Nancy Kovack rose to fame after portraying Madea in Jason and the Argonauts. In addition to being a successful – yet reluctant – film star, she was also known for her work on iconic TV shows like Batman, Star Trek, and Bewitched.
She considered the ultimate dream girl back in the 60s despite the fact that her screen time typically pretty minimal. Her appearances were always memorable though as they typically revolved around sultry scenes that highlighted her sex appeal.
She had a jaw-dropping physique, the glamorous attitude of a diva, and phenomenal cheekbones that were the envy of many. She had what some call the ‘it factor. Additionally, she got the chance to work alongside legendary icons like Three Stooges, Vincent Price, Dean Martin, and even Elvis Presley. Can you imagine having all of those names as references on your resume?
Interestingly, when she was younger, she never had any real desire to become a big-time movie star. Instead, she grew up dreaming about becoming a model. But that didn’t stop the hand of providence from propelling her into full-on fame and fortune. Her tale is far too fascinating to gloss over. It’s practically begging to be told.
In case you’ve ever been curious whatever happened to her, this is Nancy Kovack’s story. So stick around for a minute. You won’t be disappointed. And who knows, you might even learn something along the way. Join Facts Verse to know the details about what happened to Nancy Kovack.
One Unforgettable Wedding
Nancy was born on March 11, 1935, in Flint, Michigan. Not only is she known for her beauty but she’s also quite the brainiac as well. She attended the University of Michigan when she just 15 she was hired on as a radio DJ at 16 and graduated from college when she was 19.
By the time she was 20, she had already won at least eight beauty pageants. She discovered by a talent agent when she attending a wedding during the late 1950s in New York City. After first pursuing a modeling career, she eventually landed the opportunity to be the Glee Girl on The Jackie Gleason Show. And just like that, a star was born.
Most people consider themselves lucky to catch the bouquet at a wedding but Nancy Kovack walked away from that one with a full-on career in show business.
Before we delve deeper into Nancy Novack’s life and career. Why not take a brief moment to show us a little support. The easiest way to do that is by giving this video a like and subscribing to our channel if you haven’t already. While you’re at it, go ahead and tap that little bell icon. That’ll turn on notifications so you can keep up with all of our latest videos.
And don’t go anywhere just yet. In a moment we’re going to be taking a closer look at a bitter court battle that Nancy Kovack dragged into in the late 90s. But what makes that case so interesting isn’t how it ended, but rather what it revealed about her finances. You’ll see what I’m talking about in a minute so stick around for a minute.
Nancy’s Career Really Took Off In The 50s
Eventually, she got the chance to appear on The Dave Garroway Show, Beat the clock, and The Today Show. She scored her first stage role in the Broadway production of The Disenchanted which eventually led to her signing with Columbia in 1959.
From that point on her career continued to blossom. She landed her first major TV role in the United States Steel Hour variety show. And then made her film debut in 1959s Strangers When We Meet opposite Kirk Douglas.
Kovack Had Numerous Risque Roles
In the 1960s, Nancy Kovack starred in quite a few movies and television shows. Some notable roles included parts in fantasy and adventure films like The Wild Westerners in 1962 and Great Sioux Massacre in 1965. You might also remember her from 1966s Tarzan and the Valley of Gold.
She often played the breathtakingly beautiful love interest that the star of those films would fawn over. Her big breakthrough moment came in 1963 when she co-starred in the classic horror film Diary of a Madman as the seductive model Odette Mallotte DuClasse.
Kovack Was Incredible As Madea
A lot of people would probably say that Kovack’s most significant role was in 1963s Jason and the Argonauts. Even though the film was a disappointment from a critical perspective. Ray Harryhausen’s stop motion animation elevated it to cult-classic status.
Sure, Kovack really couldn’t compete with the animated Hydra, Talos, and Skeleton warriors, but as far as the human characters in that film, she was by far the stand-out performer. As Colchis Madea, the High Priestess, she enchanted male audiences everywhere with her erotic dancing.
