As new details emerged last night via the Hollywood Reporter about the Beverly Hills Police investigation into the shocking murder of publicist Ronni Chasen, it still seems ludicrous that a beloved 64-year-old PR industry veteran would be deliberately targeted by a mob-style hit. Could it be, perhaps, a tragic case of mistaken identity, with the shooter basing their actions on the make and model of car Chasen was driving? Or a very foolhardy carjacking attempt, gone horribly wrong?
According to a police working theory shared via THR, Chasen was shot by someone in another car that pulled up to the passenger side of her vehicle, either as she was turning left onto Whittier Drive going west on Sunset, or just after she had turned south onto that street. There is also, as everyone expected, archived security camera footage from one or more of the city’s fortified celebrity residences.
Police have obtained relevant footage from one or perhaps multiple security cameras located at a residence on Whittier, just down the street from the intersection of Whittier and Greenway. Sources tell THR that the property is the home of Sherry Hackett, widow of the late comedian and actor Buddy Hackett. A woman who answered the door at the Whittier residence Thursday identified herself as an assistant to Hackett and said she knew nothing of the incident but that Hackett slept through it.
The idea that Chasen, after a normal night’s business at Grauman’s and the W Hotel, would be suddenly taken away like Biggie Smalls or Tupac Shakur – in Beverly Hills – is still difficult to reconcile. If in some way this crime winds up having something to do with Hollywood awards season campaigning, that will be the tragic, surreal capper.