Kim Novak as Madeleine Elster / Judy Barton in Vertigo, released in May, 1958.
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Kim Novak
Forecourt Ceremony held on Saturday, April 14, 2012
Born: Marilyn Pauline Novak, February 13, 1933, in Chicago, Illinois
Age at the time of the ceremony: 79
Kim Novak became one of the most interesting performers in 50s and 60s cinema. Blonde and cool, she was asked by Alfred Hitchcock to replace Vera Miles at the last minute to star in his thriller Vertigo. This is her gold standard. She made a number of films, but finally had to admit that Hollywood and she did not get along all that well.

Kim Novak's parents were both Czech Catholics of working-class background. After attending Wright Junior College, Novak won scholarships to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. During this time, she earned extra money by traveling during the summer as a model for a refrigerator company at trade shows. Maybe that's why Alfred Hitchcock thought of her as an "icy blonde."

While in Los Angeles, she was crowned "Miss Deepfreeze" and stood in line at R-K-O for a chance to be an extra in the 3D film The French Line (released in February 1954) with Jane Russell. She was signed to a contract at Columbia, where she struggled with the studio chief Harry Cohn from the get-go. Arguing over what her screen name should be, they settled on Kim Novak.

Hoping to replace Rita Hayworth with Novak, and to replicate the success 20th Century-Fox had enjoyed with Marilyn Monroe, the studio first put her in the rom com Phffft (released in November 1954) with Judy Holliday; it was a box-office success.

Director Otto Preminger swept up Novak to appear in his ground-breaking The Man with the Golden Arm (released in December 1955) with Frank Sinatra. Novak then worked with director Joshua Logan in his film of Picnic (released in February 1956) with William Holden. Novak received good notices from the critics for all of these films; she was on her way.

At Columbia, Novak did a trio of films for director George Sidney: The Eddy Duchin Story (released in June 1956) with Tyrone Power in the title role, followed by the title role in Jeanne Eagels (released in August 1957) with Jeff Chandler, and finally, the musical Pal Joey (released in October 1957) with Rita Hayworth.

Still making only $1,250 per week, Novak was thrilled when director Alfred Hitchcock asked her to be loaned out at the last minute to star in Vertigo (released in May 1958) with James Stewart. She struck out for more money, and Cohn finally agreed. Vertigo remains Novak's best-known and best-liked film.

The comedy film about modern-day witches, Bell Book and Candle (released in November 1958) also with James Stewart, was a hit. After filming The Noroious Landlady (released in April 1962) with Jack Lemmon, instead of marrying her director Richard Quine, she bought a house in remote Big Sur, where she raised a stable of horses.

Novak's house in Bel-Air survived the fire of 1961, which was a close call. Novak played the part of Mildred for director Ken Hughes in his remake of Of Human Bondage (released in October 1964) with Laurence Harvey as Philip; the film was shot in Ireland. Thinking that she would be working with Peter Sellers on director Billy Wilder's Kiss Me, Stupid (released in December 1964) with Dean Martin, Sellers had a heart attack after only a couple of days shooting and was replaced by Ray Walston. The film was and is an acquired taste, but Novak is quite good in it. Wilder covered Novak's trademark low-pitched voice by giving her character a cold.

The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders (released in May 1965) with Richard Johnson is a watershed film for Novak. She married Johnson at the end of the shoot, but would divorce him after the mudslides of 1966 destroyed her Bel-Air home.

Relocating to Big Sur, she took up painting and considered giving up on movie-making. Director Robert Aldrich enticed her to accept the rags-to-riches in Hollywood role his film The Legend of Lylah Claire (whose finalé was shot at the Chinese, and which played the Chinese in August 1968) with Peter Finch. The film flopped.

After The Great Bank Robbery (released in September 1969) with Zero Mostel, Novak took a longer breather from Hollywood. She took a couple of roles before the telefilm Satan's Triangle with Doug McClure, aired over ABC in January 1975. She married veteranarian Robert Mallory in 1976. She co-starred with Charles Bronson in the western The White Buffalo (released in May 1977), and starred in Just a Gigolo (released in November 1978) with David Bowie.

Novak played an actress in the Agatha Christie mystery The Mirror Crack'd (released in December 1980) with Angela Lansbury as Miss Marple, and was in the ensemble cast of Malibu with William Atherton, aired over ABC in January 1983. She starred in the pilot for the reboot of Alfred Hitchcock Presents called "Man from the South" aired over NBC in May 1985, then guest starred as Kit Marlowe for 19 episodes of Falcon Crest with Jane Wyman, aired over CBS from October 1986 to May 1987.

After taking another break, she starred in The Children (shown at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1980) with Ben Kingsley, but legal troubles prevented the film from finding a distributor.

Director Mike Figgis cast Novak in his thriller Liebestraum (released in November 1991) with
Kevin Anderson, but Novak and Figgis fought like tooth and nail during the shoot; she discovered that Figgis had much of her performance cut out of the film.

Heartbroken, Novak and her husband bought a huge ranch in Sams Valley Oregon. She painted and wrote poetry, but the house burned to the ground in July 2000 — the couple lost everything, including the only copy of her autobiography, which she had been working on for ten years. She and Robert retired to her house in Big Sur. She has been feted ever since, but has refrained from doing any film work since the fiasco of Liebestraum.
Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, California. KIM NOVAK Forecourt block. Executed by unknown, Saturday, April 14, 2012. 36 x 36 inches.
Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, California. Kim Novak Forecourt ceremony, Saturday, April 14, 2012. Kim Novak spreads her wings during that moment between imprinting the hands and imprinting the feet.
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