Famous Like Me > Actress > N > Kim Novak
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Profile of Kim Novak
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|Also Know As:
|Date of Birth:
||13th February 1933
|Place of Birth:
||Chicago, Illinois, USA
Kim Novak (born February 13, 1933) is an American actress.
She was born Marilyn Pauline Novak in Chicago, Illinois, a Roman Catholic of Czechoslovakian extraction. Her father was a railroad clerk and former teacher; her mother was also a former teacher, and she has a sister.
After graduating high school, she began her career modeling teen fashions for a local department store. She later received a scholarship at a modeling school and continued to model part time. She also worked as an elevator operator, a sales clerk, and a dental assistant.
After a job touring the country as a spokesman for refrigerators, "Miss Deepfreeze," Novak moved to Los Angeles, where she continued modeling. She then appeared as a model standing on some stairs in the RKO motion picture The French Line (1954) starring Jane Russell and Gilbert Roland. Novak's bit received no screen credit.
She was seen by a Columbia Pictures talent agent and made a screen test. Studio chief Harry Cohn was looking for someone to replace the rebellious and difficult Rita Hayworth. Novak was signed to a six-month contract. Columbia decided to make the blonde and buxom actress their version of Marilyn Monroe. She was still using the name Marilyn Novak, and they wanted to change it to Kit Marlowe. She wanted to keep her surname, however, and resisted pressure to change it. She and the studio finally settled on the stage name Kim Novak.
Cohn told her to lose weight, and he won the battle to make her wear brassieres. She took acting lessons, which she had to pay for herself, then debuted as Lona McLane in Pushover (1954) opposite Fred MacMurray and Philip Carey. Though her role was not the best, her beauty caught the attention of fans and critics alike.
She then played the femme fatale role as Janis in Phffft! (1954) opposite Judy Holliday, Jack Lemmon, and Jack Carson. Novak's reviews were good. More people were eager to see the new star, and she received an enormous amount of fan mail. She went on to appear in a number of successful movies.
After playing Madge Owens in Picnic (1955) opposite William Holden, Novak won a Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer and for World Film Favorite. She was also nominated for the British BAFTA Film Award for Best Foreign Actress.
She played Molly in The Man with the Golden Arm (1955) opposite Frank Sinatra and Eleanor Parker on loan-out to United Artists. The movie was a big hit. She was paired opposite Sinatra again in Pal Joey (1957), which also starred Rita Hayworth.
Her popularity became such that she made the cover of the July 29, 1957, issue of Time Magazine. That same year, she went on strike, protesting her current salary of $1,250 per week.
In 1958, Novak appeared in a dual role as Madeleine Elster and Judy Barton in Hitchcock's classic thriller Vertigo opposite James Stewart. In it, Stewart's character, a detective named Scottie Ferguson, who suffers from a fear of heights, is hired to follow a friend's blonde wife, Elster (Novak), and falls in love with her. He then witnesses her suicide. He then sees a brown-haired woman, Barton (Novak), who bears a striking resemblance to the deceased. He finds that he was deceived in an elaborate murder scheme.
Vertigo was followed with her role as Gil Holroyd in Bell Book and Candle (1958) opposite James Stewart and Jack Lemmon, with Ernie Kovacs, Hermione Gingold, and Elsa Lanchester, a comedy tale of modern-day witchcraft that did not do well at the box-office.
By the early 1960s, Novak's career had begun to slide. She then played the vulgar waitress Mildred Rogers in a remake of Somerset Maugham's drama Of Human Bondage (1964) opposite Laurence Harvey and Robert Morley, and received good reviews. She showed a cunning sense of humor in Billy Wilder's Kiss Me, Stupid (1964) opposite Dean Martin, though it was critically disastrous.
After playing the title role in The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders (1965) opposite Richard Johnson and Angela Lansbury, with George Sanders and Lilli Palmer, Novak took a break from acting, seeing as little of Hollywood as possible.
She has had two husbands, English actor Richard Johnson (married March 15, 1965-divorced April 23, 1966) and veterinarian Dr. Robert Malloy (married March 12, 1976-present).
