Kim lives

“I don’t think I was ever cut out to have a Hollywood life,” said Kim Novak. Certainly she didn’t follow the conventional wisdom; these days she’s best known for Hitchcock and Vertigo, though she didn’t think it was her best performance: that would be Middle of the Night, opposite Fredric March. And the studio system generally, and Columbia head Harry Cohn in particular, treated her with something resembling disdain. Cohn, in fact, came up with “Kit Marlowe” for a stage name for Marilyn Pauline Novak, dismissing her surname as being a “Polack name.”

Kim Novak exits the tub

Kim Novak dressed for Vertigo

Kim Novak under water, sort of

Cohn, for his part, really hated Hitchcock’s script for Vertigo, but figured it had potential as a prestige item. Novak, who liked the script, decided she wasn’t going to take it at the salary Cohn was paying. (Cohn eventually yielded and gave her a raise.)

Last time I saw her was a 19-episode stint on Falcon Crest (1986-87), playing a woman with a shady past who poses as Peter Stavros’ dead stepdaughter; her real name was, um, Kit Marlowe. Take that, Harry Cohn.

She may tweet occasionally as @KimNovakActress, but her Web site,, tells you where her interests lie these days.


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    19 December 2017 · 9:05 pm

    […] Dustbury: Kim Lives […]

  2. Joe »

    20 December 2017 · 7:51 am

    I always thought Novac was a better actress than she was credited. For some reason though, she always came off to me as cold and rather…well, bitchy…no matter the role. I thought her best performance was actually in “Pal Joey”, opposite Frank. That could be because I think “Vertigo” is way overrated.

    You know the old adage about opinions.

  3. CGHill »

    20 December 2017 · 5:31 pm

    I suspect that much of the current vogue for Vertigo derives from two or three hundred previous Best Film Ever votes that went to Citizen Kane.

    In Vertigo, I’m pretty sure that Hitch wanted her cold and bitchy.

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    24 December 2017 · 8:24 pm

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