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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.
She was Columbia’s resident sex goddess in the 1940s, but she had a bad habit of getting married.
He brandished a riding crop and slashed it across his desk to terrify employees.
Her marriage to Khan, a notorious playboy and womanizer, kept her out of pictures for more than two years, infuriating Cohn and further alienating her fans. Cohn wanted her in one of his pet projects, a biblical epic called until her then husband, Haymes, came into Cohn’s office with a marcelled beard and demanded to be cast as Joseph.“I’ll have that son of a bitch back in Argentina,” Cohn exploded.
(Haymes, an Argentinean native, was always facing deportation.)Instead, Cohn decided to get back at Hayworth.
“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.