Novak made a comeback 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) opposite Oscar winners Peter Finch and Ernest Borgnine for MGM. It failed miserably.
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 four years. She then played the minor role as Auriol Pageant in the comedy/horror Tales That Witness Madness (1973). In 1979, she played Helga in Just a Gigolo starring David Bowie. She played Lola Brewster in Agatha Christie's mystery/thriller The Mirror Crack'd (1980) opposite Angela Lansbury, Geraldine Chaplin, Tony Curtis, Edward Fox, Rock Hudson, and Elizabeth Taylor. In it, she and Taylor, screen actress rivals, have good scenes where they insult each other. During a break between scenes on a movie they are both appearing in, Brewster (Novak) says, "I could eat a roll of Kodak and PUKE a better picture!"
Novak has also made occasional appearances on TV over the years. She starred as aging showgirl Gloria Joyce in the made-for-TV movie The Third Girl From the Left (1973); played Eve in Satan's Triangle (1975); the role as Billie Farnsworth in Malibu (1983); the role as Rosa in a revival of Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1985); and she joined the regular cast of the series Falcon Crest in the role as Kit Marlowe during the 1986/1987 season.
Her last appearance on the silver screen was as Lillian Anderson Munnsen in the mystery/thriller Liebestraum (1991) for MGM, however her scenes were cut from the movie due to her battles with the director over how to play the role. Novak later admitted that she had been "unprofessional" in her conduct with director Mike Figgis, as recounted by gossip columnist Liz Smith (journalist).
In 1995, Novak was chosen by Empire Magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history, being number 92.
Her home in Eagle Point, Oregon, went up in flames July 24, 2000, and Novak watched helplessly as it burned. A deputy Fire Marshall said the blaze was probably caused by a tree falling across a power line. Among the loss of mementos were scripts of some of her movies, including Vertigo and Picnic, as well as her computer containing her long awaited autobiography.
Kim Novak has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to motion pictures at 6336 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood.
- The French Line (1954) ... model on stairs (uncredited)
- Pushover (1954) ... Lona McLane
- Phffft! (1954) ... Janis
- Son of Sinbad (1955) ... Raider (uncredited)
- 5 Against the House (1955) ... Kay Greylek
- Picnic (1955) ... Madge Owens
- The Man with the Golden Arm (1955) ... Molly
- The Eddy Duchin Story (1956) ... Marjorie Oelrichs Duchin
- Jeanne Eagels (1957) ... Jeanne Eagels
- Pal Joey (1957) ... Linda English
- Vertigo (1958) ... Madeleine Elster/Judy Barton
- Bell Book and Candle (1958) ... Gillian "Gil" Holroyd
- Middle of the Night (1959) ... Betty Preisser
- Strangers When We Meet (1960) ... Maggie Gault
- Pepe (1960) ... (cameo)
- The Notorious Landlady (1962) ... Carlyle Hardwicke
- Boys' Night Out (1962) ... Cathy
- Of Human Bondage (1964) ... Mildred Rogers
- Kiss Me, Stupid (1964) ... Polly the Pistol/Zelda
- The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders (1965) ... Moll Flanders
- The Legend of Lylah Clare (1968) ... Elsa Brinkman/Lylah Clare
- The Great Bank Robbery (1969) ... Sister Lyda Kebanov
- Tales That Witness Madness (1973) ... Auriol Pageant
- The White Buffalo (1977) ... Mrs. Poker Jenny Schermerhorn
- Just a Gigolo (1979) ... Helga
- The Mirror Crack'd (1980) ... Lola Brewster
- I Have Been Very Pleased (1987)
- The Children (1990) ... Rose Sellars
- Liebestraum (1991) ... Lillian Anderson Munnsen
- Premier Khrushchev in the USA (1959)
- Showman (1963)
- For a scene in Picnic, in which she had to cry, Novak asked director Joshua Logan to pinch her, saying, "I can only cry when I'm hurt."
- Novak turned down the lead roles in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) and The Hustler (1961).
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