Hanging out with Hollywood’s most flamboyant little gangster


According to Al Aronowitz

Saturday Evening Post writer Dean Jennings once told what it was like to spend seven weeks hanging out with Hollywood’s most flamboyant little gangster. Jennings wrote of sometimes dining with Mickey in his apartment, with “monogrammed linen and imported silver.”

I sat in expensive nightclubs with Cohen and occasionally drove him around Hollywood or Beverly Hills as he ran mysterious little errands. I watched him get fitted for new suits at $250 each, and saw wardrobe closets filled with 1,500 pairs of socks, 50 pairs of $50 silk pajamas and neckties by the hundreds.

That’s what it was like for me when I was hanging out with Mickey. But Dean Jennings may as well have been a federal agent, because his testimony later helped send Mickey to Alcatraz. Like Al Capone, Mickey finally got nailed on income tax evasion. Mickey, in fact, got the longest prison term ever imposed on an American citizen for income-tax evasion.


Probably his most revealing moments with me were when, early in our acquaintanceship, he insisted I interview him while he showered. […] It never occurred to me until just now that maybe he thought the suite might be bugged.


Mickey’s shower turned out to be more like a ritualistic cleansing. Before turning on the tap, he lined the tub with towels, along the sides and on the bottom in the same way that some men line a toilet seat with toilet paper. He didn’t want his skin to touch the surface of the tub. Once Mickey got started showering, he kept scrubbing and scrubbing and scrubbing and scrubbing. […]

When he finally finished showering, Mickey stood before the wash basin, lining it with more towels just as he had lined the tub, so his skin wouldn’t come in contact with the porcelain. He then began to wash his face over and over and over again. After about a half-hour of washing his face, he shaved. Mickey’s cleansing ritual ended only after he had drenched himself with cologne.

Micky Cohen

Credit: New York Social Diary


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