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Kathy Nolan Tells: “Why Nick Afraid To Get And I Are Married?”

The ring I wear on the chain around my neck is a wedding band. Nick Adams gave it to me.

No, we’re not married. Gossip columnists have had our romance on and off for months; some have said that we see each other only for publicity reasons. None of this is true. The truth is:

Nick and I love each other.

We see each other constantly.

I know Nick would make a wonderful husband.

But—we are afraid to get married. . . .

Back when we first met, back before we ever thought of marriage, back before we had reason to be afraid, I didn’t think he’d make a wonderful husband, or wonderful anything. In fact, I thought he was fresh and brash and quite a character.

He was doing a Richard Diamond, Private Detective show on the same lot where I am filming The Real McCoys. Richard Whorf was directing his film, and as usual when I have time and there is a fine director on the lot, I go over to watch him work.

When Nick and I were introduced, he played it cool, acting the part of a man-about-town. I couldn’t blame him. My McCoy outfit—cotton dress, high buttoned shoes, and my hair long and stringy—is hardly designed to get me a glamour award. But his attitude burned me up anyway.

“So this is the great Nick Adams,” I told Tony Martinez, a regular in The Real McCoys. “Who does he think he is?”

“Nick Adams,” Tony grinned.

Three months went by before we met again, when Nick was making another telefilm. This time I happened to be all dressed up in a sheath dress, high heel shoes, with my hair nicely combed, and my face made up.

Nick’s eyes lit up. “Haven’t we met?” he burst out when I walked on the set.

This time I played it cool. “Could be—”

He choked a little. Obviously he didn’t like my answer!

When I watched him work that afternoon, my opinion of him made a complete about-face. I’ve been in this business long enough to realize that he is a truly fine, dedicated, extremely capable actor. All the clowning stopped the moment he stepped before the camera. I was impressed.

But he slipped back into his old attitude when he walked over to me after the scene. “You must be a fine actress,” he grinned.

I didn’t know what to make of it. And it showed.

“Only a great actress could get away wearing an outfit like you do in The Real McCoys. . . .”

I loved his sense of humor, and I liked something else. So many people in this town look anywhere but in your face when they talk to you. Nick looks straight at you. But I still played it cool. . . .

Apparently that didn’t discourage him. Because the next afternoon I got a call from him in the middle of rehearsal.

First date

“How would you like to go to the Ice Capades with me tonight?” he asked self-assuredly.

“Who is this?” I came back.

There was a moment’s silence. Why—this is Nick. . . .”

“Nick . . . Who?”

I knew very well Nick Who but I couldn’t resist having a little fun.

“Nick Scheckenbrot,” he mumbled. “Now how about the Ice Capades tonight?”

“Do you think you can call a girl you never dated at two in the afternoon and expect her to go out with you the same night?” I cried out.

Tony Martinez happened to be standing next to me while this was going on. “What do you have to lose?” he urged.

“A perfectly good evening,” I whispered as I held my hand over the receiver. But curiosity won me over. I had to see what Nick was like.

“All right,” I told him. “I’ll go.”

Usually when a date picks me up, I’m ready for him. I really have no choice since I live in a one-room apartment, with no place to change. But we worked late that day and Nick was on time. When I opened the door I’d just slipped on my dress, but I had a towel wrapped around my hair and no make-up on. I didn’t look much improved from a McCoy.

Nick seemed startled. In fact he was speechless.

“You might as well see me at my worst!” I exclaimed. “Sit down on the couch while I get ready . . .” and I turned to go to the bathroom to fix my hair and put on make-up.

“Don’t!” Nick called out before I had taken more than a couple of steps.

“Don’t what?”

“Don’t put on make-up. I like you this way. . . .”

So I just put on lipstick while Nick even insisted I fix my hair in the living room, so he could watch me.

Nick is a different kind of person when you’re alone with him, with no one else around for whom he feels obliged to play a scene. He is nice, quiet—and very sincere. Sure, once in a while he starts acting up but all I have to say is “Slow down, boy . . . slow down . . .” and he’ll grin and cut out the act. 

