Cohn, Harry(1891–1958) movie executive; born in New York City. After a youth filled with odd jobs, including a short-lived vaudeville act with composer Harry Ruby, he became the personal secretary to Carl Laemmle, founder of Universal Pictures. In 1920, Cohn and his brother Jack Cohn (1889–1956) and Joseph Brandt started their own company, which in 1924 became Columbia Pictures. Regarded as ruthless and vulgar, Harry Cohn ruled the studio in a way that inspired fear and hatred, while personally developing stars like Rita Hayworth. Although he came to be known as "White Fang," he made Columbia Pictures one of the most successful studios.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.