Born in New York, Cohen spent his formative years in Israel and returned to the U.S. during his teenage years, attending college at the University of Miami. He moved to LA after graduation and jumped into the music business, promoting acts like Run-DMC and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Thanks to Run-DMC's Rev Run, Cohen was soon introduced to Run's brother, Russell Simmons, and in the mid-'80s Cohen joined Simmons' music management company, Rush Communications. At Rush, Cohen signed acts like Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince and EPMD; he later joined Def Jam, the label Simmons founded with Rick Rubin, and moved up to the role of president in 1988 (which prompted Rubin to leave the company). For more than a decade, Cohen worked by Simmons' side at Def Jam, turning the label into a hip hop powerhouse thanks to talents like Public Enemy, LL Cool J, Foxy Brown, Jay-Z, Method Man, The Roots, and more. In 1999, Simmons and Cohen cashed out, selling Def Jam to Universal for an undisclosed—but very hefty—price tag. Simmons left Def Jam following the sale but Cohen stayed on, serving as CEO. He remained at the company until 2004, when he moved over to Warner Music.
"The blackest white guy in the world," in the words of music impresario Irv Gotti, Cohen is an intimidating presence at 6'5". Lyor had two kids with wife Amy before divorcing in 2006. (He ended up selling more than $17 million in Warner Music stock the same year, listing the impending divorce settlement as the reason.) Lately, he's been romantically linked to fashion designer Tory Burch. [Image via Getty]