Kim Novak

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Kim Novak
Publicity portrait of Kim Novak circa 1960s
Novak in the 1960s
BornMarilyn Pauline Novak
(1933-02-13) February 13, 1933 (age 80)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
ResidenceEagle Point, Oregon, U.S.
EducationDavid Glasgow Farragut High School
Alma materSchool of the Art Institute of Chicago
Years active1954–1991
Spouse(s)Richard Johnson (m. 1965–66)
Dr. Robert Malloy (m. 1976)
Jump to: navigation, search
Kim Novak
Publicity portrait of Kim Novak circa 1960s
Novak in the 1960s
BornMarilyn Pauline Novak
(1933-02-13) February 13, 1933 (age 80)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
ResidenceEagle Point, Oregon, U.S.
EducationDavid Glasgow Farragut High School
Alma materSchool of the Art Institute of Chicago
Years active1954–1991
Spouse(s)Richard Johnson (m. 1965–66)
Dr. Robert Malloy (m. 1976)

Kim Novak (born February 13, 1933) is an American actress. She began her career in 1954 at age 21, and came to prominence almost immediately with a leading role in the film Picnic (1955). Other films from this early time in her career include Pal Joey (1957), the Alfred Hitchcock film Vertigo (1958), Middle of the Night (1959), The Notorious Landlady (1962), and Of Human Bondage (1964). After a decade in the entertainment industry, Novak withdrew from the public eye in 1965 and appeared in films only sporadically until 1991,[1] when she prematurely retired from the industry following a tempestuous experience with director Mike Figgis on the set of Liebestraum, her last film to date.[2]

Novak has been married to equine veterinarian Robert Malloy since 1976. The couple resides on a ranch in Eagle Point, Oregon where they raise horses and llamas. Novak is also an accomplished artist, and has exhibited several of her oil paintings in art galleries since retiring from acting.[3]

Early life[edit]

Novak was born Marilyn Pauline Novak, in Chicago, Illinois, to Joseph and Blanche (née Kral) Novak.[4] Both her parents were of Czech descent.[5][6][7] Her father worked as a dispatcher on the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad[7] and both her parents had been teachers.[5][8]

While attending David Glasgow Farragut High School,[9] she won a scholarship to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.[10] However, Novak ended up going to Wright Junior College instead.[8] During the summer break following her sophomore year, Novak went on a cross-country trip modeling for a refrigerator company at trade shows.[11] While stopping by Los Angeles, Novak and two other models stood in line to be extras in The French Line (1954), a film starring Jane Russell. It was there that she was discovered by an agent, who signed her to a long-term contract with Columbia Pictures.[12]



Novak made her film debut in the film noir Pushover (1954), starring Fred MacMurray and Philip Carey. Though the movie was only moderately successful, Novak received good reviews for her performance. She then played the role of Janis in the romantic comedy Phffft!, opposite Judy Holliday, Jack Lemmon, and Jack Carson. Soon afterward, she had her first starring role in 5 Against the House (1955), a crime drama. She was also featured in the two-hour TV special Light's Diamond Jubilee, broadcast October 24, 1954 on all four TV networks of the time.

Novak singing "My Funny Valentine" in Pal Joey (1957)

In 1955, Novak had a supporting role the highly successful The Man with the Golden Arm, with Frank Sinatra and Eleanor Parker. Her next role was as the lead character Madge Owens in Picnic, opposite William Holden. The film proved to be a breakthrough for the young actress; she won the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer and was nominated for the BAFTA Film Award for Best Foreign Actress. The film was also very successful at the box office.

In 1956, she played opposite Tyrone Power in The Eddy Duchin Story. In 1957, she worked with Sinatra again in the box office hit Pal Joey, which also starred Rita Hayworth. That same year, she portrayed 1920s film star Jeanne Eagels in the eponymous biopic, with Jeff Chandler.

In 1958, Novak appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's thriller Vertigo, playing the role of a brunette shopgirl, Judy Barton, who masquerades as a sophisticated blonde woman as part of an elaborate murder scheme. The film was poorly received at the time of its release, but has since been re-evaluated and is widely considered one of the director's best works. However, the consensus regarding Novak's performance remains mixed. For example, film critic David Shipman wrote that Novak's acting was "little more than competent",[13] while David Thomson thought it was "one of the major female performances in the cinema".[14]

That same year, she again worked with James Stewart in Bell, Book and Candle, a comedy tale of modern-day witchcraft, that proved to be a box office success. The following year, she starred opposite Frederic March in the acclaimed Middle of the Night (1959), which she has described has her favorite film that she has been in. Novak also cites her performance in Middle of the Night as her best. In 1960, she co-starred with Kirk Douglas in Strangers When We Meet, also featuring Walter Matthau and Ernie Kovacs.


