It was a horrible story with a horrible and violent ending for Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen, with whom I was friendly. When she was gunned down two weeks ago on Sunset Boulevard, nobody knew who did it.
Well, they still don't. And while there are several intriguing (albeit bizarre) theories, including the one that Ronnie's death was a "hit" to help pay for a relative's gambling debts, Hollywood remains bewildered.
Well, something Ronni told me at a party a couple a years ago just might possibly be a clue:
We were both attending a premiere at the Academy Theater on Wilshire, about a half mile where Ronni was gunned down November 16. She was her usual effervescent self—breezy, friendly, chatting in a heavy New York accent—but she was even a bit more animated than usual.
She was describing having just been robbed at gunpoint.
"These two men came into my garage and held me up," Chasen told me. "And they had guns! I was horrified!"
I assume Chasen meant the garage of her condo building, but, I didn't press. My eyes just bulged as I asked, "Are you OK, were you OK?"
"Yes," a still somewhat flustered Chasen told me. "But the thing is, they got my jewelry, including what was in the trunk."
Chasen, always dressed and coiffed to perfection, hit a boat-load of social events every week, so it was no surprise she was carting around a change-of-outfit (and gems) in her car.
Ronni, an amazingly perky 64-year-old, was doubly upset: "Some of [the jewelry] was my mother's," she vented and sighed in the same breath. "Irreplaceable."
And while some folks are buzzing about now about the "cop-killer" type bullets that have presumably been found in Chasen after her autopsy, and how that sure as crap sounds like an intentional hit, I say, maybe it's not the first time?
How did those robbers know Chasen had valuable jewelry, not just on her person, but, in her Mercedes trunk, too? Sounds like an awfully lucky coincidental rip-off, does it not? And in that same plotting vein, can't a woman be hit for the value of her life insurance, as well as her jewelry?
Way too many things don't add up here, but a couple of years ago, I think Ronni gave us some pretty revealing info to help figure it out.