18 Facts About Harry Cohn


Harry Cohn was a co-founder, president, and production director of Columbia Pictures Corporation.


Harry Cohn's father, Joseph Cohn, was a tailor from Germany, and his mother, Bella Joseph, was from Pale of Settlement, Russian Empire.


Harry Cohn left school early and had a variety of jobs, including chorus boy, fur salesman, pool hustler, shipping clerk, streetcar conductor and song plugger for a sheet music printer.


Harry Cohn appeared in a vaudeville act with Harry Ruby.


Harry Cohn entered the film industry when he got a job with Independent Moving Pictures, where his elder brother, Jack Cohn, was already employed.


In 1919, Harry Cohn joined his brother and fellow IMP employee Joe Brandt, to found CBC Film Sales Corporation.


The relationship between the two brothers was not always good, and Brandt, finding the partnership stressful, eventually sold his third of the company to Harry Cohn, who took over as president, by which time the firm had been renamed Columbia Pictures Corporation.


Harry Cohn did not build a stable of movie stars like other studios.


Harry Cohn was known for his autocratic and intimidating management style.


Harry Cohn respected talent above any personal attribute, but he made sure his employees knew who was boss.


Harry Cohn is said to have kept a signed photograph of Benito Mussolini, whom he met in Italy in 1933, on his desk until the beginning of World War II.


Harry Cohn had a long-standing friendship with Chicago mobster John Roselli, and New Jersey mob boss Abner Zwillman was the source of the loan that allowed Cohn to buy out his partner Brandt.


The characters played by Broderick Crawford in All The King's Men and Born Yesterday, both Columbia pictures, are allegedly based on Harry Cohn, as is Jack Woltz, a movie mogul who appears in The Godfather as well as Rod Steiger in The Big Knife.


Harry Cohn remembered the valuable contributions of Jack Holt during Columbia's struggling years, and kept him under contract until 1941.


Harry Cohn was fond of what he termed "those lousy little 'B' pictures", and kept making them, along with two-reel comedies and serials, after other studios had abandoned them.


Harry Cohn was responsible for the abrupt end to Hazel Scott's film career after Scott protested the degrading costumes black women were scripted to wear on Mae West's 1943 film The Heat's On.


Harry Cohn eventually relented, but made good on his vow that Hazel Scott would never step foot on a Hollywood studio as long as he lived.


Harry Cohn was married to Rose Barker from 1923 to 1941, and to actress Joan Perry from July 1941 until his death in 1958.