Hollywood’s Golden Age is tarnished by abuse.
Kim Novak, the crown jewel of 1950s cinema who starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo,” recalls waking up dazed and naked after having only one drink at a party hosted by actor Tony Curtis — father of Golden Globe winner Jamie Lee Curtis — in 1958.
“Tony Curtis had brought me a drink,” Novak, 89, explained in a bombshell interview with the Hollywood Reporter.
“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.”
Novak believes her drink was spiked.
“I think Tony Curtis did it,” she said. Curtis died in 2010.
But without helplines such as the #MeToo movement — a social-justice outcry that would become a forceful demand to end sexual harassment against women some 60 years later — she stayed silent.
“People didn’t talk about things like that, but I could never figure it out … I’ve never blacked out in my entire life,” the “Picnic” star said.
When she woke up the next morning, Novak said, “I’ll just tell you the honest truth: I didn’t have my clothes on.”
The Golden Globe winner ultimately stepped away from the limelight in the mid-’60s, after then-Columbia Pictures studio head Harry Cohn died.
Cohn regularly referred to Novak as the “dumb, fat Polack,” she recalled in the interview — although, as the story notes, she was neither dumb, fat nor Polish.
He also threatened violence for openly sharing an intimate friendship with entertainment icon Sammy Davis Jr., a black man.
And while she readily admits to having endured several “#MeToo experiences” at the hands of Hollywood high rollers, Novak said Cohn wasn’t one of her perpetrators.
Besides a quick return to the spotlight as an awards presenter at the Oscars in 2014 — during which Donald Trump tweet-suggested that she should “sue her plastic surgeon” — Novak has spent the latter half of her life painting.
Her watercolor, pastel and oil creations are on public display at the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio.
Hitchcock’s “Vertigo,” which unseated “Citizen Kane” as the greatest movie of all time in 2012 in a Sight & Sound poll, and the potency of the #MeToo movement inspire her craft.
If she hadn’t spent those years rolling with the punches of old Hollywood, Novak said, “I’d be painting and doing just what I’m doing now in art. I would’ve had a few more years up on it, too.”