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Hollywood's Celebrity Gangster: The Incredible Life and Times of Mickey Cohen Paperback – June 27, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 446 pages
  • Publisher: BookSurge Publishing (June 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439243654
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439243657
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,270,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Brad Lewis has penned a beauty titled Hollywood's Celebrity Gangster: The Incredible Life and Times of Mickey Cohen (396 pages, paperbound, $22), while Michael Bohn focuses on Money Golf: 600 Years of Bettin' On Birdies (277 pages, hardbound, $25.95).

Mickey Cohen, who died in 1976, was a colorful, feared West Coast gangster-gambler who knew the biggest names in Hollywood including the Rat Pack, was a bodyguard for Bugsy Siegel, a friend of Las Vegas' late Liz Renay and on first names with the biggest guys in the Mafia. Well-indexed and illustrated, Lewis book about Cohen draws from thousands of resources -- a virtual treasure trove of Mafia-related books, articles and interviews.

The book is divided into five parts: Cohen's early days from 1913 to 1938, from Brooklyn to Los Angeles; from 1938 to 1947 Headliners: Mickey and Bugsy; 1947 to 1955 Mickey, The Celebrity; 1955 to 1967, Mickey Redux; and 1967 to 1976, The Survivor.

Each section has something for everyone interested in the Mob with theories on who shot Bugsy in 1947; a look at the early days of Las Vegas and why Cohen liked certain hotels; and his connection with Hollywood and the entertainment industry.

Cohen was a survivor. Not a big man (he was five-five), he managed to survive gang wars; feuds; the federal government's attempts to put him away; and he had some of the biggest name lawyers representing him.

His real name was Meyer Harris (Michael) Cohen and there's some doubt to when he was born (1911, 1913 or 1914) "purportedly" in Brownsville's section of Brooklyn, but he grew up in the Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles. He'd get educated later on the streets of New York, Chicago and Detroit.

Cohen's life crossed the lives of many. The book's index includes the Mob's Albert Anastasia; stripper Candy Barr; Hollywood big shot Harry Cohn; Frank Costello; gangster Jack Dragna; Jimmy Fratianno; Momo Giancana; J. Edgar Hoover; racket investigator Estes Kefauver; Mob brain Meyer Lansky; actor George Raft; the dapper Johnny Rosselli; ; President John Kennedy and his brother Robert.

This is both a fascinating history of time gone by and a biography of a survivor and Lewis has written it with flash and substance. -- Howard Schwartz - Gambler's Book Club, Las Vegas

"I found Celebrity Gangster intense, dramatic, a real page turner." ----Irwin Winkler, Producer of Rocky, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Night and the City and The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight. -- Irwin Winkler

"Never in my years of reading for pleasure, has such an infamous mobster as the late Mickey Cohen been written about with such insight, truthfulness and good humor as Brad Lewis has accomplished in this page-turning bio. For anyone into Jewish or even gentile folklore, this is a must read." ----Arthur Marx, author of Life With Groucho, The Nine Lives of Mickey Rooney, Goldwyn: A Biography of the Man Behind the Myth , Red Skelton, The Secret Life of Bob Hope , Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime (Especially Himself ) - Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, and the play, The Impossible Years. -- Arthur Marx

A colorful biography of the Mick, a nattily attired, 5-foot-5-inch L.A. gangster who declared he never killed anyone who ``didn't deserve killing" and who feared nothing but germs (hence, his habit of taking 2- to 3-hour showers). ``Hollywood's Celebrity Gangster" is a fascinating portrait of how a Boyle Heights newsboy grew up to cross paths with movie stars, religious leaders, jetsetters and newspaper folks when he wasn't dodging assassination attempts on Sunset Boulevard. Lewis' book shines a light on an often overlooked chapter of the history of crime, L.A.'s mid-20th century underworld (called the ``Vicecapades'' by one columnist). Mickey struck me as a guy I would have loved to dine with as long as it wasn't on Sunset Boulevard.