Though still young, Novak saw her career to begin to decline in the early 1960s, due largely to the fall of the studio system in which she had been brought up. In 1962, she produced her own movie in association with Filmways Productions. Boys' Night Out, in which she starred with James Garner and Tony Randall, proved to be a critical and financial failure. She was paired with Jack Lemmon for a third and final time that year in a mystery-comedy, The Notorious Landlady.

In 1964, she played a vulgar waitress in a remake of W. Somerset Maugham's drama Of Human Bondage, opposite Laurence Harvey, and a sultry barmaid in Billy Wilder's Kiss Me, Stupid, with Dean Martin and Ray Walston.

After playing the title role in 1965's The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders, Novak took a break from Hollywood acting. "I left. I just walked away," she recalled in 2012.[2] She continued to act, although infrequently, with the intervals in between her periodic returns growing increasingly long. Novak began to prefer personal activities over acting.[15][16]

Her first attempt at a 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. The film was a critical and commercial failure. After playing a forger, Sister Lyda Kebanov, in The Great Bank Robbery (1969) opposite Zero Mostel, Clint Walker, and Claude Akins, Novak stayed away from acting for another four years.


In 1973, she returned to the screen with a top role in the horror anthology film Tales That Witness Madness (1973). She also starred as Las Vegas chorus girl Gloria Joyce in the made-for-TV movie, The Third Girl From the Left (1973), with her real-life boyfriend at the time, Michael Brandon. Her next role was as Eva in Satan's Triangle (1975).

Novak had a small role in The White Buffalo (1977), a western starring Charles Bronson. She ended the decade by playing Helga in Just a Gigolo (1979), opposite David Bowie.


In 1980, Novak played Lola Brewster in the British mystery-thriller The Mirror Crack'd, based on the story by Agatha Christie. She co-starred alongside Angela Lansbury, Tony Curtis, Rock Hudson, and Elizabeth Taylor.

Novak did not appear in any feature films during the remainder of the 1980s. Her acting credits during the decade included the ensemble television movie Malibu (1983) and the pilot episode of The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1985). She appeared as the secretive "Kit Marlowe" in 19 episodes of the successful primetime soap opera Falcon Crest (1986 to 1987). (Kit Marlowe was the stage name that Columbia had wanted Novak to use when she started out in the business.)


In 1990, Novak returned to film with the leading role of Rose Sellers in The Children opposite Ben Kingsley. A British-German coproduction, the film only had a limited release.

In 1991, she played the role of a terminally ill writer with a mysterious past in the thriller Liebestraum opposite Kevin Anderson and Bill Pullman. However, owing to battles with director Mike Figgis over how to play her character, most of her scenes were cut. "I know he thinks I'm a total bitch," Novak later told Hollywood Life magazine in 2005.[17] "That role was fabulous, full of depth. When I interpreted it the way I thought was evident in the incredible script, he said, 'We're not making a Kim Novak movie, just say the lines. If you continue to play the role this way, I'm going to cut you out of the movie,' and he pretty much did that."[17] In the interview, Novak admitted she was "unprofessional" not to obey her director.[17]

Since then, Novak has usually cited the Liebestraum experience as the reason for her decision to retire from the film industry.[18] In 2004, she told the Associated Press:

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.[19]

2000s and beyond[edit]

In 2007, Novak told another reporter she would consider returning to the screen "if the right thing came along."[20]

Novak appeared for a question-and-answer session about her career on July 30, 2010, at the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles, where the American Cinematheque hosted a tribute to her coinciding with the August 3 DVD release of "The Kim Novak Collection."[21]

In a televised interview with TCM host Robert Osborne on March 6, 2013, Novak broke down in tears while discussing Liebestraum. As she nearly sobbed in front of the audience, Novak said "I couldn't do a movie after that. I've never done a movie after that. I just couldn't do a movie after that."[12] The interview was an eye-opener for many fans who had wondered why Novak made so few films. Acknowledging that she never reached her acting potential, Novak revealed to the audience that she is bipolar and "was never cut out for a Hollywood life."[12] However, in another interview with a fashion website three weeks later, Novak said: "Who knows what the future holds? It would take an awful lot to lure me out there, but I would never say never."[22]


