Publicist Ronni Chasen laid to rest

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.
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. Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Hundreds in the Hollywood community paid their respects in Culver City Sunday at the funeral for famed veteran publicist Ronnie Chasen.

On a gusty Sunday morning, church security directed vehicles into the parking lot of Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Fox Hills. They kept photographers at bay for the private ceremony - though a few snapped pictures from across the street of incoming and outgoing cars.

Several hundred people attended the funeral today for Chasen. The 64 year-old movie industry stalwart was shot to death last Tuesday in Beverly Hills. Police have reported no motives or suspects so far.

Closed to reporters, the funeral at a Culver City memorial park attracted a smattering of celebrities and a cross-section of the industry, one mourner said.

Freelance radio journalist Alan Silverman who attended the service, said Chasen called him regularly to get coverage for her movie clients. He said Chasen’s friend and colleague Lili Zanuck gave one of the most moving tributes at the funeral.

“She spoke, again with a lot of humor but also I think with a lot of the sense of the emotion that as she put it, brought Hollywood to a standstill," recalled Silverman. "That people didn’t quite understand how much this woman affected the community because of the warm feeling - not just the good job that she did - but the warmth that people had for her.”

Freelance radio journalist Alan Silverman who attended the service, said Chasen called him regularly to get coverage for her movie clients. He said Chasen’s friend and colleague Lili Zanuck gave one of the most moving tributes at the funeral.

“She spoke, again with a lot of humor but also I think with a lot of the sense of the emotion that as she put it, brought Hollywood to a standstill," recalled Silverman. "That people didn’t quite understand how much this woman affected the community because of the warm feeling - not just the good job that she did - but the warmth that people had for her.”

Zanuk produced the Oscar award winning film “Driving Miss Daisy,” which Chasen worked to promote.

Silverman added that Chasen’s memorial was a touching tribute for a woman many revered in the film industry.

“A beautiful piece of music that was performed by a chorale. It was written by one of her clients Harry Gregson-Williams. But as they kept saying, all of her clients were her friends and that was really the beauty and that’s why me - as a reporter who’s somebody she was calling all the time to get coverage for her clients - wanted to be here because everyone she touched was her friend.”

Chasen, 64, was shot five times in the chest at about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday near Whittier Drive and Sunset Boulevard, according to Beverly Hills police.

Police found Chasen's black E350 crashed into a light pole on Whittier just south of Sunset, not far from the Beverly Hills Hotel. That route would have been on her way from the movie premiere to her home on Wilshire Boulevard near Westwood.

Chasen, a movie industry stalwart known for her Oscar-season campaigns, and known for her publicity work for some of Hollywood's biggest stars and movie productions, Chasen spent the last night of her life working the room at a premiere after-party for the new movie "Burlesque," promoting the work of a songwriter she represented.

Chasen worked on campaigns for more than 100 movies, including last year's best picture Oscar winner, "The Hurt Locker," as well as "Cocoon," "Baby Boom," "On Golden Pond" and the 1989 best picture winner "Driving Miss Daisy."

According to friends, Chasen was married once and had divorced years ago. She had no children, but, friends said, counted her clients and fellow publicists as family.

KPCC wire services contributed to this report

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