Pete Hammond Remembers Ronni Chasen

Showbiz Publicists Help Ronni Chasen’s Firm
R.I.P. Ronni Chasen
Oscar Publicist Ronni Chasen Shot And Killed In Beverly Hills Driving Back From ‘Burlesque’ Premiere In Hollywood

Of all my time in this business I can think of no one more dedicated to her clients, more doggedly determined to help them achieve their goals. In many ways, Ronni always reminded me of a sort of lost breed of press agent and she would always bend over backwards to help with a story. She also had the driest, most acerbic sense of humor. Yes she was no bullshit and very straightforward. She was persistent, yes, but also knew when to hold back. This is unbelievable to think I won’t be seeing her anymore. There was barely an event, an awards show, a premiere, a party, or any number of press things where I didn’t see her. The last was the Governors Awards Saturday. Recently we met in the Polo Lounge with her longtime client Dick Zanuck. She told me she couldn’t think of three other times in the decades she had been working with him that he agreed to an interview like that. And then when the story ran, she emailed me from Paris where she was travelling to say he really liked it.

She always made me feel special. As a film music fan, I was particularly thrilled several years ago when she invited me backstage at the Hollywood Bowl to meet her client John Williams (she handled many of the A-list composers). She took a photo of us together and sent it to me. I still have it. More than anything she was a personal friend. Madelyn and I often had dinner with her (she wasn’t afraid to be brutally honest with the waiters). We celebrated birthdays together. And there was always her annual Holiday party at her condo on Wilshire in Westwood. Such a great mix of people. One year when a guest inadvertently spilled red wine on her brand new white sofa pillow, she didn’t freak out (okay, maybe a little) but quickly went into action with baking soda to try to salvage it. I have fond memories just this Labor Day riding with Ronni and her client Bonnie Arnold on the shuttle for the two hour ride from the Telluride Film Festival to the Montrose airport where we played Oscar trivia games in the back of the bus. I will be eternally grateful to have known Ronni and to have had her as a friend, a real friend. And now this. It’s a sick world.

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