Who’s Mickey Cohen?

Joan Wixen Finds Out

Memo to the Editor:

I had the damdest time getting him to pose with a rose. He said, “You think I’m goign to take a picture holding a rose? What’s the matter with you?” So I said, “Listen you, just because you’re Mickey Cohen you think you’re going to give me a rough time? I don’t want any lip from you. Be quiet.” I told his bodyguard. “Don’t listen to him, get the rose.” He said, “I can’t, he’s my boss.” In my toughest voice I said, “Don’t give me any trouble,” and led him into the apartment while mickey stood laughing. When we came out he said, “Jees, if this isn’t ridiculous. you got some nerve.” but he posed smelling a rose! As I left he said, “Just wait, this apartment’s bugged and I bet the FBI will come around to see you.” He also said for me to tell you you better return his photos I’m sending you. You better!

Joan Wixen

An excerpt from an interview that was published in the Sunday Magazine, January 12, 1975

The Ex-Ganster Who helped the Hearsts Answers Tough Questions with Straight Talk About the ‘Good Old’ Racket Days, Why Crime’s Not What It Used to Be, and Why the Deal for Patty Fell Through.

By Joan Wixen, Sunday Magazine Contributing Correspondent

When Mickey Cohen’s name came up in the hunt for Patty Hearst, a whole generation asked “who the hell is Mickey Cohen?” Former Los Angeles gangster, the newspapers said, as if that said everything.

Well, I’m not so young I couldn't remember he was notorious for 20 or 30 years, or that he spent 10 or 12 years in prison - like Al Capone, convicted of an income tax evasion rap.

So I called him on the phone. Sure, he’d talk to me, he said, “come on over to my apartment.” I put the phone down and shook a little. “Hey, Joan,” I said to myself. “Are you nuts, going to this, this gangster’s place?”

I found him sitting in his elegant Brentwood apartment where he has been living the last 21/2 years - since his release from prison, where he had been beat up so badly by a fellow inmate it left him partially paralyzed.

“This is the former czar of the West Coast underworld?” I asked myself as I was ushered in, this soft, pink-cheeked man with a dimple in hsi cheek who creeps an inch at a time with the help of a four-pronged cane.

He was dressed in pajamas and a bathrobe, and fastidious. He was wearing cologne and he had just shaved.

It was noon, and he was eating breakfast, It was Saturday, the day his...

To read the entire interview, please contact the Detroit Free Press.

Photos