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That night would be the first and virtually the last time that Kim Novak and Sammy Davis Jr. At the heart of their star-crossed affair was one of Hollywood’s sacred monsters: the notorious Harry Cohn.
It was said that Harry Cohn put more people in the cemetery than all the other moguls combined.
“I went from covering Al Capone to covering Harry Cohn,” Bacon recalls. At the time, Le Pavillon was one of the most famous restaurants in the world: Through its doors, at 5 East 55th Street, came the Vanderbilts, the Rockefellers, the Cabots, and the Windsors.
When Cohn came in, however, the imperious Soulé seated him at the back, near the kitchen.
threatened to become a national scandal on the eve of America’s long struggle for civil rights.
It started in 1957 at Chicago’s most famous nightclub, Chez Paree.
“We started with Mae West, Jean Harlow, Marilyn, then Kim. It’s a terrible comparison, but it’s like betting on the Kentucky Derby.
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.He was in the dark and suddenly the spotlight picked him up—he was electric, he was hot, it was almost a sexual thing.He was singing to Kim Novak, sitting at a stageside table; she had just finished work on Alfred Hitchcock’s the most challenging film of her career. But, in 1957, she fell in love with Sammy Davis Jr., who, with his immense popularity, was breaking the race barrier of a firmly segregated entertainment industry.Sam Kashner chronicles the backlash against their affair, the alleged Mob hit ordered by Cohn which forced Davis to marry black singer Loray White, and the heartbreaking coda to the romance that Hollywood forbade.