Why Kim Novak Remains Unsatisfied?
It isn’t at all unusual for the girl with the lavender personality to get three phone calls from three fascinating men in the space of a few hours in the evening.
For instance . . . the phone rings . . . and a liquid voice, enough to make most hearts skip a beat, says, “What does it mean—this going steady? Will you please explain to me what it means?”
Mario Bandini was on the phone. He was calling Kim Novak, calling from thousands of miles away, from Italy. He was very upset. Mario felt he had reason to be upset.
His friends had shown him a photograph of beautiful Kim Novak, the girl he calls “my little angel,” and the little angel was looking up at Mac Krim. The caption read, Kim Novak and Mac Krim are going steady. And Mario’s friends had said to him, “How can you still be so interested in this girl, when she is going steady with someone else?”
“Mario was afraid,” admitted Kim, “that I might be married to Mac Krim. I had told him about Mac, but the phrase ‘going steady’ confused him. When I assured him I wasn’t married, he felt a lot less upset.”
Five minutes after this call ended, the phone in Kim’s new lavender apartment rang again. This time it was Frank Sinatra. “Kim,” said the voice famous the world over for love songs, “I’ve recorded a new song especially for you. It’s called . . . . . . . ”—Kim won’t share the name of the song with anyone— “Whenever you hear me sing it from now on,” Frank said, “you’ll know I’m singing it to you and you alone.”
Frank hung up, but the phone rang again. This time it was Mac Krim calling. “Kimeee darling,” he said—he spells her name with three e’s—“how’ve you been, and how have your rehearsals for the Jeanne Eagelspicture been going?”
“I don’t know,” said Kim. “I’ve been acting real crazy. Every once in a while I get so wrapped up in the part I forget I’m me. I feel like saying to people, ‘How dare you interrupt a great actress like me, Jeanne Eagels?’ ”
“You’ll get over it,” Mac laughed. “But remember, I love the girl I used to know as Marilyn. I wouldn’t love you the way I do, Kimee, if I didn’t find Marilyn hiding in the girl the world knows as Kim.”
Her name has been coupled so often with these three—and she sees others too—that you can’t help wondering: which is it—Mac, Mario or Frank? Is she in love with any of them? Why doesn’t she marry one?
What have these men meant to her? What qualities in them appealed to her? And what have they done for her?
So far ’most everyone has only guessed at the answers, and so far only Kim herself really knew.
Now you have them, too, ’cause here they are, right from the angel’s mouth:
“I admire Frank Sinatra,” she said: “I am fascinated by Mario. And I love Mac Krim. Remember, I’ve known him the longest—for three years.
“However, three years ago, I was much more ready to marry and settle down. Now, something new has entered my life and I’m not ready for marriage. Maybe I have some more growing up to do.
“Since I can’t find everything I want in one man, I go out with several men—not only Mac, Mario and Frank, but others, too. Since no one man seems to have everything I want in a man, I’m perfectly willing to see several men. Each man I go with fulfills a different need in me.”
What men mean to Kim
The truth is that men have given Kim Novak the inner emotional security she sought in vain as a child. Her test for her movie contract included a monologue in which she told what she wanted out of life: to love and be loved. “The words were just the way I feel,” Kim said later.
In her childhood Kim had never felt completely accepted. Because she wore her hair in blond braids and most of the children in her neighborhood had permanents already; because her clothes were hand-stitched by her old-fashioned grandmother instead of being bought at stores, Kim looked and felt different. And the mocking laughter of the other children always rang in her ears.
“Mac,” said Kim, “has had a great deal to do with helping me be happy.
“It is so nice to have someone who likes you, not just because of how you look, or because you are a star—but because it’s you.
“I like to be casual and informal, and he’s that type of man. I don’t like to prepare for dates, but to do things on impulse.
“Where I used to feel left out as a child, and disliked for being different, Mac made me feel that I could be myself with him—and that he liked me that way. He made me feel accepted at a nice, casual level.
“And he is so honest with me.
“When I’d been on tour, I’d found that most people aren’t like that. There are many who are willing to say, ‘Everything’s fine,’ when it isn’t, and they know it.
