Kim Novak: The 'Vertigo' Star Who Walked Away In '66, Then And Now

By | May 30, 2021

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American actress Kim Novak poses circa 1956. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)

Kim Novak, born Marilyn Pauline Novak, defined Hollywood’s fiercely independent woman when Tinseltown still operated as anachronistic as cavemen. She changed her name due to some Monroe woman staking claim over “Marilyn” and her antediluvian boss at Columbia Pictures, Harry Cohn. She overcame a traumatic rape as a teen and bipolar disorder to become one of silver screens all-time legends. Novak’s iconic work in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo,” as well as working alongside Frank Sinatra in “The Man with the Golden Arm” and “Pal Joey” cemented her status as a star. Nevertheless, she wasn’t afraid to throw away the glitz and glamour for her principles and her sanity. To think it all started with refrigerator ads...

From Refrigerator Fox to Columbia Pictures

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Kim Novak, one of the leading ladies of the '50s. (Bestofcomicbooks)

On a break from college, Novak took a cross-country trip working as a refrigerator model. As she recalled, “In these little maid costumes, we opened the refrigerator doors and sang, ‘There’s no business like Thor business.’” While in Los Angeles on the refrigeration tour, she got work as an extra in a couple of films. An agent spotted her and she signed a deal with Columbia pictures, which was a blessing and a curse.