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Hitchcock muse Kim Novak recalls forbidden Sammy Davis Jr romance: ‘I never thought of race’

Kim Novak had a forbidden romance that nearly destroyed her career – and it was worth it.

The actress, who left Hollywood in 1966, is making a rare appearance to connect with fans on the TCM Classic Cruise sailing Nov. 6-11. As the Alfred Hitchcock muse prepares for her journey, she’s reflecting on her “misunderstood” relationship with Sammy Davis Jr.

“I loved him,” the 90-year-old told Fox News Digital. “He was a person that had a youthful innocence about him. Now, I know no one ever saw him that way, but I did. He had a boyish quality, and I loved that about him.”

Kim Novak staring intently at Frank Sinatra

Kim Novak and Frank Sinatra starred in 1955’s “The Man with the Golden Arm.” (United Artists/Getty Images)

Novak described Cohn as “very tough.”

“I think he had ties to the mafia, and I think he ran the studio that way,” she explained. “He wanted everything to be done exactly the way he wanted. … He was supposedly friends with many people in the mob. And he had that kind of gangster way of talking down to you. It was always like giving you an order. He would always have people watch out for what I was doing. He would go, ‘When you’re out on-set, I don’t want you stopping and talking to anybody. Just go straight to the set, know your lines and be ready.’… He was not a gentleman. He was very bold and brash.”

“But you know, when he passed, no one was able to step into his shoes,” she said. “That’s why I left Hollywood. I saw no chance for growth there. And I wanted to be an artist – my first love was the visual arts.”

Kim Novak posing for a portait in front of a photographer

Kim Novak said she struggled to be a sex symbol. (Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Novak admitted she struggled to be a sex symbol.

“I never grew up feeling that way,” she said. “I was kind of a female Jimmy Stewart. … And being a sex symbol is not easy. Now, I love wearing all these gorgeous clothes. And there were lots of them. I was excited to wear Rita Hayworth’s gowns and all these things. It was exciting and thrilling. But I didn’t like that the studio wanted me to be a sex symbol because it wasn’t who I really was.”

Kim Novak wearing a light grey suit sitting next to James Stewart in a darker suit on set

Kim Novak and Jimmy Stewart on the set of the movie “Vertigo” in 1958. (Richard C. Miller/Donaldson Collection/Getty Images)

“A sex symbol has seen everything in the world, and they’ve experienced everything in the world,” she continued. “That’s not who I was. I felt like I was seeing the world for the first time. And I wanted to experience everything in the world for the first time. And I didn’t like all the heavy makeup they wanted me to wear because it covered up who I was. It would be like Jimmy Stewart putting on all kinds of makeup and flashy clothes. It wasn’t who he was. So, I was frustrated in that way.”


Kim Novak posing next to one of her paintings in a green gown

Kim Novak posing with one of her paintings in Prague. (Matej Divizna/Getty Images)

Novak has found refuge in southern Oregon where she’s surrounded by nature. She happily paints far away from the glaring media spotlight.

Tragedy struck in 2020 when veterinarian Robert Malloy, her husband of 44 years, passed away.

Kim Novak leaning next to her husband Robert Malloy

Kim Novak and Robert Malloy were married from 1976 until his death in 2020. (LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images)

Today, she’s looking forward to connecting with fans again.

“I’m still doing all the same things I did in my 30s and 40s,” she chuckled. “I still ride my horses. The only difference is that everything is slowed down. My dogs always keep me laughing and having fun. I feel blessed. I’ve been blessed. And I thank the Lord really for allowing me to be healthy and allowing me to experience the joy of life. And life doesn’t end after you leave Hollywood. In some ways, it’s just the beginning.”

Stephanie Nolasco covers entertainment at


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