----Steve Harvey, "Only in LA", Los Angeles Times -- Steve Harvey, "Only in LA", Los Angeles Times

This is Mickey Cohen! Inside and Out! The most comprehensive biography ever written about Hollywood's bantam gangster. Bradley Lewis gives us the complete story of the most famous West Coast mobster in history, complete with his ties to the underworld hierarchy across the United States. Lewis shows us multiple sides of Cohen and for the first time gives us a clear understanding of his far-reaching influence, separating fact from fiction along the way. -- AmericanMafia.com - Allan R. May -- Allan R. May Americanmafia.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Author

Hollywood's Celebrity Gangster, The Incredible Life and Times of Mickey Cohen is the first complete story of the infamous Los Angeles gangster. Cohen is a complicated character, whose life is a paradigm for the intermingling of Hollywood, organized crime, and Washington. Mickey Cohen was the first gangster to understand the power of the media, and use it to his advantage. His extensive contact with celebrities and politicians was groundbreaking. From Marilyn Monroe to Frank Sinatra, and Richard Nixon to Reverand Billy Graham, Cohen knew them all. See BradleyLewis.com for more details. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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I could hardly put it down because it was such an easy read, too.
Tom
From Bugsy Siegel to the rat Pack: all the Hollywood "gangs" are shown here and Mickey was almost like a puppet master pulling strings!
Robert L. Miller
I would highly recommend it to anyone interested crime novels, film noir, gangsters, biographies and just well written books.
Agapemou

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a native of Chicago and fan of film noir, I enjoy reading histories of prohibition era gangsters and period stories. This book was right on point.

The author, Brad Lewis, has, though obviously exhaustive research, uncovered facts of Mickey Cohen's life and presented them in a cradle to grave account of his rise and fall in the gangster and Hollywood communities. He provides overwhelming details of how Mickey Cohen rose to become someone who, inter alia, became a Nixon fundraiser and friend of Sinatra. Tying all of these facts together is the author's insightful interpretation of the facts, editorializing on the subject's actions, and speculating on his motives.

Intertwined with the story Mr. Lewis provides the reader with fascinating and unknown snippets about people, places and events in 38 pages of endnotes. I found the information provided in these notes to be more interesting than the main text. For example, did you know that David Bagleman who was Al Pachino's manager, committed suicide in the Century City Hotel after spending the night out with Sandi Bennett, Tony Bennett's former wife? Or that the straight laced Dorothy Kilgallen, who I used to watch on "What's My Line", died of an overdose of alcohol and barbiturates in 1965 soon after interviewing THE Jack Ruby. These and numerous other epitaphs may have little or nothing to do with Mickey Cohen but contributed to the dynamic flow of the book and captivated my attention.

I found the book to be entertaining, informative, interesting, and above all well written. The author has an astonishing command of the written word and uses it to present a gripping story of a noteworthy individual and people who crossed his path. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested crime novels, film noir, gangsters, biographies and just well written books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Spell VINE VOICE on February 6, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very thorough book. I don't remember why I bought this book but if you are interested in a DETAILED story of his life, this is it. Unfortunately, I read for entertainment and this as just too much for me. So make sure you are big fan and want to read page after page of name dropping and detailed accounts of everyday life. Now, this guy was unique and wanted more publicity than any other mafia member I have heard of. And, I always enjoy parts about starlets and beautiful women. But, this was not an exciting read and I'd like my 10 hours back. Unfortunately, I rarely ever stop a read once I start.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Anton Hosney on December 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
I was with Mickey from 55 to 60. This was good but there was more going on. I needed to be interviewed.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Graham Hill on November 16, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mickey Cohen certainly was a product of his time. Edward G. Robinson only played LITTLE CAESAR on screen, Cohen was the real thing. He was made to measure for dominating the crime in and around Hollywood. From fixing prize fights and horse races to shaking down movie stars and politicians.
Then there are the six murders that he freely admits to, not counting all those he doesn't own up to. Still, ask any waiter, car hop or bell boy and they're all tell you what a great guy he was -or rather a great tipper.

Mickey Cohen fitted right in with LA. His exploits commanded the front pages and gossip columns of the day. Brad Lewis' book is well researched, but for me not all the loose ends were tied together. Cohen's relationships with his bosses -the mob, are detailed better in Gus Russo's book SUPERMOB.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By SMS on April 13, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A great read. Brad Lewis, the author, has really done his research on the surge of gang life in the early and middle Twentieth Century with regard to Mickey Cohen in particular and the various inter-relationships of the ethnicity of gangs in general. SMS
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tom on February 26, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Facinating, well-researched book. I could hardly put it down because it was such an easy read, too. What a ruthless, up-by-the-bootstraps bad apple. Though largely a sociopathic personality who thrived in the underworld, he achieved far more than a man of short stature and unimpressive social skills might be expected.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ruger4 on January 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very well written.This book will hold your interest.It not only shows you the brutal side of Mickey Cohen but also shows the human side.
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