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Beverly Hills murder still a mystery as publicist is laid to rest

By Alan Duke, CNN
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Retracing slain publicist's drive
  • Chasen's death brought the entertainment industry to a standstill, a producer says
  • The slain publicist's funeral was closed to the news media
  • Beverly Hills police still have no motive or suspect in the shooting

Los Angeles, California (CNN) -- Actor Michael Douglas sat among a thousand other friends, family and clients of slain Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen as tears were shed and laughs shared at her funeral Sunday.

Chasen, 64, died from gunshots fired into her Mercedes-Benz as she turned off Sunset Boulevard on her way home from a star-studded premiere celebration for the movie "Burlesque" last Tuesday morning.

Her mysterious murder in a posh Beverly Hills neighborhood not only stunned her friends, but it sent fear through the exclusive community.

Chasen was master at creating Oscar buzz

Beverly Hills Police Chief David Snowden asked journalists Friday to keep "erroneous information, theories or speculation" out of their stories about the killing.

The chief assured residents it was "a rare, isolated incident and that the Beverly Hills community remains one of the safest in the nation."

There is no prevailing theory on whether the attack was road rage or a planned hit, a police official said. No motive or suspects have been identified, he said.

The chapel at Culver City, California's Hillside Memorial Park was packed Sunday with the actors, composers, producers, publicists and journalists the public relations veteran worked with for the last three decades.

Douglas, who suffers from throat cancer, did not speak at the funeral for his former publicist.

Lili Fini Zanuck, a film producer and friend, told mourners that Chasen's death brought the Los Angeles entertainment industry to "a standstill."

Reporters were kept at the cemetery gate, but publicist Stephen Jaffe described the service to CNN as "very moving" and full of "a whole lot of love and respect" for Chasen.

Speakers, including Chasen's brother, television producer-writer Larry Cohen, brought laughter as they shared stories about her life.

Composer Hans Zimmer, who was a longtime Chasen client, also spoke at the funeral.