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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Mystery photo

Photograph by Frank Q. Brown / Los Angeles Times

OK, this photo is from the funeral of Columbia executive Harry Cohn, which was held on a massive sound stage that had been turned into a chapel. Who are these pallbearers, who were at one time some of the most powerful men in Hollywood? Note to people with ProQuest (you know who you are): I've got my eye on you.

  • Director George Sidney? (Alexa Foreman). Yes. George Sidney is one of 16 pallbearers listed in The Times' story. The men aren't identified on the back of the original photo, so all I have to go by is what we reported.
  • Irving Ludwig? (Sorry, he's not listed in The Times' story).
  • Walter Wanger? (He's not listed in The Times' story).
  • Jack Warner? (Sorry, no).
  • Frank Capra? (Sorry, no).
  • Jerry Wald? (Sorry, no).
  • John Ford in the upper left corner. (Richard Heft) Exactly right! Terrific work.
  • Mendel Silberberg. (Richard Heft) Terrific work.

Hint: There is another famous director among the pallbearers.

Update 2: Arthur Friedman, an office boy at Columbia's New York offices in 1957, says: Top left-in order--Abe Schneider-Paul Lazarus-John Ford----Bottom rt 1/2 blocked Leo Jaffe---believe 3rd up with glasses is Abe Montague. He also recommends reading "King Cohn."

Update: The always engaging and ever-enchanting Nathan Marsak did exactly what I would have done, which is go to ProQuest and dig up the list. Let the hills resound with his glory as a diligent researcher. Here they are:

Irving_briskin_thumb Irving_briskin_funeral

Irving Briskin--left, Los Angeles Times file photo, right, at Harry Cohn's funeral. See below*

Jack_entratter  2008_0302_jack_entratter_2

Jack Entratter, left in 1954, and a mystery pallbearer. (Richard Heft).


John Ford (Richard Heft, Alexa Foreman)
Jack Fier
Alfred Hart
Dr. Stanley Imerman
Leo Jaffe
B.B. Kahane
Max Kettner
Paul N. Lazarus Jr.

Abe Montague

Abe Schneider


George Sidney (Alexa Foreman)
Mendel B. Silberberg
Morris Stoloff
Jonie Taps

But as you have undoubtedly noticed, these are in alphabetical order. So the challenge becomes: Put the names with the faces.

Photograph by George M. Lacks / Los Angeles Times

* OK, who are the folks with mystery pallbearer Irving Briskin? Note: This isn't a movie still, in case you are using IMDB to crack the enigma. This photo is from an event.

  • Bogie and his wife, Mayo (Joe) Yes/No.
  • Bogart and a Columbia starlet, of course (Alexa Foreman). Yes/Yes. Well, what's her name?
  • Florence Marly? Sorry, no.
  • Susan Perry? Sorry, no.
  • Janet Blair (Richard Heft). Absolutely right. Congratulations!

By the way, notice Bogart's understated, classy look. Yes, it's a double-breasted suit, but he's got a classic pinstripe, subdued tie (check out that cravat on Briskin) and handkerchief.

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Comments (19)

Jack Warner

--Sorry, none of the men are Jack Warner.


Frank Capra

--Sorry, no.


Frank Capra - without mustache

Stanley Kramer in the forefront?

--Sorry, he's not in The Times' list of pallbearers....


I like a challenge like this but it's wa-a-ay beyond me to come up with one answer much less than 16.

I'll guess one of them is Frank Costello.

--Sorry, no...


C.B. DeMille?

--Sorry, no....


Reminds me of the possibly apocryphal story-attributed to Red Skelton-about a comment he made regarding Cohn's funeral. After being informed that over a thousand people attended the services, Skelton is supposed to have commented, "It just goes to show you, when you give the people what they want..." This is a paraphrase of Skelton's supposed remark.

Okay... I'm feeling a little cocky with this one:

Longtime Cohn friend, John Roselli.

--Sorry, no.

--This is a really tough one....

Okay, this one feels pretty strong:

The director George Sidney

--You're right! Someone already spotted him....



Is that Alfred Hitchcock, on the left side of the coffin (right side of the photo), in front of the guy with the glasses?

--Sorry, no.

--I'll post some clues tomorrow.

--Thanks for reading and keep checking back!


Rod Steiger-second pallbearer on left

--Sorry, no.


You can see John Ford's head (and eyepatch strap) in the upper left corner.

Educated Guesses:
Abe Lastfogel
Harry Romm
Ralph Cohn
Mendel Silberberg

--Excellent! John Ford is on the list... And so is Mendel Silberberg.

--Nice work!


It would seem unlikely that George Cukor would be a friend of semi-mobster Cohn - but is that him behind the guy that looks like Hitchcock on the right? Is that Meyer Lansky in the front?

--Sorry no.


My understanding was that this man was so disliked no one wanted to be a pallbearer, or even attend his funeral, except maybe to make sure he was really dead.

A.C. Lyles?

--Nice guess... but check the list of names.... :)

--Thanks for reading!


Elia Kazan
Frank Capra
Fred Zinneman
Edward Dmytryk
Robert Rosen
Darrel Zanuk
George Stephens

--Thanks for reading. I don't believe any of those names are on the list of pallbearers, however.

--This one is tough!


Raoul Walsh?

--Hi... thanks for reading.... I've posted the names. The trick is to put them with the faces....



That's Bogie on the left, and his wife Mayo




For a second, I thought the guy up front/center was Vladimir


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