May 6, 2010 Leave a comment
Novak in 2004
February 13, 1933 (1933-02-13) (age 77)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Dr. Robert Malloy (1976–present)
Kim Novak (born February 13, 1933) is an American actress. She is best known for her performance in the classic 1958 film Vertigo. Novak retired from acting in 1991 and has since become an accomplished artist of oil paintings. She currently lives with her veterinarian husband on a ranch in Eagle Point, Oregon, where they raise livestock.
Kim Novak was born Marilyn Pauline Novak in Chicago, Illinois, to Joseph Novak and Blanche Marie Novak (nee Král). Her parents were second-generation Czech immigrants. Her father was a railroad clerk and former teacher and her mother was also a former teacher.While attending Farragut High Academy, she won a scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago. After leaving school, she began a career modeling teen fashions for a local department store. She later received a scholarship at a modeling academy and continued to model part-time. She worked as an elevator operator, a sales clerk and a dental assistant.After a job touring the country as a spokesman for a refrigerator manufacturer, “Miss Deepfreeze,” Novak moved to Los Angeles, where she continued to find work as a model.
The 20-year-old actress began with an uncredited role in The French Line (1954). Eventually, she was seen by a Columbia Pictures talent agent and filmed a screen test. Novak was signed to a six-month contract, and the studio changed her first name to Kim. Novak debuted as Lona McLane that same year in Pushover opposite Fred MacMurray and Philip Carey, and played the femme fatale role as Janis in Phffft! opposite Judy Holliday, Jack Lemmon, and Jack Carson. Novak’s reviews were good . People were eager to see the new star, and she received an enormous amount of fan mail .
Kim Novak singing “My Funny Valentine‘ in Pal Joey)After playing Madge Owens in Picnic (1955) opposite William Holden, Novak won a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer and for World Film Favorite. She was also nominated for the British BAFTA Film Award for Best Foreign Actress. That same year she played Molly in The Man with the Golden Arm with Frank Sinatra. In 1957 she worked with Sinatra again for Pal Joey, which also starred Rita Hayworth, and starred in Jeanne Eagels with Jeff Chandler. She was on the cover of the July 29, 1957, issue of Time Magazine. That same year, she went on strike, protesting her salary of $1,250 per week.In 1958, Novak starred in the Alfred Hitchcock-directed classic thriller Vertigo, playing the role of a brunette shopgirl, Judy Barton, who masquerades as a blonde woman named Madeleine Elster as part of a murder scheme.Today, the film is considered a masterpiece of romantic suspense, though Novak’s performance has a mixed reputation. Critic David Shipman thought it “little more than competent”, while David Thomson sees it as “one of the major female performances in the cinema”. Hitchcock, rarely one to praise actors, dismissed Novak in a later interview. “You think you’re getting a lot,” he said of her ability, “but you’re not.”
Kim Novak in VertigoThat same year she starred in Bell, Book and Candle, a comedy tale of modern-day witchcraft that did not do well at the box office. In 1960, she co-starred with Kirk Douglas in the critically acclaimed Strangers When We Meet also featuring Walter Matthau and Ernie Kovacs. In 1962, Novak produced her own movie, financing her own production company in association with Filmways Productions. Boys’ Night Out, in which she starred with James Garner and Tony Randall. It was not received well either by critics or the public. She was paired with Lemmon for a third and final time that year in a mystery-comedy, The Notorious Landlady.In 1964 she played the vulgar waitress Mildred Rogers in a remake of W. Somerset Maugham‘s drama Of Human Bondage opposite Laurence Harvey, and starred in Billy Wilder‘s Kiss Me, Stupid with Ray Walston and Dean Martin. After playing the title role in The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders (1965) with Richard Johnson, Novak took a break from Hollywood acting. She continued to act, although infrequently, taking fewer roles as she began to prefer personal activities over actingHer comeback came in a dual role as a young actress, Elsa Brinkmann, and an early-day movie goddess who was murdered, Lylah Clare, in producer-director Robert Aldrich‘s The Legend of Lylah Clare (1968) with Peter Finch and Ernest Borgnine for MGM. The movie did not do well . After playing a forger, Sister Lyda Kebanov, in The Great Bank Robbery (1969) opposite Zero Mostel, Clint Walker, and Claude Akins, she stayed away from the screen for another four years. She then played the role of Auriol Pageant in the horror anthology film Tales That Witness Madness (1973) opposite Joan Collins. She starred as veteran showgirl Gloria Joyce in the made-for-TV movie The Third Girl From the Left (1973), and played Eva in Satan’s Triangle (1975). She was featured in the 1977 western The White Buffalo with Charles Bronson, and in 1979 she played Helga in Just a Gigolo co-starring David Bowie.In 1980, Novak played Lola Brewster in the mystery/thriller The Mirror Crack’d, based on the story by Agatha Christie and co-starring Angela Lansbury, Tony Curtis, Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor. She and Taylor portrayed rival actresses. She made occasional television appearances over the years. She co-starred with James Coburn in the TV-movie Malibu (1
