Kasell was running Chicago’s Fair Teens Club for a local department store when she discovered Novak, and helped groom her for a modeling career and a 0 scholarship to the Patricia Stevens Professional Academy.
This led to her going to California to demonstrate refrigerators as “Miss Deepfreeze.”The studio contoured her figure by encouraging her to purge 15 pounds.
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.
Cohn decided he was going to take the next girl who walked into his office and manufacture a new star for Columbia Pictures, one who would do exactly what he wanted, who wouldn’t walk away until he and the public were finished with her.“We always had a blonde,” George Sidney remembers.
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.
Unfortunately for Soulé, Columbia owned the building, and Cohn retaliated by raising Le Pavilion’s rent.
The studio had wanted a gimmick to distinguish its blonde from the many other new platinum blondes on the block: Jayne Mansfield, Mamie Van Doren, Diana Dors, Joi Lansing—all outsize girls signed to compete with Marilyn Monroe and built like the decade’s big Chevys and Buicks.Then they changed her hair, dyeing it three shades of blond at once.Columbia Pictures’ house designer Jean Louis was brought in to remake her wardrobe.He ran Columbia Pictures as if it were a family business, and in a way it was, because he had wrangled control from his brother Jack, who was back on the East Coast in New York.By the mid-1930s, Cohn had nurtured Columbia from a low-rent, B-movie studio on Hollywood’s “Poverty Row,” a block off Sunset, into a major Hollywood film studio.