Actress makes allegations over an incident at star’s Beverly Hills home in 1958
One of Hollywood’s brightest stars of the 1950s has accused actor Tony Curtis of spiking her drink at a party in his Beverly Hills home at the height of her fame, leaving her dazed and naked.
Actress Kim Novak, who played the female lead in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, made what could be one of the oldest #MeToo allegations as she recalled a 1958 soiree where she passed out.
“Tony Curtis had brought me a drink,” Miss Novak, now 88, told 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.”
Curtis was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars in the 1950s, appearing alongside Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot. He was married to actress Janet Leigh at the time, while Miss Novak was linked to singer Sammy Davis Jr, whom she met on the set of Vertigo.
Curtis and Miss Novak would go on to star together in television drama The Third Girl from the Left in 1973.
“I think Tony Curtis did it. I don’t want to think Sammy did that,” Miss Novak goes on to say later in the interview.
Talking about the morning after, she said: “I’ll just tell you the honest truth: I didn’t have my clothes on. People didn’t talk about things like that, but I could never figure it out... I’ve never blacked out in my entire life.”
Miss Novak said she was encouraged by the recent #MeToo movement to speak out about the incident, despite the amount of time that has passed. Curtis, the father of Jamie Lee Curtis, died aged 85 in 2010 of a cardiac arrest.
Following widespread sexual abuse allegations against director Harvey Weinstein in early October 2017, the movement began to spread as a hashtag on social media.
Widespread media coverage and discussion of sexual harassment, particularly in Hollywood, led to high-profile firings, as well as criticism and backlash.
Miss Novak, a multi-Golden Globe winner, stepped away from the limelight after filming The Third Girl from the Left. She talked about her decision to leave Hollywood, claiming the Columbia Pictures production company she was signed to “had no idea what to cast [her] in other than sexy glamour movies that [she] just didn’t want to be a part of. I wasn’t going to spend my time waiting around for something that may never happen when I felt I had so much more to give. And that was not the place to give it.”
Miss Novak is a keen painter and had been offered scholarships to the Art Institute of Chicago before signing with Columbia. Reflecting on how her life would have been different had she not been talent-spotted on the set of The French Line, she 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.”
She criticised Columbia, claiming she was made to feel like studio property and was not paid as much as her male co-stars. She said that one of the managers at Columbia would often summon her to his office by yelling at his secretary to send in the “dumb, fat Polack”, though she was neither dumb nor fat, nor Polish.
“It’s torture because they’re looking at the facade rather than looking at where you’re coming from,” she said of being typecast.
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