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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.
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.
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 brandished a riding crop and slashed it across his desk to terrify employees.
“People used to say, ‘I’m going to beat Harry,’” Sidney recalls.
“But no one could beat Harry—he was too smart, he was too sharp. Mayer, Harry Cohn, Jack Warner—these men with their blood and their money and their reputations, they smelled out who had star material.”Cohn took all the credit for creating Rita Hayworth—he was also obsessed with her.
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.
threatened to become a national scandal on the eve of America’s long struggle for civil rights.