Celebrating 70 years of KTTV: LA's mob boss Mickey Cohen

As we continue our KTTV, FOX 11 commemoration of the most memorable stories we've covered over the past 70 years.

Mickey Cohen was always in the news. In fact, he once famously said, "I could spit on the sidewalk and it would be in the headlines."

Cohen, who stood only 5'5", was born in Brooklyn, raised in Boyle Heights, and on the wrong side of the law from the time he was 10.

There was the time he robbed a theater and - even before that there were the illegal alcohol and gambling bets.

After Bugsy Siegel was killed--he became LA's MOB BOSS though he liked saying, "I've always been decent - right - and I've followed the concept of life as a man should."

That was in 1947... just two years before KTTV and our many news broadcasts went on the air. Mickey was in scores of them.

From 1949 until the day he died Mickey Cohen he was on our newscasts often and once told our Larry Attebery, "I don't really watch TV too much except news programs like I catch you and your lady that you work with."

But, way before that, our cameras caught Cohen walking up and down courthouse hallways... many times. He was always in some kind of trouble, but the law couldn't make anything stick so, the government went after his finances just like they did with Cohen's idol Al Capone.

He was convicted TWICE in 1951 & again in 1961 - BOTH for tax evasion.

When he wasn't behind bars he loved the cameras. Newspaper photographers popping flashbulbs as he walked by. Television reporters popping questions.

Pete Noyes, who retired from FOX 11 in 2008 says he remembers Cohen well.

"The media created Mickey Cohen. They loved him because everything he did was newsworthy." Noyes says, "he was a cocky little guy" who always handed money out to reporters... about $4 or $5 bucks. Says Noyes, "... he gave the impression when he handed out money that he owned news people; that they owed him good publicity."

There were always Mickey Cohen stories. We have over 25 years of them in our KTTV archives. Noyes and others have suggested that Cohen created his own mythology... epic stories.

There were MANY attempts on Cohen's life.

One of the most famous was at a Sherman Oaks restaurant called Rondelli's. It's not there anymore, but one person was killed and it wasn't Cohen.

Another attempt, at his popular clothing store on the Sunset Strip. Even at his own home in Brentwood.

In the end it wasn't bullets that killed him. He was seriously hurt in prison... pummeled with a pipe that left him a pretty rough shape. But, stomach cancer is what finally took down Mickey Cohen at the age of 62.