Carl Cohen, a veteran gambling executive who gained celebrity status for punching Frank Sinatra in 1967, has died at age 73.
Cohen, a former vice president at the Sands Hotel and the MGM Grand Hotel, died last week and was buried Sunday at a Las Vegas cemetery. The date of his death was not announced and cause was listed as a “lengthy illness.”
Cohen was the Sands manager in 1967 when he angered Sinatra by cutting off the singer’s casino credit. The incident followed what was described as a weekend-long tirade by Sinatra against the hotel’s management, employees and security forces.
During those two September days, Sinatra, then 50, was gambling heavily and when Cohen moved to cut off his credit line, the actor-singer tipped a table over on him. Cohen then punched the singer in the face. The blow bloodied Sinatra’s nose and reportedly knocked out two teeth, but some said they were only caps which performers sometimes wear on their teeth.
The incident marked the end of Sinatra’s affiliation with the Sands and a long involvement with Caesar’s Palace.
Cohen was a native of Cleveland who began his career in Las Vegas in the early 1940s, and in 1943 became a part owner of the El Rancho Vegas, the first resort on the Las Vegas Strip.