- Pub. Date:
*Includes Novak's own quotes about her life and career.
*Includes a bibliography for further reading.
"My security comes from my senses, my sensing the direction I should go and suddenly I felt out of tune, out of step with what other people wanted or what other people expected of me." - Kim Novak
A lot of ink has been spilled covering the lives of history's most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? In Charles River Editors' American Legends series, readers can get caught up to speed on the lives of America's most important men and women in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
From the moment the film industry became a burgeoning business that offered actresses an opportunity to seek fame and fortune, millions of girls across America have dreamed of making it big on screen, despite the long odds against them. And yet, among the few that have catapulted to superstardom, few did it as quickly, effortlessly, or as seemingly disinterested as Kim Novak. An art student in her early 20s, Novak found herself in Los Angeles by chance and appeared as an extra in a 1954 film to earn money, only to be almost immediately discovered by Columbia and turned into a star when she appeared in Picnic (1955).
Picnic began a 10 year run that witnessed Novak become one of the biggest names in Hollywood, starring in major hits like Pal Joey (1957), Middle of the Night (1959), The Notorious Landlady (1962), and Of Human Bondage (1964). However, Novak's most famous role was as one of Alfred Hitchcock's legendary "icy blondes" in Vertigo (1958), beguiling Jimmy Stewart's character to the point of madness in what is widely considered one of the greatest films ever made. In addition to being one of the country's most recognizable and alluring sex icons, the girl who originally wanted to be an artist had reached the upper echelon of Hollywood itself, all before she turned 30.
Just about every actress would kill to have the success Novak had during her first decade as an actress, but after 1965, she'd decided that she was mostly through with making films, despite still being near the peak of her career. After starring in The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders (1965), Novak only made a dozen more films over the next 26 years, and she has not appeared in a movie since Liebestraum (1991). While her decision to get out of Hollywood presents a classic what-if over where her career may have ended up had she kept going, Novak has been one of the rare stars happier to thrive outside of the spotlight, continuing to paint and raise animals while living on an Oregon ranch with her husband of nearly 40 years.
American Legends: The Life of Kim Novak examines the life and career of one of America's most famous actresses of the 1950s and 1960s. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about Kim Novak like never before, in no time at all.