When we arrived at the Pan Pacific, we ran into a number of people he or I or both of us knew. To my surprise, Nick kept telling every one about my show and how well I was doing. He never mentioned No Time For Sergeants, the film he had just completed, and in which—I later found out—he gave one of the most delightful performances I have ever seen on the screen. This was another tendency I hadn’t expected—but which I liked. It’s most unusual for an actor. . . .

After the Ice Capades we went to the La Scala restaurant for a bite to eat and with it set a precedent we’ve stuck to ever since whenever we’re both in town. Every Wednesday night we have dinner there to celebrate another ‘weeklyversary.’

Sometimes it takes weeks and months to get to know a person. Occasionally you can see someone for years, and still don’t know him. I felt I knew Nick after our first date. And what I saw I liked.

The first thing that intrigued me was a certain helplessness on his part which is in stark contrast to the self-assurance he pretends to have when he is with a group of people. Nick needs to be reassured, be taken care of, looked after. He’s the first person who brought out the mother instinct in me!

He asks for my opinion on clothes, and I give it to him. I remind him to eat properly and discard some of the foolish health-diet fads he’s been trying. I remind him to send out his laundry and dry cleaning. He is a very sensitive person, who constantly worries whether or not people like him—which is one of the reasons he is ‘on’ so much of the time. I try to assure him that he’s got enough to offer to be able to be himself.

At the same time, Nick can be very manly, very strong, very determined.

I found that out when I went through some difficulties with my agent. Nick insisted on driving me to his office and then stayed in the car while I discussed my problems upstairs. Knowing he was there helped. But later, when something had to be ironed out, Nick took it upon himself to come with me and speak in my behalf. And he made his point—to my advantage.

Nick has another tendency I like. He is a sentimentalist. Unlike a lot of men, he’s not ashamed to show it.

A few days after we first met, we were invited on a publicity junket to Palmdale. We were eating supper that night at a huge banquet table, with about thirty other people, all chattering away.

I don’t know why I hadn’t noticed the I-D bracelet he was wearing before, but when I did, I became curious about it. “It’s from Natalie and R.J.,” he told me. “It means more to me than anything I have. . . .”

Some special gifts

He hesitated a moment, then slipped it off and put it on my wrist. I had a hard time holding back my tears.

A few days later, while celebrating another weeklyversary, he studied the tiny antique cross I was wearing on a simple gold chain around my neck. It was given to me by a close friend a long, long time ago, and I was attached to it as much as Nick had been to his bracelet.

“I would like to have it,” he said simply. I knew what he meant. It wasn’t the value of it. He wanted it because of what it meant to me, and what it would mean to him if I gave it to him. He now has it.

What he didn’t know was that I had something else in mind for him—a serpent ring with two rubies in it, a gift given to me when I was fifteen years old—and probably my most valuable possession. Trouble is, the night I wanted him to have it, I got so angry at Nick that I almost changed my mind. . . .

I had looked forward to an evening with him alone, eating dinner by candlelight in a small restaurant on Sunset Boulevard, and then just before we left, I’d give it to him. It didn’t quite work out that way.

When he picked me up he announced, “We’re meeting Natalie and Bob at Romanoff’s.”

Seeing my cross expression, he wanted to know, “What’s the matter with Romanoff’s?”


“Then why are you mad at me?”

“Because you could have checked with me before making any plans!”

We went, we had a good time, and I did give him the ring when we were alone again. He was so sweet when he thanked me. I couldn’t have remained angry. . . .

And the following week I got my wedding ring. . . .

I was doubly touched by Nicky’s gift because as far as I know, he has never bought anything on his own before. Even for the tiniest gift he would take someone else along to get an opinion. On the slightest doubt he’d exchange it. This time he knew just what he wanted—without any one’s help. . . .

All day long I knew he was up to something because of the big production he made about it. He had taken me to his publicist’s office—and left me there while he had ‘something to do.’ Since my car was at home, I had to wait.

The day had started badly for me, with a number of career problems that I couldn’t get off my mind. I tried to hide them when Nick came back, all smiles.

“You know what day this is, don’t you?” he grinned as we took off.

“Sure,” I acknowledged. “Our weeklyversary. Are we going to La Scala?”

“You bet. . . .”

There was a mysterious silence before he blurted out, ‘“Wouldn’t you like a little more security than you have now . . . ?”

“What girl wouldn’t!”

