Well-known Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen died on Tuesday after being shot five times in her car in Beverly Hills.
Her colleagues issued the following obituary on Tuesday evening:
Los Angeles, CA (November 16, 2010) — Tributes have been pouring in from the elite of the entertainment and media arenas for Ronni Chasen, one of the industry’s preeminent press agents, who was tragically killed in the early morning hours of November 16, 2010.
Over the course of her remarkable, decades-long career, Ronni Chasen earned the respect and admiration of her colleagues and the loyalty of her clients, to whom she was passionately devoted. Her work was an integral part of her life, and her love for her profession showed in her zeal for everything she did. Bringing more than 35 years of experience to bear, she approached her job with an extraordinary blend of old-school public relations and cutting-edge marketing. Her singular enthusiasm and indefatigable spirit endeared her to everyone with whom she worked, and it was common knowledge in the industry that it was impossible to say “no” to Ronni when she set her sights on something—never for herself, always in the interests of her clients.
Her impressive client roster ranged from Oscar-winning filmmakers and composers—all of whom are expressing grief and shock today—to international production companies, record labels, film festivals and fashion houses. She was also a sought-after awards campaign consultant, who had worked with virtually every major studio, as well as independent film companies. Over the years, she was also a mentor to many aspiring publicists, who went on to have successful careers of their own.
Born and raised in New York, Ronni Chasen began her career in public relations in the theater. Moving to Los Angeles, she headed publicity for American International Pictures and then served for 10 years as Executive Vice President of Motion Pictures at the prestigious Rogers & Cowan agency. She later held the post of Senior Vice President of Publicity for MGM.
For almost 20 years, Ronni Chasen enjoyed her greatest success as the head of her own boutique agency, Chasen & Company, where she worked with a broad range of personal and corporate clients.
Under her leadership, Chasen & Company became well known for its inventive campaigns for a diversified list of films, recently including Alice In Wonderland, Crazy Heart, Brothers, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, He’s Just Not That Into You, I Love You Man, Doubt, The Wrestler, Sweeney Todd, There Will Be Blood, Babel, Dreamgirls, Little Miss Sunshine, Walk The Line, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
As an awards strategist Chasen contributed to over 150 Oscar nominations and numerous wins, including seven Best Picture winners:The Hurt Locker, Slumdog Millionaire, No Country For Old Men, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Chicago, Shakespeare In Love, and Driving Miss Daisy.
In 2000, Chasen & Company was honored to handle public relations for the 72nd Academy Awards produced by Richard D. Zanuck and Lili Fini Zanuck.
In recent years, Chasen & Company music clients garnered more than 65 Grammy nominations, winning in six major categories, including the prestigious “Album of the Year” (for 1995’s Jagged Little Pill). Ronni was regarded as the premier publicist for many of the world’s leading film composers, including Hans Zimmer, Howard Shore, Ennio Morricone, Elliot Goldenthal, Thomas Newman, Harry Gregson-Williams, James Newton Howard and Jan Kaczmarek.
She continued to work in the legitimate theatre, where she was involved in the publicity campaigns for such shows as Mary Poppins, Randy Newman’s Faust, Julie Taymor’s The Green Bird, The Lion King and Thoroughly Modern Millie, as well as the ballet Othello and the opera Grendel.
Ronni Chasen was also a dedicated philanthropist. Her company’s pro-bono work includes Project Rebirth, a unique non-profit organization dedicated to documenting on film the long journey of rebuilding of the World Trade Center site. Among the charities to which she lent her time and expertise was the Tower Cancer Research Foundation. She also served on the Executive Committee of Big Sisters, The Board of Directors of The Scott Newman Foundation, the event committee supporting the 125th Anniversary of the Los Angeles Public Library, and as a consultant to the Tower Cancer Research Foundation.
Chasen was a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the American Film Institute, NARAS, and Women in Film.
Ronni Chasen was also devoted to her family. The daughter of the late Carolyn and Irving Cohen, she was especially close to her mother, whom she lovingly cared for until Carolyn’s passing in 2000. Ronni is survived by her brother, writer/director Larry Cohen; his wife, Cynthia Cohen; nieces Melissa and Jill; and grand-niece grand-nephew Alexis and Gabriel.
She is also being remembered today by myriad friends and colleagues, who know that she will forever be an irreplaceable figure in the entertainment industry.
A funeral service for Ronni Chasen will be held on Sunday, November 21, at 11:00 a.m. at Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary, located at 6001 West Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90045.