It's tough being a publicist in Hollywood. Nicknamed flacks -- not the most endearing word -- they've been depicted in movies and on TV as parasites, demagogues and swarmy hustlers (the image of Tony Curtis in 'Sweet Smell of Success' comes to mind). People see them as being noisy, loud, persistent and vicious.

Not so Ronni Chasen.

The longtime Hollywood publicist was a consummate professional in every good sense of the word. She was creative, personal, passionate, loyal, honest, friendly and a class act. She was loved by clients and competitors alike. So it was a gigantic shock last week when Chasen was mysteriously shot to death in her car in Beverly Hills on her way home from a Hollywood event for the upcoming 'Burlesque.'

Hollywood -- not a place known for its family warmth -- came together after Chasen's death. Most of the publicity houses shut down entirely last Tuesday to mourn her death. The six major Hollywood studios -- Sony, Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox and The Walt Disney Co. -- collectively footed the bill for her memorial. And the Palm Springs International Film Festival, which was represented by Chasen, created a $100,000 reward fund for information leading to her killer. (The Beverly Hills Police Dept. is still investigating with very few leads). There were informal gatherings around town as people sought to make sense out of the tragedy.
categories Movies