BEVERLY HILLS (AP) — Investigators seized computers Tuesday from the business of a prominent Hollywood publicist who was shot to death in her car in Beverly Hills hours after attending a movie premiere.
Ronni Chasen, 64, of Los Angeles, who promoted the Academy Award-winning movie “Driving Miss Daisy” and other major films, was shot several times in the chest shortly before 12:30 a.m., a police statement said. Her Mercedes-Benz E350 sedan crashed into a light pole along Sunset Boulevard.
Police hauled the equipment from her firm, Chasen and Co., about 12 hours after the attack. The reason for the seizure was unclear.
No suspects or motive were immediately known, police Lt. Tony Lee said.
Calls and e-mails to Chasen and Co. representatives were not immediately returned.
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.”
Nahid Shekarchain, who lives near the scene of the shooting, told the Los Angeles Times she heard at least three gunshots sometime after midnight then found Chasen in the car with blood on her chest and gushing from her nose. The front passenger’s window had been shattered.
The driver was breathing heavily and did not respond, Shekarchain said.
The killing took place after Chasen had attended the premiere of the movie “Burlesque,” which she had a hand in promoting.
Chasen was involved in Hollywood publicity since the 1970s, working on campaigns for movies and artists. She promoted “On Golden Pond,” which won Academy Awards for best actor, actress and screenplay in 1981.
She worked with a number of music clients in recent years, including Janet Jackson, composer Hans Zimmer, producer Glen Ballard and Diane Warren, who wrote the song “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me,” which Cher sings in the new movie “Burlesque.”
At the time of her death, Chasen was working for Screen Gems on a campaign to promote the soundtrack of “Burlesque” for an Oscar nomination, according to the trade publication Variety.
Chasen also was also working with 20th Century Fox on the best supporting actor Oscar campaign for Michael Douglas 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.”
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