He had created the notorious second skin glittering with sequins that Marlene Dietrich wore for her nightclub premiere in Las Vegas in 1953; he would also sew Marilyn Monroe into the sequined formfitting gown she wore when she sang “Happy Birthday” to John F. Novak was installed at the Studio Club, a curfewed dormitory for young starlets where Cohn could have his expensive new possession watched around the clock—even tailed by studio detectives to make sure she didn’t follow the wayward path of Rita Hayworth. At some point in the transformation of Marilyn Novak, her studio-assigned publicist, Muriel Roberts, dreamed up an all-lavender scheme and insisted that they rinse her hair with a pale lavender tint.The studio had wanted a gimmick to distinguish its blonde from the many other new platinum blondes on the block: Jayne Mansfield, Mamie Van Doren, Diana Dors, Joi Lansing—all outsize girls signed to compete with Marilyn Monroe and built like the decade’s big Chevys and Buicks.
“We started with Mae West, Jean Harlow, Marilyn, then Kim. It’s a terrible comparison, but it’s like betting on the Kentucky Derby.
That fourth horse, I think can do it.”The next girl to walk through Cohn’s door was Marilyn Novak, a shy, plump, large-boned 20-year-old from Chicago with no acting experience but a breathtaking face. Since there was already a Marilyn, the first thing that had to go was her name.
Her marriage to Khan, a notorious playboy and womanizer, kept her out of pictures for more than two years, infuriating Cohn and further alienating her fans. Cohn wanted her in one of his pet projects, a biblical epic called until her then husband, Haymes, came into Cohn’s office with a marcelled beard and demanded to be cast as Joseph.“I’ll have that son of a bitch back in Argentina,” Cohn exploded.
(Haymes, an Argentinean native, was always facing deportation.)Instead, Cohn decided to get back at Hayworth.
Judson; she then married director Orson Welles, Aly Khan, heir apparent to the Ismaili Muslim throne, and singer Dick Haymes.
Every time she got married, her box-office standing eroded.He was still smarting from having let Marilyn Monroe slip away: unimpressed by her beauty, he had neglected in 1948 to renew her initial six-month contract.Cohn decided he was going to take the next girl who walked into his office and manufacture a new star for Columbia Pictures, one who would do exactly what he wanted, who wouldn’t walk away until he and the public were finished with her.“We always had a blonde,” George Sidney remembers.That night would be the first and virtually the last time that Kim Novak and Sammy Davis Jr. At the heart of their star-crossed affair was one of Hollywood’s sacred monsters: the notorious Harry Cohn.It was said that Harry Cohn put more people in the cemetery than all the other moguls combined.She balked at being renamed “Kit Marlowe,” and, incredibly, she won that battle.