LOS ANGELES – She was the Angelina Jolie of her time – a sex symbol with box office draw, reluctant superstar steeped in controversy, and an individual who never seemed quite at home in the glitz and glamour that is Hollywood.
So in 1965, “Vertigo” star Kim Novak turned her back on Tinseltown for a much quieter existence on a sprawling 240-acre ranch in southern Oregon.
“I am the person who has left Hollywood and is really living a wonderful life away,” she told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “I came back for a visit, but now back to work.”
It has been several decades since Novak, 79, ventured back into the entertainment industry, preferring to fill her days painting, tending to her five horses, her herd of Ilamas, and husband of 36 years, Dr. Robert Malloy, a retired veterinarian.
So its not surprising she advises today’s working actresses to create a base away from the Hollywood glare.
“I see a lot of people who aren’t living there. They are able to live outside of L.A. and then come back just to work,” Novak continued. “There is a lot more quality of life for those people.”
In her golden era of the fifties and sixties, this screen siren was consistently the center of scandal and gossip from leaked rumors that she and director Alfred Hitchcock were fighting on the “Vertigo” set, to murmurs of affairs with a President.
“I actually wonder now if they keep closed sets or not, because it would be difficult to act with all the paparazzi around. When I was working a lot of times we had closed sets. When we didn’t, it was difficult to have press breathing down your neck,” Novak noted. “I think it is unfortunate, the press has to always sensationalize everything for actors and politics, rather than reporting.”
But one thing she does look back on with fondness was her romantic relationship with Frank Sinatra.
“He was a special type of guy, a very colorful individual and very independent,” Novak said. “But still a romantic type of guy.”
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is celebrating Novak’s extraordinary life with an entire evening of programming on March 6, including a one-hour interview and four of her most memorable movies.
“Kim Novak had one of the really interesting careers in the movie business. Her rise in Hollywood in the 1950’s was meteoric,” TCM’s Robert Osborne says in the introduction to the special. “She went from being a fledging model to a full-blown superstar in the space of just two short years. By 1956, she was considered the movie’s number one box office star in the world.”
But the legendary actress is still somewhat nervous when it comes to seeing herself on the screen.
“I haven’t seen it (the interview) yet. We taped it last year. I am very anxious to see it,” she added. “We talked about everything from soup to nuts, family, Hollywood, really everything.”
TCM will air its night dedicated to Kim Novak on Wednesday, March 6 kicking off at 8pm.
Danielle Jones-Wesley contributed to this report.