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Hard-Boiled HollywoodCrime and Punishment in Postwar Los Angeles$
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Jon Lewis

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520284319

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520284319.001.0001

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Mobsters and Movie Stars

Mobsters and Movie Stars

Crime, Punishment, and Hollywood Celebrity

(p.50) Chapter 2 Mobsters and Movie Stars
Hard-Boiled Hollywood

Jon Lewis

University of California Press

In postwar Hollywood, mobsters, moguls, and movie stars commingled frequently and often carelessly. Professional encounters were commonplace given the mob’s involvement in the organization of the movie industry’s labor force. Film workers and gangsters routinely crossed paths at nightclubs, bars, clandestine gambling establishments, and private parties where interactions were complicated by alcohol and illicit drugs, human trafficking (prostitution) and the occasional “badger” or blackmail plot. The moral here is fairly simple, at least in retrospect. The movie stars -- and circling about them the many movie aspirants, wannabes, and sycophants -- were always playing at things, trying on roles, aliases, lovers, identities, fads. But the gangsters in the strictest sense of the expression “meant business.” And that was something folks who trucked in the world of make believe failed to appreciate and understand.

Keywords:   (Hollywood/Los Angeles) Mobsters, (Hollywood/Los Angeles) Gangsters, Mickey Cohen, Bugsy Siegel, Brenda Allen, (Movie industry) Unions, Jean Spangler, Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Jerry Giesler, Lana Turner, Johnny Stompanato, Billy Graham, Film noir

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