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One of the most famed “Hitchcock blondes” has resurfaced.
In 1958, Kim Novak (born Marilyn Pauline Novak) cemented her place in cinematic history as the mysterious woman who bewitches James Stewart in the Alfred Hitchcock thriller Vertigo. Today, just a month shy of her 87th birthday, the star has swapped acting for art, according to a new interview for CBS Sunday Morning.
Having officially retired from acting in the early ‘90s, Novak now spends her time painting while living in rural Oregon with veterinarian husband Robert Malloy. Though she left Hollywood in response to a lack of strong roles, she has fond memories of her most famous director.
“I adored him,” Novak said of the late Hitchcock.
Working for the famed filmmaker come with some challenges, however.
“I went to Edith Head, and I said, 'That suit's gonna drive me crazy. And I have to wear black shoes, I hate black shoes,’” Novak told Mo Rocca of her iconic role in Vertigo, in which her character wears a gray skirt suit. “And she says, 'Well, I think, my dear, you better talk to Alfred Hitchcock about that.'
"He says, 'Yes, my dear, that's exactly what I want you to wear.'"
"He wanted you to be uncomfortable in that?” Rocca asked.
"Exactly," said Novak. "That's when I realized, I have to have that discomfort. I need to feel uncomfortable in it, and that's the way my character should feel."
Novak added, “The wonderful thing about Alfred Hitchcock is, in one way, he is obsessed with changing you in the physical sense of the character has to be exactly the way. But he allows you total freedom in the way you play the part."
Novak — who caused controversy in the late 1950s by dating Sammy Davis Jr., an interracial match that, rumor has it, prompted threats from the mob — also addressed the remarks a certain future president made in 2014 after she appeared at that year’s Oscars ceremony.
“I would have preferred I didn't send it,” he said. “That was done in fun, but sometimes you do things in fun and they turn out to be hurtful, and I don't like doing that."
“I had a skin doctor give me fat injections, which were in the wrong place, which made my face look fatter,” she told Rocca. “But I still would've rather Trump hadn't said that."
Painting helped her shrug off the disparaging comments.
"It was a tool for me," she shared. "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?'"
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