Hundreds in the Hollywood community paid their respects in Culver City Sunday at the funeral for famed veteran publicist Ronni 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.
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.
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 was shot five times last week as she drove her Mercedes-Benz home from a premiere and after party for the movie “Burlesque.”