The man known as “the greatest entertainer in the world” was onstage, the smoke from his cigarette trellising the air.

You had to see him: the gorgeous shirt, the cuff links, the way everything billowed.

He was still smarting from having let Marilyn Monroe slip away: unimpressed by her beauty, he had neglected in 1948 to renew her initial six-month contract.

He kept a framed photograph of his hero, Benito Mussolini, on his massive desk and had his office decorated to look like Il Duce’s.

The reporter James Bacon, fresh out of Chicago, was assigned to cover Hollywood for the Associated Press back in 1948. He used to fire people all the time—usually on Christmas Eve.”Henri Soulé, the owner of Le Pavillon and La Côte Basque in New York, detested Cohn and considered him a déclassé Hollywood hood.

“We started with Mae West, Jean Harlow, Marilyn, then Kim. It’s a terrible comparison, but it’s like betting on the Kentucky Derby.

That fourth horse, I think can do it.”The next girl to walk through Cohn’s door was Marilyn Novak, a shy, plump, large-boned 20-year-old from Chicago with no acting experience but a breathtaking face. Since there was already a Marilyn, the first thing that had to go was her name.

Judson; she then married director Orson Welles, Aly Khan, heir apparent to the Ismaili Muslim throne, and singer Dick Haymes.

Every time she got married, her box-office standing eroded.Unfortunately for Soulé, Columbia owned the building, and Cohn retaliated by raising Le Pavilion’s rent.The director George Sidney, who made all with Novak at Columbia Pictures, became one of Cohn’s most trusted intimates.She balked at being renamed “Kit Marlowe,” and, incredibly, she won that battle.They compromised on “Kim” Novak—the name of the son of her Chicago friend and business manager, Norma Herbert, then Norma Kasell.Then they changed her hair, dyeing it three shades of blond at once.