Who Is Mickey Cohen? How Did He Die? Did He Attack Albert S Ruddy?

Paramount+’s ‘The Offer’ provides the viewers with a dramatic retelling of what went into making ‘The Godfather.’ Based on producer Albert S. Ruddy‘s recollections, the first episode, titled ‘A Seat at the Table,’ kicks into gear straight away, with the mafia not being happy with Mario Puzo’s book being made into a movie. The episode ends with Al’s car being shot up by someone while he is inside it with his assistant, Bettye. The shooter is later revealed to be the notorious gangster Mickey Cohen. So, if you’re wondering who Mickey is and whether the attack really happened, here’s what we know.

Who Was Mickey Cohen?

Meyer Harris Cohen was born in September 1913 to Kiev-born parents in Brooklyn, New York. His father died a few months later, and soon after that, the family moved to Los Angeles, California. Mickey was one of six siblings, and the oldest son, Harry, was into alleged illegal activities. That seemingly meant Mickey was also introduced to the world of crime at a young age. By the time he was seven years old, Mickey had begun moonshining gin behind a local drugstore.

A couple of years later, Mickey was arrested after trying to hold up a box office with a baseball bat. Not too long after that, he began to take part in robberies and use firearms. By the time Mickey was 10, he had been sent to reform school twice and developed violent tendencies. Apart from that, Mickey used to sell newspapers as a child but began extorting money from other boys later on.

Then, Mickey moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1929 and began training to become a professional boxer. But that also marked his introduction to organized crime as well. After boxing in the pro circuit for about three years until 1933, he began committing more crimes. Mickey worked in Chicago, Illinois, for a while under Al Capone and then moved back to Los Angeles in 1939. At this point, he worked as an enforcer for Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel.

Over time, Mickey took more responsibility in the organization, and it was alleged that he was involved in the plot to kill Bugsy in 1947. He then developed the gambling empire left behind by Bugsy and began paying off police, lawyers, and judges. However, he was twice sent to federal prison for tax evasion, and he was sentenced to 15 years on the second conviction. In 1963, Mickey was severely beaten by a fellow inmate, resulting in paralysis and a fractured skull.

How Did Mickey Cohen Die? Did He Attack Albert S Ruddy?

The beating left Mickey severely damaged, and he later sued the government. While he won over $100,000, the IRS took the money, citing back taxes. Mickey later said of the attacker, “It was some lunatic, never knew him, never saw him. Can you imagine them putting some lunatic in there with normal people?”

Image Credit: Los Angeles Magazine

He was released from prison in 1972 and wrote a memoir titled ‘In My Own Words.’ Despite many assassination attempts on Mickey’s life in the past, he died at the University of Los Angeles, California, medical center on July 29, 1976. The 62-year-old had been diagnosed with stomach cancer a few months prior, and his death resulted from complications from surgery for the cancer.

As for the attack depicted in ‘The Offer,’ we learn through the show that Mickey shooting up Al’s car was a warning from the mob back east. While there is evidence that the mob wasn’t happy with the movie being made initially — and Al’s car was indeed shot at — nothing points to Mickey attacking Al’s car as a warning. It seems that the showrunners took some creative liberty to introduce another real-life character from that time and to reinforce the mob’s dissatisfaction with the movie being made.

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