Hollywood publicist shot dead in Beverly Hills

A well-known Hollywood publicist for movies such as "Driving Miss Daisy" was shot to death Tuesday near Sunset Boulevard, authorities said.

Ronni Sue Chasen, 64, of Los Angeles, was shot several times in the chest shortly before 12:30 a.m., and her Mercedes-Benz E350 sedan crashed into a light pole, police said.

No suspects or motive were immediately known, police Lt. Tony Lee said.

Chasen, who also was a publicist for "On Golden Pond," headed the public relations firm of Chasen and Co. Calls and e-mails to the company were not immediately returned Tuesday.

Fellow publicist Howard Bragman called Chasen's shooting death bizarre.

"She wasn't a shady character," he said. "It's a small community, and she was one of the fixtures in it."

Chasen was involved in Hollywood publicity since the 1970s, working on campaigns for movies and artists, particularly those involved in film scores, such as German composer Hans Zimmer.

At the time of her death, Chasen was working for Screen Gems on a campaign to promote the soundtrack of the new movie "Burlesque" for an Oscar nomination, and she had attended the movie premiere Monday in Hollywood, according to the trade publication Variety.

Variety said she also was working with 20th Century Fox on the Oscar campaign for Michael Douglas's role in "Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps."

"Ronni did it her way," Bragman said. "She was not a woman who was a slave to the fashion of the day. She played to her own vision and integrity. She was very bright, very successful."

© 2010 The Associated Press.

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