Mickey Cohen’s Life of Crime is Subject of New Book

| June 18, 2012 | 0 Comments

RELAXING IN her backyard is author Tere Tereba.

The gangster Mickey Cohen may be dead and buried since 1976, but author Tere Tereba has unearthed him.

Called one of Los Angeles’ most feared underworld characters, he is the subject of Tereba’s 324-page book, “Mickey Cohen: the Life and Crimes of L.A.’s Notorious Mobster.”

The book, that debuted in May, is the result of 10 years of research “through newspapers, magazines, USC and UCLA libraries, to name a few.”

The characters in James Ellroy’s novel, “L.A. Confidential” sparked her interest in the city’s dark side.

An Ohio native, her family moved to Southern California when she was 12. She has owned her Hancock Park home since 1984. She was a fashion designer while in her teens, and her work was discovered by Pamela Courson, Jim Morrison’s girlfriend. Her designs have been featured in upscale department stores, and her latest creations are in the Bebe collection.

A one-time actress-appearing in Andy Warhol’s move “Bad”-she has written numerous articles for Interview magazine.

The book traces Cohen’s career from his newsboy days at age 10, to his attempt to be a professional prizefighter. But crime became his vocation of choice, and Los Angeles was the perfect setting for his underworld activity.

Cohen partnered with Bugsy Siegel acting as the extension of the East Coast syndicate. There they controlled narcotics, gambling and union operations.

After Siegel’s murder in 1947, Cohen became the top West Coast mobster. During the wars between Cohen and his enemy Jack Dragna, he survived numerous attempts on his life and even a bombing of his Brentwood house.

He ran gambling rooms, bookmaking, business shakedowns, committed robberies and was a hit man, when needed.

His connections in the 1930s and 40s with celebrities, Los Angeles police, the mayor’s office and state officials kept him out of jail until the Internal Revenue Service sent him to prison, twice.

Tereba’s fast-paced story provides a fascinating history of the city’s most notorious gangster and how he operated.

In the author’s notes on the text, she says “This is an L.A. story and takes place in the buildings and streets as much a part of my life as they were of Mickey Cohen’s.” In fact, Tereba said many of the locations in the book were familiar to her. “I have been in the Linden Drive house and stood in the spot where Bugsy Siegel was assassinated… I’ve been to hotels, restaurants and clubs that play roles in this story. My first apartment was behind what had been Cohen’s La Brea Social Club… and I lived off the Sunset Strip, the ground zero of Cohen’s empire for seven years.”

Publisher by E.C.W. Press, the book is priced at $29.95.

The author will be signing her book at Chevalier’s, 126 N. Larchmont Blvd., on Sat, June 2 between 1 and 3 p.m.

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Category: People

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