But somehow I switched back into my distressed mood till Nick snapped me out of it a second time. “I’ll have something for you tonight that’ll make you feel better. . . .” he promised.

The gift I couldn’t accept

We stopped at the Spellings’—Aaron Spelling and Carolyn Jones—before we headed to La Scala. I could tell by the way Nick pulled Aaron aside and whispered to him that he got something off his mind that obviously concerned me. But he didn’t speak loud enough for me to hear, and I tried to listen!

The usually long dinner stretched into an eternity with Nick ordering everything from antipasto to spumoni and wine for every dish. At last he asked me to close my eyes and give him my left hand. Then he pushed what felt like a much-too-large ring on my finger.

When I opened my eyes I saw it was a wedding band, with five sparkling diamonds mounted on it. “It’s beautiful,” I cried out, and hugged him.

“You like it?”

“Like it? I love it! . . . But I can’t accept that!”

“Why not?”

“It’s a wedding ring!”

“A wedding ring?” Nick gasped.

I nodded. Later I found out that he really didn’t know what it was when he had purchased it. I think I knew what he meant it to be, though, and I knew what was going on in his mind—as any girl knows what’s going on in her fellow’s mind, under those circumstances.

Nick wanted to get married—and he also didn’t want to. He wanted me to have a ring, but he was scared to be tied down.

“For the time being, let’s call it a friendship ring,” I suggested.

His face brightened. “That’s a good idea! You can wear it on a chain around your neck . . .” He hesitated . . . “And when you get married, you can use it as a wedding ring.

It was serious, and it wasn’t. We talked about it that night, and we’ve discussed it since then. I think we both feel pretty much the same way:

We love each other. We would love to be married to each other. But we’re afraid, too. Marriage, difficult under the best of circumstances, is much more difficult in our position. We know the demands on us—the tensions, the frustrations, the ups and downs. Neither of us considers marriage on a trial-and-error basis, something to be rushed into and if it doesn’t work out—who cares? We are serious, we want to get married only once, we want to have children. And so we have to be sure. . . .

Actually, we are opposites in more ways than we are alike. But this does not frighten, us from getting married. It’s these differences that make being together more fun.

Recently, we were on a publicity trip to Riverside, California. Shortly after lunch, a photographer had asked Nick and me to pose by the pool. As we precariously balanced on the diving board, I suddenly felt a shove and went into the water, head first. My beautiful hairdo!

“It was an accident,’ Nick screeched when I came up for air.

“I bet it was!” I snapped angrily. I got out of the pool and went upstairs to fix up my hair as well as I could.

I was still annoyed when I came down again. No sooner had I gotten close to the pool when Nick pushed me in. “This time I meant it,” he cried out.

I couldn’t help laughing. I’d never me anyone quite like him!

I have a temper. Nick doesn’t. I feel that theater is the backbone of acting; Nick thinks there’s nothing like movies. Yet we both feel there is nothing duller than two people seeing eye to eye on everything—professionally and privately.

I must admit that in looking at marriage—even in general terms—Nick has the typical male attitude. He is far more frightened by it than I am! “Acting is so unpredictable,” he confessed one night when he brought me home. “I’d be afraid to have kids and not be able to take care of them. . . .”

“Don’t you think everyone feels that way?”

“I wouldn’t know,” he said discouraged. “I’m not every one . . . how do you feel about it?”

“I feel that there is Someone to look after all of us, all the time. .. .” Maybe I have a stronger religious belief than Nick has. I don’t know. We’ve never talked about it, and he’s never gone to church with me. But I guess most girls feel more strongly about it than fellows do. . . .

Curiously enough, usually I’m the one who is discouraged more easily, while Nick can rationalize things. Everything, it seems, but marriage.

In addition, I don’t believe in engagements. I want to be married, or I want to be single. I don’t like the in-between status. That’s why Nick and I have agreed to call the rings we have given each other just friendship rings. Although the few other people we’ve dated since we met have been no more than friends, I want Nick to feel as free to date others—if he really wants to—as I am.

At this time, neither of us can tell for certain what will happen. But I am sure of two things: that Nick would make a wonderful husband; and that, wonderful though he is—I am still afraid to marry him now. . . . 


You can see Nick in NO TIME FOR SERGEANTS for Warners.