Kim Novak

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Don't let people try to change you, because in the long run, if you keep trying to do what everyone else thinks is right, it's not. You've got to do what you believe. Shakespeare was so right: 'This above all, to thine own self be true.’

Marilyn Pauline "Kim" Novak (born 13 February 1933) is an American former actress and visual artist. As an actress, she began her film career in 1954 by signing with Columbia Pictures to star in several films, including Picnic (1955), The Man with the Golden Arm (1955) and Pal Joey (1957). She is known for her dual role as Madeline Elster and Judy Barton in Alfred Hitchcock's thriller Vertigo (1958) with James Stewart.

Throughout the 1960s, she enjoyed box office success with several co-stars until she left Hollywood in 1966 and pursued visual arts, as well as sporadically acting, until her retirement from acting in 1992. Her contributions to cinema have been honoured with two Golden Globe Awards, an Honorary Golden Bear Award, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She is currently a painter and visual artist.

Quotes[edit]

What I really liked about him was he never messed with my mind as far as interpretation. Bad directors would try to tell you how to think.
`Well, I'm Czech, but Polish, Czech, no matter, it's my name.'
  • I got so burned out on that picture that I wanted to leave the business, but then if you wait long enough you think, "Oh, I miss certain things." The making of a movie is wonderful. What's difficult is afterward when you have to go around and try to sell it. The actual filming, when you have a good script—which isn't often—nothing beats it.
  • I live way out in the country, so there's not a lot of people around to remind me. And my friends don't think of me as `Kim Novak' anymore anyway. It's like they forgot, too. And so it's nice. I had a lot of resentment for a while toward Kim Novak. But I don't mind her anymore. She's okay. We've become friends. I even asked her before this trip for some beauty tips.
  • I said, `I'm not going to change my family name.' Harry Cohn said, `Well, nobody's going to go see a girl with a Polack name.' I said, `Well, I'm Czech, but Polish, Czech, no matter, it's my name.'
  • [Vertigo] was before its time, really. I was not appreciated in my time. I think I'm appreciated more now. I'm glad to know that I'm still around to know that I'm more appreciated now.
  • I would just say hold out for what you believe in, and don't be afraid to express yourself. Don't let people try to change you, because in the long run, if you keep trying to do what everyone else thinks is right, it's not. You've got to do what you believe. Shakespeare was so right: 'This above all, to thine own self be true.’
  • It happens in every marriage. My husband, whom I adored, wanted me to be more like how he wanted me to be. But I have too much of an independent personality. I’d be off painting and he wanted me to be more of a housewife…In Hollywood, they think they want you, but really they want what they want you to be.
  • … It’s exciting to dress up in gorgeous clothes and to feel sexy and to look sexy. It’s wonderful, but it’s a trap. You become satisfied with that being enough, then later in life it isn’t enough. So many people, once they got older and were no longer looked at for their beauty, just fell apart
  • I wanted to be appreciated for what I was as a person and what I had to offer. I didn’t feel my work meant anything there. I knew I was a good artist and I wanted to express my feelings. Not the writer’s or the director’s; I wanted to express me. I wanted to play the role of somebody who was mentally ill. I think I could have done a really good job, because I knew those feelings.

CBS Sunday Morning interview (2020)[edit]

Interviewed by Mo Rocca for CBS News, as quoted in 12 January 2020

  • You know, I wasn't gonna wait around. And I thought, 'You know, what I'd like to do if I have my choice, I wanna go to Big Sur and go back to painting.' For better or worse, I left Hollywood. I let in very few people in my life, and I got involved with animals in my life. And not just cats and dogs. I had to learn who I was again through animals, because animals know who you really are.
    • On leaving Hollywood in the 1960s
  • It was a tool for me. I could express what I was feeling, whether it's good feelings or bad feelings. In that case it was bad feelings. But it was like all of a sudden, 'Who cares what Donald Trump or anyone else thinks of you?'
    • Answering the question "What did painting do for you after you came home from the Oscars?"

Orlando Sentinel interview (2013)[edit]

As quoted in "Kim Novak: A talk with TCM's Star of the Month" by Hal Boedeker, Orlando Sentinel, 4 September 2013

  • I don't keep up with anything that's said. If I paid attention to the good things, I'd have to pay attention to the bad things. I don't keep up with all that. It's better to just go along and do what you do. For a long time when I was in Hollywood, I did pay attention and it was confusing. It led you down a jagged path. It pulled you in one direction, then another direction. I would get off my focus. I had a hard time with boundaries.
    • On critics
  • What I really liked about him was he never messed with my mind as far as interpretation. Bad directors would try to tell you how to think. That's so disruptive. It's just very disruptive unless you both come to an agreement on the character. Hitchcock was very precise about where he wanted you to stand. He never messed with your interpretation. It was wonderful. That gave you the freedom as a performer. I didn't agree with him about the costumes, but on the other hand, he let me express my views.

Quotes about Novak[edit]

External links[edit]

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