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©WENN / Kim Novak
© WENN / Kim Novak
Kim Novak speaks out against Oscar night 'bullies'
By LYNN ELBER , AP Television Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kim Novak says that cruel jabs about how she looked during the Oscar ceremony amounted to bullying that left her crushed at first, but then determined to speak out in protest.

"It really did throw me into a tailspin and it hit me hard," Novak, 81, said in a telephone interview Thursday, after she released an open letter condemning remarks by Donald Trump and others about her appearance.

In her letter, Novak said: "I will no longer hold myself back from speaking out against bullies. We can't let people get away with affecting our lives."

She had initially remained silent after serving as a presenter with Matthew McConaughey at the March 2 Academy Awards because the comments were so painful, Novak said from her home near the Rogue River in Oregon.

"For days, I didn't leave the house, and it got to me like it gets kids and teenagers" who are attacked, she said.

Trump tweeted during the Oscars that Novak should "sue her plastic surgeon," while others noted how unnaturally smooth-faced the veteran star of "Vertigo" and other classic films looked — even though actresses are pressured to look forever young.

"I'm not going to deny that I had fat injections in my face. They seemed far less invasive than a face lift," Novak wrote in her letter, adding, "In my opinion, a person has a right to look as good as they can, and I feel better when I look better."

Novak's Oscar night speech, which some observers characterized as halting, was the result of a pill she had taken to relax and a three-day fast, she said in her letter.

Novak wasn't the only older actress targeted at the Oscars. She was disturbed, she said, when ceremony host Ellen DeGeneres singled out audience member Liza Minnelli, 68, and pretended to mistake her for a male impersonator. "Good job, sir," DeGeneres said.

Novak said she retains dark memories of her years as a young actress in Hollywood, when she suffered from untreated bipolar disorder and was acutely sensitive to the industry's casual snideness and harsh reviews of her lesser films.

But the Oscar sniping took her aback, Novak said, because she had been given such a gracious welcome during a visit last year to Cannes, France, and gets warm notes from fans.

"I thought, 'Perhaps Hollywood is ready to receive me in a different way.' I was just not prepared for such a negative reaction and it just caught me off guard," she said.

Comments spread fast and far online, she said, and people don't realize you're listening. "It goes over in such a public way now," she said.

It was a commitment to appear at the TCM Film Festival last week that changed her mind about going public with her concerns. Novak, an artist with an upcoming exhibit at the Butler Institute of American Art in Ohio, also showed one of her works, a "Vertigo"-related painting, at the festival.

She was well received during her initial appearance but felt she had to "take the bull by the horns" and deal openly with the treatment of her and Minnelli, she said. Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne agreed to discuss it during an interview that preceded a festival screening Saturday of her film "Bell, Book and Candle."

Novak, who said she takes medication for her disorder, decided afterward that she wanted to spread her message more widely and asked her longtime manager, Sue Cameron, to release the letter.

"I realized that I had to stand up not only for myself but for other people that don't have the courage to do so," Novak said. "I feel like I have a mission."



Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Apr 18, 2014 1:23AM
Apr 17, 2014 7:31PM
Bravo!!! A woman worth listening to.  Bullying is universal with no age requirements.  It is not just preteens and teens - supposed "grownups" are just as bad, if not worse.  The old saying  falls true in Trump's case "money can't buy class."  
Apr 18, 2014 12:08AM
Good for you Kim Novak!  You are absolutely correct, the hurtful remarks are bullying.  I was shocked, too, how Ellen humiliated Liza who was there to accept an award in honor of her mother.  I hope you make more public appearances.  Your fans have missed you.
Apr 18, 2014 12:21AM

Trump need to take a good look at himself in a full length mirror and possibly might want to get some plastic surgery himself, due to the buull dog look simular to that of the English Prime Minister who was call the English Bull Dog in WWII.

Nice to know Kim lives up here by the Rogue River as I do, and I am a fan of long standing and she looks much better than a certain ex-wife of Trumps even if she is younger than Kim, and as was said money can't buy you class, either you have it or you don't and Trump has the money buy as you can tell not much else, except in his own small mind coupled with an over grow inferiority complex which every bully has, oh well what can you do except study the source and pay it no attention.

And Kim keep on and tell it like it is bullies suck, and I have know many of them and when needed I became a bigger bully than they were and vry kindly bullied their sorry butts.

Apr 18, 2014 3:44AM
I'm not sure that everyone got the Ellen joke.
Liza is an icon that has been imitated for years and years by drag queens all over the world in tribute. 
Ellen wasn't suggesting that Liza looked like a man. She was suggesting that someone was imitating her once again.
She could have made the same joke about Cher ( as lovely as she is ).
I suppose that if you've never been to a drag show you wouldn't have understood the reference.
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