How much did you know about the star of such durables as The Man with the Golden Arm, and Pal Joey?
We’re talking Kim Novak here so special attention must be paid. She’s a veteran of some 35 movie credits, and is still with us at the age of 88.
She remains the stellar linchpin of what is now deemed by international movie critics to be the finest movie ever made — Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 classic, Vertigo.
Now to the answers to our Kim Novak Quiz.
1) Question: When a slightly overweight Kim Novak was first discovered by a studio casting agent, what was she doing? a) Posing for a nude calendar; b) Auditioning for a role in a low budget action movie; c) Touring the country as “Miss Deepfreeze”; or d) Shopping at a local department store.
1) Answer: c) At the time she was “discovered,” Novak was a slightly robust model sent around the country to demonstrate refrigerators as “Miss Deepfreeze.” She was immediately told to lose the extra pounds. She did.
2) Question: Novak was groomed by which studio to take the place of a glamorous screen beauty. Can you name the studio and the star she superceded? a) Columbia Pictures, Rita Hayworth; b) MGM, Joan Crawford; c) 20th Century Fox, Alice Fay; or d) Samuel Goldwyn Studios, Barbara Nichols.
2) Answer: a) Novak was Columbia Pictures honcho Harry Cohn’s revenge on his previously reigning studio star, Rita Hayworth. Even so, he was often on the losing end of his subsequent battles with his manufactured new blond star.
3) Question: The number 13 has always been very special to Novak. Why? a) Despite its unlucky association, the number won her thousands in a Las Vegas craps game; b) She was born on Feb. 13 at 3:13 a.m. in hospital room 313; c) She currently “mothers” 13 animals at her Oregon farm; or d) Her career as a Hollywood actress fulfilled a dream harbored since age 13.
3) Answer: b) Novak would tell reporters that she was born in Chicago at St. Anthony’s Hospital on Feb. 13, 1933 in Room 313 and 3:13 a.m.
4) Question: Although generally publicity shy in recent years, Novak caused quite a stir when she showed up at 2014’s Oscar telecast. What happened? a) Nothing. Novak accompanied by actor Matthew McConaughey graciously presented an animation award; b) She shocked viewers by the obvious effects of her multiple face lifts; c) She walked unsteadily and nearly fell into the orchestra pit; or d) She passed unflattering remarks about formality of the Academy Awards ceremony.
4) Answer: b) Some viewers, not all but some, were taken aback at Novak’s obvious facial surgery. We say, a woman of a certain age does have her privileges.
5) Question: Confidental magazine in the late Fifties plastered Kim all over the headlines because of her affair with which one of the following? a) Herb Jeffries; b) Nat King Cole; c) Sidney Poitier; or d) Sammy Davis Jr.
5) Answer: d) Sammy Davis Jr. For an excellent account of the romance, then verboten, go on the web to the July 2011 edition of Vanity Fair, and enjoy Sam Kashner’s excellent article, The Color of Love.
6) Question: Kim Novak was at one time Hollywood’s No. 1 box office star. a) True; or b) False?
6) Answer: a) True. Novak reigned at the boxoffice in the 1957-58 period.
7) Question: Novak was not Alfred Hitchcock’s first choice for the dual roles of Madeleine Elster/Judy Barton in Vertigo. Who was? a) Tippi Hedren; b) Vera Miles; c) Grace Kelly or d) Jayne Mansfield.
7) Answer: b) Vera Miles was Hitchcock’s first choice for the leading actress role in Vertigo but production delays and a pregnancy forced her exit from the project. The director had used her to good effect in 1957’s The Wrong Man opposite Henry Fonda. He later costarred her in 1960’s classic, Psycho.
8) Question: Novak was romantically linked to many men, including Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra, but her affair with one particular Hollywood director was considered serious. Can you name him? a) Otto Preminger (The Man With The Golden Arm), b) Hitchcock; c) Richard Quine (Bell, Book And Candle); or d) Delbert Mann (Middle of the Night).
8) Answer: c) Richard Quine. He broke up a marriage for Novak but she never got around to marrying him.
9) Question: Novak and Rita Hayworth, costars of 1957’s Pal Joey, bonded instantly when they were first introduced, and became lifelong friends. a) True; or b) False?
9) Answer: b) False. Novak and Hayworth did not get along especially well, and steered clear of each other during the filming of 1957’s Pal Joey costarring Frank Sinatra.
10) Question: In Novak’s very first movie in 1954 was a musical romance starring a reigning Hollywood sexpot at the time. Can you name her? a) Jane Russell; b) Mamie Van Doren; c) Marilyn Monroe; or d) Diana Dors.
10) Answer: a) Jane Russell. If you don’t quite buy her sexpot status, check out the stills from RKO’s The French Line in which Novak made her screen debut as a “model.” Wow! We love ya, Jane.