Kim Novak was born Marilyn Pauline Novak on Feb. 13, 1933 in Chicago Illinois. After high school she began modeling teen fashions locally. She later recieved a scholarship to a modeling academy and made her way to Hollywood where she continued to model. In 1954 she had an uncredited role in the movie, The French Line. She was eventually discovered by Columbia Pictures and signed a six month contract. Novak was still going by her birth name of Marilyn and because of the similarity of her name to Marilyn Monroe, the studio wanted her to change her name to Kit Marlowe. She wanted to try to keep part of her name so as to not lose her ‘identity’, and they settled on the name Kim Novak.
She debuted in the movie Pushover with Fred McMurray and Philip Carey. After she starred in Picnic with William Holden in 1955, she won a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer. She was also nominated for the British BAFTA Film Award for Best Foreign Actress. She was on the cover of the July 29, 1957 issue of Time Magazine. Critics and fans were enthralled by her on screen beauty. In 1958 Novak starred in the Alfred Hitchcock classic thriller Vertigo. Even though her performance had mixed reviews, Vertigo is the movie she is most remembered for. Today the film is considered a masterpiece of romantic suspense. Novak went on to make 31 movies in her career before retiring from movies in 1991. From 1986-87 she had a role in the television role Falcon Crest, where the name of her character was, ironically, ‘Kit Marlowe’, the name Columbia Pictures wanted her to take when they first signed her to a contract.
For her contribution to motion pictures, Kim Novak recieved a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1995 she was named one of the sexiest 100 actors of all time by Empire Magazine, coming in at #92. She now resides in Oregon with her husband, veterinarian Dr. Robert Malloy, to whom she has been married to since 1976. She spends her time oil painting and raising llamas and cattle on their ranch.
In 2000, her home in Eagle Point, Oregon was partially destroyed by fire. She lost several of her paintings, scripts, and a computer which held the only copy of an autobiography she had been working on. Kim Novak said of the loss;
“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.”