wounds in her chest.
She was taken by ambulance to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.
Chasen was a 64-year-old Hollywood PR woman who represented famed movie composer Hans Zimmer, producers Dick Zanuck and Irwin Winkler, and actress Natalie Wood, who died in 1981. In 1993, she was named senior vice president of worldwide publicity at MGM.
Was Chasen the victim of a murder plot? Or was this a random act of violence?
Police are searching for evidence, but have no theories yet. By all accounts, there was no obvious motive in her death. Fellow publicists, coworkers, and clients have all spoken out on her behalf, claiming she was a well-liked Hollywood figure. A former coworker said, "People loved her. We felt she didn't have an enemy in the world."
The facts thus far in the case are few. It's known she attended the premiere party for the movie Burlesque earlier in the evening, and six minutes before she was shot, she called her office staff to leave a to-do list via voicemail.
The LA Times reports,
Sometime after midnight, (Chasen) steered her new E350 sedan away from the W Hotel in Hollywood, apparently en route to her Westwood condominium. 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.
What a bizarre mystery, right? What could have possibly happened to this woman? I hope for the sake of her friends and family there's some sort of resolution soon, because I imagine the pain of not knowing makes the whole situation even worse.
(Also, I hesitate to mention it, but the first thing I thought of when I read this story was star whackers. Please, no one interview Randy Quaid any time soon.)
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