The Murder of Ronni Chasen

The celebrity publicist was shot in her car on the way home from a party.

Josie Klakström
6 min readJul 19, 2020


On the 10th November 2010, Ronni Chasen was driving home from the premiere of Burlesque at the W Hollywood hotel, when she was shot through the front passenger window. 10 years later, the truth is still unclear as to why this successful publicist was murdered.

Born Veronica Cohen in 1946, Ronni Chasen was a high-profile publicist who lived in Los Angeles, California. Brought up on the other side of the United States, in the Bronx and Washington Heights, she began her career as a publicist for film director, Larry Cohen, her brother.

Her clients included stars such as Michael Douglas, Hans Zimmer and Diane Warren, to name a few. She managed the publicity for American International Pictures and was known as a businesswoman who got what she wanted.

Ronni Chasen via Hollywood Reporter

Ronni quickly made a name for herself in Hollywood, working on the Wall Street film franchise and in 1989 won her first Academy Award campaign, when Driving Miss Daisy received the Oscar for Best Picture.

“The Driving Miss Daisy campaign — all Ronni. That’s why I thanked her twice at the Oscars.” — Lili Fini Zanuck, producer.

Her home in the Regency Wilshire building near Westwood, was adorned with priceless art, loaned from her gallery owner friends. The neighbourhood wasn’t the up and coming area expected of the publicist, but it had one specific advantage; it had a doorman. Chasen was single and lived alone, preferring to spend her evenings with clients and at prestigious events.

Despite being worth $6.1 million, Ronni was known to ask waiters to bag up her award’s dinner, much to the distaste of onlookers;

“She was misunderstood…She wasn’t eating it. She was bringing it to her mother, who lived up the street and whom she’d visit at the end of the night to tell her about what happened. She wanted her mother to experience the evening with her.” — Vivian Mayer, MGM/UA publicist.

By 2010, Ronni’s clients had 150 Oscar nominations between them. Seven of these had won Best Picture, including Hurt Locker and Slumdog Millionaire. She was a powerhouse in Hollywood and deserved the respect she had gained over the years.



Josie Klakström

Josie is a freelance journo who writes about writing, true crime, culture and marketing.