What Is Kim Novak’s Net Worth?
Kim Novak is an American actress and painter who has a net worth of $15 million. The winner of two Golden Globes, Kim Novak began her acting career in the ’50s and retired from the business in the early ’90s after appearing in the 1991 film “Liebestraum.” Kim has more than 30 acting credits to her name, including the films “Phffft” (1954), “Picnic” (1955), “The Man with the Golden Arm” (1955), “Pal Joey” (1957), “Vertigo” (1958), “Bell, Book and Candle” (1958), “The Great Bank Robbery” (1969), and “The White Buffalo” (1977), and she played Kit Marlowe on the CBS primetime soap opera “Falcon Crest” from 1986 to 1987. Since her retirement from acting, Novak has devoted her time to painting, and Ohio’s Butler Institute of American Art exhibited a retrospective of Novak’s art in 2019 and published the book “Kim Novak: Her Art and Life.”
Kim Novak was born Marilyn Pauline Novak on February 13, 1933, in Chicago, Illinois. Kim is the daughter of Blanche Kral and history teacher/freight dispatcher Joseph Novak, and both of her parents appeared in her film “The Notorious Landlady.” Novak’s older sister, Arlene, grew up to become a fashion designer. Kim studied at William Penn Elementary and Farragut High School, then she enrolled at Wright Junior College. Novak earned two scholarships to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and before her final semester of junior college, she spent the summer traveling around the U.S., modeling at trade shows for a refrigerator company.
While visiting Los Angeles, the refrigerator company crowned Kim “Miss Deepfreeze.” When Novak and two other models were standing in line to be extras in the RKO films “Son of Sinbad” and “The French Line,” Kim caught the attention of an agent, and she signed a contract with Columbia Pictures. Harry Cohn, Columbia’s chief, wanted Novak to change her name, telling her, “Nobody’s gonna go see a girl with a Polack name!” Kim responded, “I’m Czech, but Polish, Czech, no matter, it’s my name!” Though Cohn wanted her to use the stage name “Kit Marlowe,” the two compromised on “Kim Novak” (and Kim would later play a character named Kit Marlowe on “Falcon Crest”). Novak made her film debut with an uncredited role in 1953’s “The French Line,” and the following year, she appeared in “Pushover” and “Phffft,” winning a Golden Globe for “Phffft.” In 1955, she had an uncredited role in “Son of Sinbad,” appeared in “5 Against the House” and “Picnic,” and co-starred with Frank Sinatra in the drama “The Man with the Golden Arm.” Kim starred in “The Eddy Duchin Story” in 1956, and in 1957, she played the title role in “Jeanne Eagels” and Linda English in the musical comedy “Pal Joey,” which also starred Sinatra and Rita Hayworth. “Pal Joey” earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Film – Comedy or Musical and won a Laurel Award for Top Musical.
In 1958, Novak starred as Judy Barton / Madeleine Elster in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” alongside James Stewart. The film was preserved in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry in 1989 for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” Kim then appeared in “Bell, Book and Candle” (1958), “Middle of the Night” (1959), “Strangers When We Meet” (1960), “The Notorious Landlady” (1962), “Boys’ Night Out” (1962), “Of Human Bondage” (1964), “Kiss Me, Stupid” (1964), and “The Great Bank Robbery” (1969), and she played the title roles in 1965’s “The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders” and 1968’s “The Legend of Lylah Clare.” After “The Great Bank Robbery,” Novak took a four-year “self-imposed vacation,” then in 1973, she starred in the film “Tales That Witness Madness” and the TV movie “The Third Girl from the Left.” She then appeared in the films “Satan’s Triangle” (1975), “The White Buffalo” (1977), “Just a Gigolo” (1979), and “The Mirror Crack’d” (1980) and the TV movie “Malibu” (1983).
In 1985, Kim guest-starred on “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” and from 1986 to 1987, she played Kit Marlowe in 19 episodes of “Falcon Crest.” In the ’90s, she made two films, “The Children” (1990) and “Liebestraum” (1991), then she retired from acting. In a 2004 interview with the Associated Press, Novak said of “Liebestraum,” “I got so burned out on that picture that I wanted to leave the business. But then if you wait long enough you think, ‘Oh, I miss certain things.’ The making of a movie is wonderful. What’s difficult is afterward when you have to go around and try to sell it. The actual filming, when you have a good script — which isn’t often — nothing beats it.”
In the ’50s, Kim dated Sammy Davis, Jr., and a BBC documentary alleged that Columbia Pictures head Harry Cohn enlisted mobsters to threaten Sammy during the relationship, telling him that they would break his legs if he didn’t marry a Black woman within the next two days. In the late ’50s, Novak was engaged to Richard Quine, her “Bell, Book and Candle,” “Strangers When We Meet,” and “The Notorious Landlady” director, and she briefly dated Wilt Chamberlain in the ’60s. Kim married actor Richard Johnson on March 15, 1965, and they divorced in May 1966. That year she left Hollywood and moved to Big Sur, where she spent her time raising horses and painting. In 1974, Novak met equine veterinarian Robert Malloy, and they wed on March 12, 1976. The couple remained together until Robert’s death in November 2020. In 2006, Kim suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung in a horse-riding accident, and in 2010, she was diagnosed with breast cancer after a routine mammogram. Novak’s manager, Sue Cameron, said that Kim was undergoing treatment, and that “all her doctors say she is in fantastic physical shape and should recover very well.”
In 2021, Novak spoke to “The Hollywood Reporter” about her life and recalled a disturbing experience at a party at Tony Curtis’ home, stating, “Tony Curtis had brought me a drink. I don’t know, I only had, I think, one drink there. But that’s the last thing I knew. I do not know anything afterward, cross my heart, hope to die. Don’t know what happened after that or how my car got back in front of my apartment.” She added that she thinks Curtis spiked her drink and that when she woke up the next morning, she didn’t have any clothing on. The article also mentioned that a group of boys in Kim’s neighborhood raped her when she was a teenager.
Awards and Nominations
Novak has won two Golden Globes, Most Promising Newcomer – Female for “Phffft” in 1955 and World Film Favorite – Female in 1957. That year she also earned a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Foreign Actress for “Picnic,” a Golden Apple Award for Most Cooperative Actress, and a Photoplay Award for Most Popular Female Star. Kim received Laurel Award nominations for Top Female Star every year between 1958 and 1963, and she has been honored with the Berlin International Film Festival Honorary Golden Berlin Bear (1997), the George Eastman Award (2003), the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society’s S.F. Cinematic Icon Award (2012), and Febiofest’s Kristián Award (2015). In 1960, Novak received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
From 1961 to 1973, Novak lived in a 2,070 square foot home in Carmel, California. In 2021, the home went on the market for $12.5 million. Kim also previously owned a home in Eagle Point, Oregon, but it burned down in 2000, and she lost a Bel-Air home to a mudslide in the ’60s.