Hollywood leading lights have paid tribute to Ronni Chasen, the beloved publicity maven whose violent death early on Tuesday morning [16] has rocked the industry.

Chasen died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after she was discovered by police in her car in the Beverly Hills vicinity of Sunset and Whittier after 12.30am with multiple gunshot wounds to the chest.

The 64-year-old publicist had been on her way home from the premiere party for the Screen Gems musical Burlesque in Hollywood. An autopsy is expected to take place on Wednesday or Thursday. Police are continuing their investigation.

Over the course of a career that spanned more than 35 years the New York-born Chasen headed publicity for American International Pictures and served for a decade at Rogers & Cowan, where she led the film division for much of the 1980s. She later held the post of senior vice-president of publicity at MGM prior to launching Chasen & Co.

As an awards strategist she brought her expertise, indefatigable spirit and passion to more than 150 Oscar nominations and numerous wins, including seven best picture winners: The Hurt Locker, Slumdog Millionaire, No Country For Old Men, The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King, Chicago, Shakespeare In Love, and Driving Miss Daisy.

A funeral service will be held on November 21 at 11am at Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary, located at 6001 West Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles.

“Ronni was a loving and caring person who treated her clients like they were her own family,” Chasen’s brother, the screenwriter Larry Cohen, said. “She was my sister and best friend and we shared so many wonderful times together.”

Jeff Sanderson, Chasen’s partner at Chasen & Co, said: “There was no one like Ronni Chasen. Passionate. Dedicated. Tenacious. Loyal. Lovable. She was an iconic publicist who loved her clients and always strived to do her best for them. To me she was not only my colleague and mentor for over 18 years, but also my dearest friend and a part of my family. I will feel her loss every day, but she will always be a part of my life.”

  • Richard Zanuck, producer “Lili and I are shattered by the unthinkably sad news about Ronni. She worked with us on every picture we made since The Verdict and has been a loving and dear friend for so many years. To think of not being able to get her on the other line of the phone is unimaginable. She was the best publicist in the business in our opinion whose tireless and determined energy combined with her love of movies made her one of a very special breed. We can’t tell you how much we will miss her.”
  • Hans Zimmer, composer “I’m profoundly sad, devastated, mad, incredulous and lonely. Ronni was the best. And in a town where ‘the best’ is used much too casually, she was truly singular… I only just saw her at the Governors Awards last Saturday night. She was radiant, she knew everybody in the room. She took Chris Nolan over to the next table and introduced him to George Lucas. I was watching her standing there listening to them and I thought ‘there’s my friend Ronni, introducing two great directors to each other. She’s on top of her game.’ I adored her and she adored me.”
  • Donald De Line, Burlesque producer “We were all together last night, and Ronni was having the best time doing what she enjoyed most. She was tireless; her spirit was unstoppable. I’ve known Ronni through my whole career. When she represented you she was an unshakable support. Ronni always stayed focused and as much as anyone I’ve ever known, she genuinely loved her work. Her enthusiasm was unyielding and I was always amazed by her ability to bring newfound excitement to every movie… I loved Ronni and she meant a lot to me.”
  • Harry Gregson-Williams, composer “Ronni was not only a consummate professional, but she was a trusted friend and colleague. I always admired her charm & enthusiasm and find this news utterly shocking and tragic.”
  • Paul Bloch, Rogers & Cowan co-chairman “She was a great associate and a great collaborator. Creatively she was amazing. Her forte among other things was Academy campaigns; she was as good as anybody I have ever worked with. She had a great sense of humour; you would tease her and she would tease you back.”
  • Jim Sheridan “Ronni was a warm friend, a great advocate of mine and many others. I know my friend Bono will be shocked because he loved her, too. It’s a great loss for artists in the film and music industries.”
  • Nancy Meyers “Ronni was a wonderful woman, a great and loyal friend and a devoted and talented colleague. She loved movies, but more than that, she loved the people who made them. This is a very sad day in Hollywood.”
  • Nancy Utley, Fox Searchlight president “Ronni was a character, and a force of nature, a strategist and collaborator extraordinaire but, more importantly, the most wonderful kind of friend. When I suffered a debilitating personal loss several years ago, Ronni provided an extraordinary amount of comfort. She ended each of our conversations with ‘I love you’, which maybe she did with everyone, but it made me feel great. I hope she knows how much she was loved.”
  • Amanda Lundberg, 42West partner “If you knew Ronni, you loved her. She was warm, smart and so very funny. Ronni didn’t just love what she did but she was at the top of her game. It speaks volumes that hundreds of people are devastated by this loss – and all count Ronni as a friend. She is already missed and the business will never be the same.”
  • Morgan Freeman “I had the extreme pleasure of working with Ronni on Driving Miss Daisy. We’ve been friends ever since. She is someone I greatly admired and she will be remembered.”
  • Rich Ross, Walt Disney Studios chairman “I am deeply saddened by the news of Ronni’s unexpected passing. Ronni Chasen is a legend in this industry, and I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to work with her. Our thoughts are with her family, her friends and her team at Chasen & Company.”
  • Amy Pascal, Sony Pictures co-chairman “Ronni was a dear friend and cherished member of our community. She was at our premiere last night and so full of her trademark energy and love of life. We are heartbroken, shocked and completely devastated.”