Kim Novak on Hitchcock, Leaving Hollywood, and Handling Plastic Surgery Insults

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At 86, Kim Novak is a living legend whose film credits include classics like “The Man with the Golden Arm” (1955), “Picnic” (1955), and Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” (1958) — the latter of which has been called the greatest film ever made.

Sitting down for a wide-ranging interview with “CBS Sunday Morning” correspondent Mo Rocca that aired Sunday, Novak candidly addressed her personal life, her former career, her second career as a painter, and how it felt to be insulted by Donald Trump after presenting at the Oscars in 2014.

Social media users — including Donald Trump — lambasted Novak after she appeared with Matthew McConaughey at the ceremony. Trump, in a rare move for him, later apologized for urging her to “sue her plastic surgeon” after Novak spoke out, saying she felt “bullied” by the barbs.

Now, Novak says of the dust-up, “I still would’ve rather Trump hadn’t said that.”

Speaking about the treatment she received by her Hollywood bosses in the ’50s, Novak noted of notorious Columbia mogul Harry Cohn, “Harry Cohn was frightening, my father was frightening — they had that in common.” Cohn tried to rename her “Kit Marlowe,” a notion she rejected, but she had a much harder time resisting her father’s demands.

“I loved my father! I adored my father!” Novak told Rocca, bursting into tears. “But he terrified me. He was a fine man, in his way. He was a tough man. I loved him, and I hated him — but I loved him more than I hated him.”

Novak had a much easier relationship with director Alfred Hitchcock (“I adored him!”), who fellow actress Tippi Hedren accused of sexual harassment. Acknowledging that Hitchcock was demanding when it came to how she would look in “Vertigo,” she praised him for allowing her total freedom to perform.

When Cohn died in 1958, her career cooled and she found herself unhappily appearing in a variety of forgettable projects, one highlight coming with a turn as over-the-top vixen Lola Brewster in “The Mirror Crack’d” (1980).

She moved to Portland and took up painting. “My art is really my love — it’s where my heart is,” she told fans at a 2019 exhibition in Ohio.

Of her departure from Hollywood and her life on a ranch, she said, “I got involved with animals in my life. I had to learn who I was again through animals, because animals know who you really are.”

It’s been nearly 30 years since her last film role, and Novak said she is still finding herself. Asked how much of her movie-star persona was a put-on, she said, “All of it and none of it.”

Check out the entire interview here.



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