Harry Cohn

Executive, Vaudevillian, Chorus boy
When asked his thoughts on running a major Hollywood studio like Columbia Pictures, its president and chief of production, Harry Cohn replied, "It's better than being a pimp. " The statement summed up Cohn's outlook and ... Read more »
Born: 07/23/1891 in New York City, New York, USA

Filmography

Producer (21)

The Lady From Shanghai 1948 (Movie)

(Producer)

It Happened One Night 1934 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Ten Cents a Dance 1930 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Miracle Woman 1930 (Movie)

(Producer)

Acquitted (Movie)

(Producer)

American Madness (Movie)

(Producer)

Behind the Mask (TV Show)

Producer

Broadway Scandals (Movie)

(Producer)

Dirigible (Movie)

(Producer)

Ladies of Leisure (Movie)

(Producer)

Lady for a Day (Movie)

(Producer)

Madonna of the Streets (Movie)

(Producer)

Mexicali Rose (Movie)

(Producer)

One Night of Love (Movie)

(Producer)

Platinum Blonde (Movie)

(Producer)

Rain or Shine (Movie)

(Producer)

Remember (Movie)

(Producer)

Shadow Ranch (Movie)

(Producer)

Shopworn (Movie)

(Producer)

So This Is Love? (Movie)

(Producer)

The Kid Sister (Movie)

(Producer)
Actor (1)

American Lifestyles 1986 (Movie)

Interviewee (Actor)
Other (3)

By Whose Hand? (Movie)

(Supervisor/Manager)

The Bachelor's Baby (Movie)

(Supervisor/Manager)

The Lone Wolf Returns (Movie)

(Supervisor/Manager)

Biography

When asked his thoughts on running a major Hollywood studio like Columbia Pictures, its president and chief of production, Harry Cohn replied, "It's better than being a pimp. " The statement summed up Cohn's outlook and reputation in the business as one of its most hard-nosed, combative and unlikable figures, but that assessment obscured the fact that from the 1920s until his death in 1958, Cohn turned Columbia from a cut-rate film studio to one of the biggest movie factories in Hollywood, with such films as "It Happened One Night" (1934), "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939), "From Here to Eternity" (1953) and "The Bridge on the River Kwai" (1957) among his accomplishments. Cohn watched his books with a miserly eye, and reduced stars, directors and executives to ashes with his venomous tongue, but he also possessed an unerring eye for quality films, and focused the same amount of energy towards creating great movies as he did towards terrorizing his employees. In the end, Harry Cohn's reputation as a world-class tyrant and as a top-notch mogul remained one of Hollywood's greatest legends.

Relationships

Catherine Perry Cohn

Daughter

Joan Cohn

Wife
married 1941 until Cohn's death died September 15, 1996 at age 85

Harry Cohn

Son
deceased

John Cohn

Son

Joan Perry Editor

Wife
Married 1941 until his death 1958

Milestones

1924

CBC becomes Columbia Pictures

1920

Formed CBC Film Sales Company with Joe Brandt and brother Jack Cohn

1918

Became secretary to Universal chief Carl Laemmle

1912

First vaudevillian performance

Bonus Trivia

.

Many people had many memorable insults to sling Cohn's way. One such stab is "You had to stand in line to hate him" but perhaps the topper was comedian Red Skelton's remark when it was pointed out to him that Cohn's funeral drew a substantial crowd. Skelton replied, "It just proves the old adage: give the public what they want to see and they'll come out for it."

.

Rather surprisingly, Cohn did have his defenders, including, of all people, actress Ethel Barrymore: "He knew the score."

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