Palm Springs film festival officials offer reward in wake of publicist murder

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File photo: Publicist Ronni Chasen is seen during the premiere of Screen Gems' 'Burlesque' at Grauman's Chinese Theater on November 15, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.

The Palm Springs International Film Festival is offering a $100,000 reward for information that helps authorities solve the murder of Ronni Chasen. The veteran Hollywood publicist was shot and killed early Tuesday by an unknown assailant. Chasen had close ties to the Palm Springs film community.

The 64-year-old publicist directed the Palm Springs International Film Festival’s annual star-studded Award's Gala for almost 10 years. She was in charge of booking and managing the festival’s many celebrity honorees. 2011 festival recipients include actors Natalie Portman and Javier Bardem.

“We have to find another Ronni Chasen. I don’t think there’s five of them in Hollywood,” says festival chairman Harold Matzner, adding that Chasen’s ability to land A-list talent helped bring the festival worldwide attention.

“She was already a superstar in her field. Ronni could talk to the head of any studio or decision makers in the studios,” says Matzner.

“There are very few entrepreneurial, talented people who are respected the way Ronni was respected and who can really deliver what they say they’ll deliver. Ronni was a partner that functioned at an extraordinary level of excellence but she also was a very important friend to me.”

Chasen was probably best known for her work promoting films as diverse as “Driving Miss Daisy”, “The Wrestler” and “Sweeny Todd”.

She was shot and killed early Tuesday on Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills after attending a movie premiere. Police say they have yet to determine a motive or identify a suspect. Palms Springs International Film Festival board members put up $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Chasen’s killer.

A funeral will be held Sunday at Hillside Memorial Park & Mortuary.

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