Kim Novak is a retired film and stage actress who starred alongside some of Hollywood’s leading men in the golden era, including Kirk Douglas, Frank Sinatra, and Jimmy Stewart.
After over ten years in the entertainment industry, Novak, a then-sought-after leading lady, quit acting and only accepted occasional gigs.The Chicago native found fame as a young star in the 1950s when she appeared in the drama film “Picnic” and later in the romantic movie “The Man with the Golden Arm” in 1955.
Novak wed for the first time in 1965 to stage actor Richard Johnson. However, the pair split in 1966 following one year of matrimony. She got hitched for the second time by equine veterinarian Robert Malloy in 1976 after meeting in 1974.
After tying the knot, the lovebirds moved to Oregon, where Novak started her painting career and has been at it for years. She and Malloy remained married until his death on November 7, 2020.
Actress Kim Novak posing during a photoshoot on January 1, 1950 ┃Source: Getty Images
The film star revealed the devastating news on social media and expressed heartbreak at the thought of moving on without her love of four decades:
“May I share just a bit of my grief with you? My soulmate has passed on to greener pastures. For forty-five years, we shared each other’s love and adventures. Now I must learn how to be satisfied with all those incredible, indelible memories!”
Novak opened up about her loss again in February 2021 when asked if her art helped her deal with her grief. She said yes and disclosed that she painted a portrait of him and gave him a smile because he had a good sense of humor. Novak said it made her feel close to her beloved spouse and that she could invite him into her creative space through her craft.
The “Jeanne Eagles” star divulged Malloy had a funny bone when asked about the secret to their decades-long marriage. They both loved animals and would ride their Arabian horses together.
Novak Gives a Rare Interview for Her 90th Birthday
Before losing her husband, it was revealed in 2010 that Novak had been diagnosed with breast cancer. The Hollywood star’s manager at the time, Sue Cameron, disclosed that luckily for Novak, it was early detection.
The “Vertigo” star underwent treatment immediately. Doctors said they were optimistic about her health and that she would fully recover.
Novak turned 90 on February 13, 2023, and gave an update about her life and what she has been up to. The “Sunless” star said she finds happiness in horse riding and painting. In addition, she admitted to not watching recent movies.
Novak is one of the biggest box-office stars and left it all behind to focus on a more creative passion with a home by the sea. When speaking of the film industry, she said:
“What’s wonderful is sometimes movies get less appreciated later and people get less appreciated. But with me, it’s worked the opposite. I’m so grateful because I’ve become more respected as an actress.”
Kim Novak posing on a staircase at her house on September 28, 1965 in Paris ┃Source: Getty Images
To celebrate her birthday, Novak said she would paint in the morning because she always gets ideas at night. She added she would go riding with her horse, Poet. “Poet is my love, and I will have my three dogs beside us, and it’ll be perfect,” Novak explained.
She revealed one interesting fact about her: not wearing a watch. Novak said what matters to her is how she uses her time to be productive and creative. She divulged painting and acting give her “purpose.”
Novak Responds to Criticism of Aging: “I Wanted to Live a Normal Life”
Novak left show business in 1966 to pursue her passion for art. She spoke about her decision to retire in 2021 and revealed things began to feel unsafe for her:
“I felt it was getting dangerous. I just felt like I was losing myself to all the characters and into the Hollywood scene.”
At the time, Novak was considered a sex symbol and said she did not want to depend on all that comes with that title, the “glamorous clothes.” She stated she did not want to “rely” on her appearance and has found peace knowing she does not have to live up to such.
Novak further explained that her decision to up and leave was a means of “survival” because she had lost a sense of who she was and the values she upheld. She said she “fought” for her “identity” because that is what one does to remain true to themselves.
At some point, they asked her to change her name to Kit Marlowe with the idea that audiences would not relate to her Eastern European roots. But Novak stood her ground and refused to succumb to the pressure.
She revealed the pressure was more intense when a female star was attractive because Hollywood has certain expectations from its entertainers.
However, she found peace when she graciously bowed and headed to the Pacific Ocean. Novak emphasized: “I wanted to live a normal life.”