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threatened to become a national scandal on the eve of America’s long struggle for civil rights.
(Haymes, an Argentinean native, was always facing deportation.)Instead, Cohn decided to get back at Hayworth.“People used to say, ‘I’m going to beat Harry,’” Sidney recalls.“But no one could beat Harry—he was too smart, he was too sharp. Mayer, Harry Cohn, Jack Warner—these men with their blood and their money and their reputations, they smelled out who had star material.”Cohn took all the credit for creating Rita Hayworth—he was also obsessed with her.Then they changed her hair, dyeing it three shades of blond at once.Columbia Pictures’ house designer Jean Louis was brought in to remake her wardrobe.“We started with Mae West, Jean Harlow, Marilyn, then Kim. It’s a terrible comparison, but it’s like betting on the Kentucky Derby.
That fourth horse, I think can do it.”The next girl to walk through Cohn’s door was Marilyn Novak, a shy, plump, large-boned 20-year-old from Chicago with no acting experience but a breathtaking face. Since there was already a Marilyn, the first thing that had to go was her name.
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.
He was still smarting from having let Marilyn Monroe slip away: unimpressed by her beauty, he had neglected in 1948 to renew her initial six-month contract.
Cohn decided he was going to take the next girl who walked into his office and manufacture a new star for Columbia Pictures, one who would do exactly what he wanted, who wouldn’t walk away until he and the public were finished with her.“We always had a blonde,” George Sidney remembers.
Cohn wanted to be known as the toughest, meanest mogul in Hollywood.