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threatened to become a national scandal on the eve of America’s long struggle for civil rights.It started in 1957 at Chicago’s most famous nightclub, Chez Paree.
When Cohn came in, however, the imperious Soulé seated him at the back, near the kitchen. But, in 1957, she fell in love with Sammy Davis Jr., who, with his immense popularity, was breaking the race barrier of a firmly segregated entertainment industry.Sam Kashner chronicles the backlash against their affair, the alleged Mob hit ordered by Cohn which forced Davis to marry black singer Loray White, and the heartbreaking coda to the romance that Hollywood forbade.Cohn wanted to be known as the toughest, meanest mogul in Hollywood.He brandished a riding crop and slashed it across his desk to terrify employees.He had created the notorious second skin glittering with sequins that Marlene Dietrich wore for her nightclub premiere in Las Vegas in 1953; he would also sew Marilyn Monroe into the sequined formfitting gown she wore when she sang “Happy Birthday” to John F. Novak was installed at the Studio Club, a curfewed dormitory for young starlets where Cohn could have his expensive new possession watched around the clock—even tailed by studio detectives to make sure she didn’t follow the wayward path of Rita Hayworth. At some point in the transformation of Marilyn Novak, her studio-assigned publicist, Muriel Roberts, dreamed up an all-lavender scheme and insisted that they rinse her hair with a pale lavender tint.
The studio had wanted a gimmick to distinguish its blonde from the many other new platinum blondes on the block: Jayne Mansfield, Mamie Van Doren, Diana Dors, Joi Lansing—all outsize girls signed to compete with Marilyn Monroe and built like the decade’s big Chevys and Buicks.
Unfortunately for Soulé, Columbia owned the building, and Cohn retaliated by raising Le Pavilion’s rent.
The director George Sidney, who made all with Novak at Columbia Pictures, became one of Cohn’s most trusted intimates.
That night would be the first and virtually the last time that Kim Novak and Sammy Davis Jr. At the heart of their star-crossed affair was one of Hollywood’s sacred monsters: the notorious Harry Cohn.
It was said that Harry Cohn put more people in the cemetery than all the other moguls combined.
“People used to say, ‘I’m going to beat Harry,’” Sidney recalls.