Book Spotlights Mob's Control of Hollywood

Mickey Cohen: Hollywood's 'most ruthless man.'

IT WAS just after three o'clock on a sunny autumn afternoon in 1950 when the calm of Moreno Avenue in Brentwood, a luxurious Los Angeles suburb, was shattered by a deafening bomb blast.

Twenty-eight sticks of dynamite had been placed under one of the elegant houses, shredding it like crumpled balsa wood. It was the home of one of Hollywood's most ruthless men - not a power-wielding studio head but the film capital's longest-serving mobster Mickey Cohen.

The bombing was the work of a rival, the brutal Jack Dragna, who wanted to take over Cohen's slice of the Hollywood action. What really infuriated the dapper Cohen was not so much the loss of his home but the destruction of his collection of 200 bespoke silk suits.

The Mafia had long had a stake in Hollywood, its studios and the movies they produced and even the lives of the stars. But a new book tells of the extraordinary measures taken by gangsters to maximise their cinematic power.

At the heart of the Mob's manipulation of Hollywood were various characters who might well have stepped from the gangland movies being churned out. One such man was the smooth-talking Johnny Rosselli, whose powers also spread to Las Vegas. He was in charge of skimming, making sure that important winnings by the house in a casino were never counted as part of the net income. ...

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