A rare combination of icy aloofness and earthy sensuality helped to make actress Kim Novak one of the top box office stars in Hollywood during the 1950s and early 1960s. The former model was originally envisioned as a replacement for Marilyn Monroe by Columbia chief Harry Cohn, but Novak floundered in her early roles, which required her to provide eye candy and little else. Later films like “Picnic” (1955) and “The Man with the Golden Arm” (1955) gave her the chance to display her dramatic and even vulnerable sides, but it was Alfred Hitchcock who provided her with an enduring showcase as the object of James Stewart’s affections in “Vertigo” (1958). Sadly, her career began to fade just as it had reached its peak; by the ’60s, she was floundering in lukewarm comedies and melodramas, which precipitated a hiatus from acting at the end of the decade. Novak made occasional returns to film in the 1970s and 1980s; none of which could match the intoxicating spell she cast on moviegoers during her heyday three decades prior. Her absence from the public eye only increased the allure of her legend, and preserved her status as one of postwar Hollywood’s most mysterious and appealing actresses. TCM.