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. Two years later, she won another Golden Globe–for World Favorite female actress. In 1997, Novak won an Honorary Golden Bear at the 47th Berlin International Film Festival.[23]

In 2005, British fashion designer Alexander McQueen named his first It Bag The Novak.[24]

Novak was honored in a handprint and footprint ceremony at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in April 2012.[25]

Novak was named guest of honour at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. She introduced there a new restored version of Vertigo.[26] She also took part in the closing ceremony to present the Grand Prix Award to the Coen brothers for Inside Llewyn Davis and received a standing ovation at her entrance.[27]

Personal life[edit]

Novak was briefly married to English actor Richard Johnson from March 15, 1965, to April 23, 1966. The two have remained friends. She previously dated Sammy Davis, Jr. and Ramfis Trujillo in the late 1950s, and was engaged to director Richard Quine in 1964.[8] In the early 1970s, Novak dated actor Michael Brandon.[28][29]

Novak has been married to equine veterinarian Dr. Robert Malloy (born 1940) since March 12, 1976. The couple resides on a ranch, where they raise horses and llamas. Novak has two stepchildren.[30]

On July 24, 2000, her home in Eagle Point, Oregon, was partially destroyed by fire.[31] Novak lost scripts, several paintings, and a computer containing the only draft of her unfinished autobiography.[31] 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.[31]

In December 2001, her home in Oregon was robbed of more than US$200,000 worth of firearms and tools. Three men were arrested and charged with burglary, theft, and criminal conspiracy.[32]

In 2006, Novak was injured in a horse riding accident. She suffered a punctured lung, broken ribs, and nerve damage but made a full recovery within a year.[20]

Novak is a photographer, poet, and artist who paints in watercolor and oil as well as sculpts and designs stained glass.[33]

In October 2010, her manager, Sue Cameron, reported Novak had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Cameron also noted that Novak is "undergoing treatment" and "her doctors say she is in fantastic physical shape and should recover very well." Upon completion of treatment, Novak was declared cancer-free.[34]


1954The French LineModelUncredited
1954PushoverLona McLane
1955Son of SinbadHarem GirlUncredited
19555 Against the HouseKay Greylek
1955PicnicMarjorie "Madge" Owens
1955The Man with the Golden ArmMolly
1956The Eddy Duchin StoryMarjorie Oelrichs
1957Jeanne EagelsJeanne Eagels
1957Pal JoeyLinda English
1958VertigoJudy Barton
1958Bell, Book and CandleGillian "Gil" Holroyd
1959Middle of the NightBetty Preisser
1960Strangers When We MeetMargaret "Maggie" Gault
1962The Notorious LandladyMrs. Carlyle "Carly" Hardwicke
1962Boys' Night OutCathy
1964Of Human BondageMildred Rogers
1964Kiss Me, StupidPolly the Pistol
1965The Amorous Adventures of Moll FlandersMoll Flanders
1968The Legend of Lylah ClareLylah Clare/Elsa Brinkmann/Elsa Campbell
1969The Great Bank RobberySister Lyda Kebanov
1973Tales That Witness MadnessAuriolSegment 4" "Luau"
1973The Third Girl From the LeftGloria JoyceTelevision film
1975Satan's TriangleEvaTelevision film
1977The White BuffaloMrs. Poker Jenny SchermerhornAlternative title: Hunt to Kill
1979Just a GigoloHelga von Kaiserling
1980The Mirror Crack'dLola Brewster
1983MalibuBillie FarnsworthTelevision film
1987Es hat mich sehr gefreutAlternative title: I Have Been Very Pleased
1990The ChildrenRose Sellars
1991LiebestraumLillian Anderson Munnsen
Television series
1985The New Alfred Hitchcock PresentsRosaSegment: "Man From The South"
1986-1987Falcon CrestKit Marlowe29 episodes

Awards and nominations[edit]