“But it’s so comfortable to ask Mac if he likes something and get a straight out-and-out no. And if he says yes, I know he means yes—not maybe and not no, but I don’t know how to say it.
“Like when I was placed under contract, I asked him one night, ‘Do you think I’ll ever be able to amount to anything in this business?’
“ ‘No, I don’t,’ he said.
“My heart sank. He went on: ‘You just haven’t what it takes to be a success in show business. You are too shy, too quiet.‘ Mac owns several theatres, and he knows, I figured.
Anyways, I went back to Benno Schneider, my dramatic coach, and told him what Mac had said. I was pretty blue.
“Though it’s good to have someone like Mac honest enough to knock down your opinion of yourself when he believes he’s right, it’s also good to have someone who will help build you up. Benno reassured me. He said that he was sure I had what it takes to become an actress.
To prove a point
“Of course, I’m glad Mac was wrong. But that isn’t the point. He accepted me as a woman he was happy to be with; he helped build up my faith in myself as a woman. Even though he thought I’d never amount to anything as an actress, that honesty was good for me. I tried harder to prove a point.
“Mac and I have a wonderful relationship. He’s the only man who has known me as Marilyn Novak, before I became a movie star, and who also knows me as Kim. Other men know only part of my personality.
“And he’s the only one to whom I can say, ‘I’ve got five minutes. Won’t you please come by and talk to me? Then I must dash home.’
“Or if we have a date and I’ve got to stand him up, I can say, ‘I’ve got to study my script tonight,’ and he’ll be very understanding.
“And it isn’t that he’s the kind of person on whose shoulder I can cry, the kind I know will always stand by no matter what happens.
“I don’t think a girl should ever think of any man she goes with as being old reliable. You have to try to please a man, and if you think of him as being steadfast no matter what you do, you might not make an effort to please him. I wouldn’t like anyone who was just old reliable. Who wants an old-dog-tray type of character? Not me. To me Mac stands for love, for companionship, for honesty.”
Then you ask her what Frank’s fascination is.
“I like to go out with several different kinds of men. My feeling toward Frank is mostly one of admiration. He’s seen so much that it’s interesting to be with him, and with his friends. They’re bright, alert and sharp, just as he is.”
Knowing Frank Sinatra, you know his reputation with women, so the thought comes that maybe it’s because he’s hard to get that makes him so wanted.
Does Kim find it intriguing that he’s hard to hold?
The faintest gleam of yellow comes into Kim’s eyes. They’re fascinating eyes. Most of the time they look hazel. But they change color frequently. When Kim is happy, her eyes are soft green; when she’s angry, they’re a blazing yellow.
Kim answered, “I don’t think that the fact that any man is hard to hold is intriguing!”
So you ask her the next question; isn’t Kim in love with Sinatra?
“No,” she said.
Hasn’t she been in love with or infatuated with him?
A close friend of Kim’s, asked about all the gossip items that had told how madly infatuated Kim supposedly was, said “Those stories make me sick. For some reason, many of the columnists wanted to believe that Kim was infatuated with Frank, instead of the other way ’round!”
Is Kim jealous of Sinatra?
As for the Frank Sinatra jazz, it’s hard to know the truth.
Several months ago, when Frank was entertaining in Las Vegas, some of Kim’s close friends thought she might be flipping her lid over him when she flew out to see him on a couple of week ends.
But this is Kim’s explanation: “My mother wanted to see Las Vegas, and I thought it would be more fun for her to see it from the inside out, rather than as an outsider looking in. When could there have been a better time to take her and give her an inside look at entertainment in Las Vegas, than when someone I knew was entertaining there? She loved it! I flew to Vegas the second time because one of my best friends and her husband were going.”
But what about all those stories of Kim’s jealousy, like the time she’s supposed to have blown a gasket when she thought Frank had taken her back to her hotel early because he had a later date with someone else?
“Ridiculous!” answers Kim. “It’s all untrue. That’s why I don’t read such stories. One night at Las Vegas, I was very tired. So at midnight I said, ‘I’m sorry I can’t stay for the late show, Frank. Please walk me back to where I am staying. So he did; but he had to return, to rejoin his friends. That didn’t bother me. Why should it?