A couple of years later, she co-starred with Matt Helm in the parody spy film The Silencers as the voluptuous villain Barbara – a fierce, stone-faced killer who seduces her enemies before ending them.
Kovack Cameoed In Some Of the Biggest Films Of The 60s
For the remainder of the 60s, Kovack continued to star alongside some of the most prolific stars on TV. One of her most memorable roles was Sheila Sommers, Darrin Stephen’s ex-girlfriend, and Samantha’s arch-enemy on the hit sitcom Bewitched. Nancy Kovack later returned to the show to play Clio Vanita in the episode ‘Cousin Serena Strikes Again’.
On Star Trek, she played the interstellar seductress Nona. Spock, Captain Kirk, and the rest of the crew of the USS Enterprise come across her on a distant planet in the 1968 episode ‘A Private Little War’. She also played Rita Mitchell, a fictional actress who goes on a date with Tony on I Dream of Jeanie. Her character ends up making Jeanie so jealous that she tries to take up acting herself.
Nancy’s Early Retirement And Marriage
Kovack made her final appearance in a feature film in 1969. She played the wife of an astronaut in the science fiction film Marooned. She kept acting In television shows throughout the early 70s appearing in shows like Love, American Style, Ellery Queen, and Mannix. Her last two credits
were both in 1976 for the shows Bronk and Cannon.
In 1969, while filming Marooned, was introduced to Zubin Mehta, a music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. After a brief courtship, the couple got married. She officially retired from acting and has since lived a relatively private life with her husband.
Kovack briefly appeared back in the new in the 90s when she sued her former personal assistant, Susan McDougal for allegedly embezzling her money. She was acquitted of those charges in 1998. A countersuit filed by McDougal in 1999 for malicious prosecution ended in a settlement.
During those court proceedings, a picture of Novack emerged that highlighted her tendency to spend lavishly.
She Loved Flaunting Her Finances
When Nancy needed some plumbing work done at her Italian villa, she didn’t think twice before flying out her favorite plumber from LA to get the job done. Then there’s the time that she shelled out a hundred grand for her cousin’s wedding complete with an extravagant gazebo and koi pond. Oh yeah, and did we mention already that she also paid for that same cousin’s entire college tuition?
Years later, she brought her dog-walkers 12-year-old niece into her house to raise as her own. She spared no expense sending her out to costly boarding schools and summer camps. And even hired a personal shopper to take her out to buy new clothes whenever she wanted.
Nancy is undeniably a giving person, but some might say that she is generous to a fault. It can also be argued that her giving nature coupled with her naivety has led to her taken advantage of on more than one occasion.
When McDougal and Novack faced off at court over those embezzlement charges, a different picture began to emerge. Novack insisted that McDougal had intentionally pilfered her finances. The defense attorney suggested that Novack had simply turned her into a scapegoat to blame for her own financial mismanagement. The two women were once friends, but everything turned sour after they had a falling out.
McDougal may have tried to paint a picture of herself as a victim. But her past indiscretions certainly aroused some suspicions of her intentions. That’s not to say that people can’t change, but looking at her track record doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.
She was a former business partner with Hillary and Bill Clinton. McDougal had previously served 18 months after convicted of wire fraud. And for refusing to talk to a grand jury about her business dealings with the Clinton family in regards to the Whitewater scandal.
The embezzlement case had nothing to do with that scandal but her conviction in that case certainly raised a lot of red flags.
Novack accused her of forging her name on a credit card application and racking up $90,000 in charges as well as forging checks for more than $60,000 in personal expenses. McDougal maintained that she authorized to make all of those purchases and that the majority of those expenses for Darla Motley. The young girl that Novack had taken in as her own.
Although the court testimony was full of irregularities and contradictions, and McDougal couldn’t get her story straight to save her life. The case eventually thrown out of the court.
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Anyway, what are your thoughts on that court case between Nancy Novack and Susan McDougal? While we don’t know all of the details of the case, it sure sounds like McDougal wasn’t completely innocent. But what do you think? Is she actually guilty or did the courts get it right? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.