YearAwardCategoryTitle of workResult
1957BAFTA AwardsBest Young Actor Guest Starring in a Television SeriesPicnicNominated
1997Berlin International Film FestivalHonorary Golden Berlin Bear
1957Golden Apple AwardMost Cooperative Actress
1955Golden Globe AwardMost Promising Newcomer - Female
1957Golden Globe AwardWorld Film Favorite - Female
1958Laurel AwardsTop Female Star
Third place
1959Laurel AwardsTop Female Star
1960Laurel AwardsTop Female Star
1961Laurel AwardsTop Female Star
1962Laurel AwardsTop Female Star
1963Laurel AwardsTop Female Star
1956Photoplay AwardsMost Popular Female Star

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Reclusive Film Legend Kim Novak Opens Up About Life, Regrets and Her TCM Tribute
  2. ^ a b Kim Novak tells all
  3. ^ Kim Novak’s artworks unveiled at the Old Mint, San Francisco
  4. ^ "Kim Novak:The road from Chicago". Talking Pictures:Conversations about Film, The Bad and the Beautiful (Chicago Tribune.Com). July 29, 2010. Retrieved February 23, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Larry Kleno (1980). Kim Novak ("On Camera" series). A.S. Barnes. p. 16. 
  6. ^ Kashner, Sam; Jennifer Macnair (2003). The bad & the beautiful: Hollywood in the fifties. W.W. Norton & Company. p. 200. Retrieved February 23, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Stephen M. Silverman (October 21, 1996). "Animal Magnetism – Personal Success, Kim Novak". People Magazine. Retrieved February 23, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c Rosenbaum, Jonathan (2010), "Kim Novak as Midwestern Independent", Goodbye Cinema, Hello Cinephilia, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 9780226726656 
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger (17). "Kim Novak on Hitchcock, Hollywood". RogerEbert.Com. Retrieved November 5, 2011. 
  10. ^ Turnquist, Kristi (31 July 2010). "Interview with actress Kim Novak, who lives in Oregon and is revisiting her cinematic past". The Oregonian. Retrieved November 5, 2011. 
  11. ^ Kim Novak: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival
  12. ^ a b c Stated in live interview with Robert Osborne; aired on Turner Classic Movies March 6, 2013.
  13. ^ David Shipman The Great Movie Stars: The International Years, London: Macdonald, 1989, p.441
  14. ^ David Thomson The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, London: Little, Brown, 2002, p.640
  15. ^ Ben Mankiewicz, Turner Classic Movies, aired July 26, 2009.
  16. ^ "'''Spotlight''', ''TCM This Month'', retrieved July 26, 2009". Retrieved February 28, 2012. 
  17. ^ a b c Excite - Liz Smith
  18. ^ Kim Novak surfaces to retrace past in boxed set
  19. ^ Thomas, Bob (May 14, 2004). "". Retrieved February 28, 2012. 
  20. ^ a b Army Archerd: "Novak talks of quitting" (July 24, 1967)
  21. ^ "Kim Novak to appear at American Cinematheque tribute". Los Angeles Times. July 10, 2010. 
  22. ^ Kim Novak: Her Tips on Aging, Lasting Beauty and Life Advice
  23. ^ "Berlinale: 1997 Prize Winners". Retrieved January 14, 2012. 
  24. ^ "How The Times tracked Alexander McQueen's career". The Times (London). February 11, 2010. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  25. ^ "'Vertigo' Star Kim Novak to Be Honored at TCM Classic Film Festival". The Hollywood Reporter. March 6, 2012. Retrieved April 4, 2012. 
  26. ^ "Kim Novak, Guest of Honour at the 66th Festival de Cannes". Cannes. 22 April 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  27. ^ McCarthy, Todd (May 26, 2013). "Todd McCarthy's Cannes Awards Analysis". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 16, 2013. 
  28. ^ Michael Brandon mentions his relationship with Kim Novak on his official website,
  29. ^ Photos of Kim Novak and former boyfriend Michael Brandon on and off the set
  30. ^ Transcript CNN Larry King Live (January 5, 2004)
  31. ^ a b c Martin, Melissa (July 25, 2000). "Kim Novak’s home burns". Mail Tribune. Retrieved August 29, 2008. 
  32. ^ "". Retrieved February 28, 2012. 
  33. ^ "Cowboyartistsofamerica". Cowboyartistsofamerica. Retrieved February 28, 2012. 
  34. ^ Johnston, Alex (October 19, 2010). "Kim Novak, Star of 1958's 'Vertigo,' Has Cancer". The Epoch Times. Retrieved October 19, 2010. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]