Kim Novak Recalls Criticism She Received For Dating Sammy Davis Jr.
Kim Novak may have left Hollywood behind in 1966, but now she is sharing some stories from her time making movies. Best known for her role in Alfred Hitchcock‘s Vertigo, she caused a ruckus when she started dating Sammy Davis Jr. in the ’50s, during a time when interracial relationships were often criticized and interracial marriage was even illegal in parts of the country.
Davis Jr. and Novak met at a Chicago nightclub and became close after being invited to the same party by Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. Novak shared, “I loved him. He was a person that had a youthful innocence about him. Now, I know no one ever saw him that way, but I did. He had a boyish quality, and I loved that about him.”
Despite their instant connection, it wasn’t easy. The studios were upset by their relationship but Novak pushed back. She revealed, “I resisted because I didn’t believe that was correct. While people were feeling a certain way, I also felt people needed to change. And I felt that by seeing Sammy and Sammy seeing me, that we could help people understand and accept interracial relationships of any kind.”
“I was feeling like I was on the edge of being able to help people to be more accepting of all races and relationships of all kinds,” she added. “I felt I was doing the right thing by doing that. I felt that Sammy and I were at the start of helping people understand that this is not wrong. A man is a man, no matter what skin color he has. A woman is a woman, no matter what skin color she has.”
Davis Jr. and Novak dated for about a year. While she shared that she loved him, she admitted that she was never truly in love with him. They both went on to marry other people. She believes that regardless of how long or how serious their relationship was, it changed some perspectives of people in America at the time.