Meyer Cohen (Meyer Cohen)

Meyer Cohen

Gangster. Born in a poverty-stricken part of New York in 1913. His Jewish mother was from Kiev in the Ukraine. After running away from home at fifteen, he picked up his swagger in the fight clubs of Cleveland, then the nation’s fifth largest city. Lifelong connections with major underworld players were forged there, and in New York and Chicago. Newsboy, pro boxer, underworld-connected thug and armed bandit—that was the arc of his Depression-era youth. In his early twenties he began working for legendary mobster Bugsy Siegel. By the early 1940s, “Mickey” was allied with Siegel’s partners Meyer Lansky and Frank Costello; approved by Lucky Luciano; and sponsored by his old Cleveland supporters, the Milano family, along with other prominent nationally ranked mobsters. In addition to traditional mob businesses, “Mickey” took advantage of the movie industry by controlling unions and through blackmail. In 1947, when Siegel was assassinated, “Mickey” became L.A.’s boss. The sensational and still unsolved execution of Siegel took place directly under the noses of the LAPD’s new and secret Gangster Squad—while Mick was under constant surveillance. Gang war raged when Cohen disrespected the local don. Mickey held press conferences and survived 11 assassination attempts. He warred with the cops, too. Indicted and tried for everything from murder to public cussing, he proved to be untouchable and bulletproof. His self-indulgent Hollywood life continued non-stop until the IRS finally incarcerated him—twice, for tax evasion. He was freed in 1972. Mickey Cohen died in his sleep from complications of stomach cancer in Los Angeles. He was 62.

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  • September, 04, 1913
  • USA
  • New York


  • July, 29, 1976
  • USA
  • New York

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