3) and played Rosa in a revival of Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1985) opposite Melanie Griffith. From 1986 to 1987, the actress was a cast member of the television series Falcon Crest during its fourth season, playing the mysterious character Kit Marlowe (the stage name rejected at the start of her career). She co-starred with Ben Kingsley in the 1990 film The Children.Her most recent appearance on the big screen to date came as a terminally ill writer with a mysterious past in the thriller Liebestraum (1991), opposite Kevin Anderson and Bill Pullman. However, owing to battles with the director over how to play the role, her scenes were cut . Novak later admitted in a 2004 interview that the film was a mistake. She said”I got so burned out on that picture that I wanted to leave the business, but then if you wait long enough you think, ‘Oh, I miss certain things.’ The making of a movie is wonderful. What’s difficult is afterward when you have to go around and try to sell it. The actual filming, when you have a good script—which isn’t often—nothing beats it.”.In an interview with Stephen Rebello in the July 2005 issue of Movieline’s Hollywood Life, Novak admitted that she had been “unprofessional” in her conduct with the film’s director, Mike Figgis .Novak has not ruled out further acting. In an interview in 2007, she said that she would consider returning to the screen “if the right thing came along.”Novak will appear for a question-and-answer session about her career on July 30, 2010, at the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles, where the American Cinematheque is hosting a tribute to her coinciding with the August 3 DVD release of “The Kim Novak Collection.”
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For her contribution to motion pictures, Novak was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6332 Hollywood Boulevard.In 1995, Novak was ranked 92nd by Empire Magazine on a list of the 100 sexiest stars in film history. In 1955, she won the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer-Female. In 1957, she won another Golden Globe–for World Favorite female actress. In 1997, Kim won an Honorary Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival. In 2002 a Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Novak by Eastman Kodak.New York rock band The Velvet Underground had a song about Kim Novak on their album Loaded, called “New Age“.In 2005, British fashion designer Alexander McQueen named his first It bag the Novak.
Novak has been married to veterinarian Dr. Robert Malloy since March 12, 1976. The couple resides on a ranch where they raise horses and llamas. Novak has two stepchildren.Novak was previously married to English actor Richard Johnson from March 15, 1965, to April 23, 1966. The two have remained friends . Novak also dated Sammy Davis, Jr., in the late 1950s and actor Michael Brandon in the 1970s. She was engaged to director Richard Quine in the early 1960s.On July 24, 2000, her home in Eagle Point, Oregon, was partially destroyed by fire. Novak lost scripts, several paintings, and a computer containing the only draft of her unfinished autobiography. Of the loss Novak said:”I take it personally as a sign that maybe I’m not supposed to write my biography; maybe the past is supposed to stay buried. It made me realize then what was really valuable. That’s the day I wrote a gratitude list. We’re safe and our animals are safe.”In December 2001, her home in Oregon was robbed of more than $200,000 worth of firearms and tools. Three men were arrested and charged with burglary, theft, and criminal conspiracy.In 2006, Novak was injured in a horseback riding accident. She suffered a punctured lung, broken ribs, and nerve damage but made a full recovery within a year.Novak is an artist who paints in watercolor and oil as well as creating sculpture, stained glass design, poetry, and photography.
- Barnett, Vincent L. (2007). “Dualling for Judy: The concept of the double in the films of Kim Novak”. Film History (Indiana University Press) 19 (1): 86–101.
- Kim Novak at the Internet Movie Database
- Kim Novak at the TCM Movie Database
- Photographs and literature