“As for being jealous of other women—what nonsense! Altogether, Frank and I have had only five dates.
“Nor was Frank sore at me for asking him to take me back to my room early. When he’s with a girl, Frank is very sensitive to the way she feels. He is also a very attentive, very tender person.”
But Kim is candid about Frank, and she doesn’t put him on a pedestal. Maybe it’s because she and Frank are somewhat alike temperamentally.
“We both have so many ups and downs | in our moods that I can appreciate the fact that he is quick-tempered—but quick to laugh and get over it. I recognize these traits in him because I have them myself. I’m too quick—too quick to get angry, quick to laugh, quick to cry.”
“Ah, Mario! He is so colorful. I was first introduced to him at a party as Count Mario. Later, he told me, ‘By the way, I am not a count.’ Personally, however, I think he is more glamorous than any count. A man doesn’t necessarily have to do anything to earn a title—he may just inherit it. But Mario is an engineer, and one of the hardest working men I have ever known and he comes from a very wealthy family so he could be a playboy if he wanted to.”
There are some who think that Kim really doesn’t care much for Mario. If she did, she wouldn’t tell him to postpone his visit to this country until April just because she is busy preparing for the Jeanne Eagels story.
Was this a polite brush-off for Mario?
First Jeanne Eagels, then Kim and Frank making Pal Joey together in March. And then on the heels of that—Mario.
“April should be very interesting,” said Kim, and her eyes turned green. But she obviously wasn’t thinking of Frank at this moment—just of Mario.
She has a song she shares with Mario too, an Italian song called “Carezzami”—and it means Caress Me.
Mario’s appeal for Kim lies in his romantic nature, “which proves my pink light theory,” Kim laughs.
Kim has changed all the white bulbs in her apartment for lights with a soft pink glow. Obviously, she believes that if you look at things from the rosy point of view, they’ll appear more charming, more romantic.
“To Mario,” she said, “everything is just rosy. He expresses himself in a flowery and pretty way, but he seems to mean what he says.”
He likes to choose gifts that will cause Kim’s eyes to change color—and turn the soft green that means she’s pleased.
There was one gift he was very eager to give her, but could never find. Early in their friendship, he learned that Kim wanted to take back the figure of an angel with her to America.
“We looked everywhere,” said Kim, “including a place on the Left Bank in Paris that had all kinds of figurines. Of all the angels in this world, I couldn’t find one with the certain quality I was looking for.
“Mario says when he comes in the Spring, he will try to bring me a purple angel, or else some other angel that will be just right. Having been with me through hundreds of stores, he knows that just any old angel won’t do. When Mario comes, I’m sure he’ll bring the right one. I can’t describe it, but I’ll know it when I see it.”
A world full of men
“Maybe,” she added, “that’s the trouble with me and men. I’m looking for an angel, and there aren’t any.
“I’m an idealist,” continued Kim thoughtfully. “Perhaps that’s one of the reasons I put off marriage. When I marry, I wouldn’t want to be disappointed or disappointing.
“I don’t think I’m looking for a perfect man. But it’s not just making up my mind about Mac, or Frank, or Mario. It’s having to decide about these three and a whole world of men who haven’t come into my life yet! And whom I hope to meet some day.”
In the meantime, she has Mac, a wonderful companion, who has given her confidence in her ability to interest a very fine, particular man; Sinatra, tender, compassionate, hot-tempered, playing the field, but always intellectually and temperamentally exciting, and Mario, the poetic romanticist from Italy.
Is it possible to find all this fulfillment in one man? Or should a girl settle for the man who most nearly fulfills her needs, accepting the fact that she can get along without the other traits? Before Kim marries, she may, as she herself admits, have to learn to dream less and grow up more. Just a little bit more.
—BY DORA ALBERT
Kim Novak will soon be seen in Columbia’s Jeanne Eagels and Pal Joey.
It is a quote. MODERN SCREEN MAGAZINE APRIL 1957