Roy Cohn, Donald Trump and “Angels in America”

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Roy Cohn, Donald Trump and “Angels in America”

Post by fountainhall » Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:14 pm

I wonder if any poster has seen or plans to see the National Theatre’s new production of Tony Kushner’s 1993 “Angels in America” which has just opened on Broadway? Running almost 8 hours with 4 intervals, the revival of this near-iconic play has won rave reviews.

Most will know it is set in the early 1980s when AIDS began to ravage the gay community on the coasts of America. Andrew Garfield (ex-Spiderman and other movies) playing the central role of Prior Walter, a Jewish homosexual who on discovering his first lesion calls it “the wine-dark kiss of the angel of death,” typical of Kushner’s excellent dialogue, has gathered mostly excellent reviews. He’s an actor I have never quite warmed to and wonder how his performances might rise above my expectations.

Also in the cast is Nathan Lane, superb apparently in the role of lawyer Roy Cohn. Cohn is especially known today as having been Donald Trump’s early lawyer and mentor. Yet he had a notorious past. In an excellent Vanity Fair article, the author sums him up thus -
Cohn was best known as a ruthless prosecutor. During the Red Scare of the 1950s, he and Wisconsin senator Joe McCarthy, the fabulist and virulent nationalist crusader, had hauled dozens of alleged “Communist sympathizers” before a Senate panel. Earlier, the House Un-American Activities Committee had skewered artists and entertainers on similar charges, resulting in a trail of fear, prison sentences, and ruined careers for hundreds, many of whom had found common cause in fighting Fascism. But in the decades since, Cohn had become the premier practitioner of hardball deal-making in New York, having mastered the arcane rules of the city’s Favor Bank (the local cabal of interconnected influence peddlers) and its magical ability to provide inside fixes for its machers and rogues.

“You knew when you were in Cohn’s presence you were in the presence of pure evil,” said lawyer Victor A. Kovner, who had known him for years. Cohn’s power derived largely from his ability to scare potential adversaries with hollow threats and spurious lawsuits. And the fee he demanded for his services? Ironclad loyalty.
Towards the end of his career Cohn had been indicted on various charges including extortion, blackmail, conspiracy, securities fraud and obstruction of justice. As a closet homosexual, Cohn was also struck down with AIDS. As that Vanity Fair articles continued, “Donald found out and just dropped him like a hot potato.”
Before then Cohn asked a favour of Trump. Could he give his lover, also dying of AIDS, a hotel room. Trump got him a room at the old Barbizon Plaza Hotel on Central Park South (now a block of Trump apartments).

Months passed. Then Cohn got the bill. Then another. He refused to pay. At some point, according to The New York Times’s Jonathan Mahler and Matt Flegenheimer, Trump would present Cohn with a thank-you gift for a decade of favors: a pair of diamond cuff links. The diamonds turned out to be fakes.
Now we know the Donald is himself a fake. But at least he does not have AIDS – as far as we know. ... lationship

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