Kim Novak (1933-)

By Edwin Battistella

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Kim Novak was one of Hollywood’s top box office stars, even appearing on the cover of Time magazine. In 1992, she moved to southern Oregon, where she still makes her home.

Born in Chicago in 1933, Marilyn Pauline Novak wrote poetry and studied art before becoming a teen fashion model. She toured the country as “Miss Deep Freeze” and eventually found her way to Los Angeles, where she was signed by Columbia Pictures. Her acting debut was as a gangster’s girlfriend in the 1954 film Pushover. She was a Golden Globe winner the following year, starring in Picnic and The Man with the Golden Arm. Her most famous film was the 1958 classic, Vertigo.

In an era when actors, especially women, were underpaid, Novak went on a sit-down strike in 1957, protesting her low salary. She was also not afraid to take periodic sabbaticals from acting. Away from the screen, she survived falls from horses, car wrecks, and the gossip columns. In 1986 and 1987, she got to have some fun with her own image, appearing on television’s Falcon Crest as a character named Kit Marlowe, a stage name she had rejected years earlier.

In 1976, Novak married Robert Malloy, an equine veterinarian who had been treating her animals, and the couple built a log home along the Williamson River near Chiloquin. They spent weekends exploring the Oregon wilderness, skiing, and canoeing, and they moved to the state fulltime in 1992. In 1997, the couple relocated to the Rogue Valley, where they raise horses and llamas.

In the 1990s, Novak had been working on a memoir, but a house fire in 2000 destroyed the only draft along with the couple’s historic home. In 2009, after negotiations with federal regulators involving public versus private land ownership along the Rogue River, the couple removed a riprap installed to prevent erosion of their property on the Rogue River

A lifelong artist, Novak studies and works with other artists. In 2010, she created a poster for Jacksonville’s Britt Music Festival.

  • Kim Novak, 1962.

    Courtesy Nationaal Archief Fotocollectie Anefo

  • Kim Novak at the Cannes Film Festival, 2013.

    Courtesy Georges Biard

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Further Reading

Mann, Damian. "Actor, Husband Resolve River Permit Issue." Medford Mail Tribune, Sept. 1, 2009.

Martin, Melissa. “Kim Novak’s Home Burns,” Medford Mail Tribune, July 25, 2000.