Eva Novak

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Eva Novak
Novak, early 1920s
Born(1898-02-14)February 14, 1898
DiedApril 17, 1988(1988-04-17) (aged 90)
Years active19171966
William Reed
(m. 1921)
Relatives Jane Novak (sister)
Anne Schaefer (aunt) [1]

Eva Barbara Novak (February 14, 1898 April 17, 1988) was an American film actress, who was quite popular during the silent film era.



On February 14, 1898, [2] Eva Barbara Novak [3] was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Joseph Jerome Novak, an immigrant from Bohemia, and Barbara Medek. Her older sister, Johana, also became an actress. [4] Joseph Novak died when Eva was still a child and Barbara was left to raise five children. [5]

Novak began her acting career in 1917 in L-KO's Roped into Scandal, followed by another seven films that same year. She appeared in 17 films in 1918, and another eight in 1919. In 1920, she starred opposite Tom Mix in The Daredevil, one of six film roles she would have that year, and one of ten films in which she starred opposite Mix.

In 1921, she married stuntman William Reed, [6] whom she met while on location for a film. They had two daughters Vivian Barbara and Pamela Eve.

Novak was interested in stunt performing herself, having been taught by Mix to perform many of her own stunts. From 1921 to 1928, she appeared in and starred in 48 films, including an early version of Boston Blackie. She also co-starred with Betty Bronson and Jack Benny in The Medicine Man (1930) and appeared in the 1922 film Chasing the Moon, which was an early forerunner of the 1950s film D.O.A. In the late 1920s, she and her husband moved to Australia, where she made numerous films, including The Romance of Runnibede . However, with the advent of "talking films", her popularity faded. She would continue to act, but mostly in obscure roles.

Novak while filming on a set during her stay in Australia, 1927 Eva Novak and a horse (1927).jpg
Novak while filming on a set during her stay in Australia, 1927

She appeared in 123 films between 1917 and 1965, when she retired. She was residing in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles at the time of her death from pneumonia at the age of 90, on April 17, 1988. [7]

In May 1923, the Altoona Tribune held a contest to find the girl who most closely resembled Novak. An announcement in the newspaper said that the winner would receive $250 worth of clothes from a store. [8]

Selected filmography

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  1. Brown, John W. (2008). Missouri Legends: Famous people from the Show-Me State. St. Louis: Reedy Press. pp. 176, 177.
  2. Ellenberger, Allan R. (2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland. p. 198. ISBN   978-0-7864-0983-9 . Retrieved March 3, 2022.
  3. Maxford, Howard (2018). Hammer Complete: The Films, the Personnel, the Company. McFarland. p. 600. ISBN   978-1-4766-7007-2 . Retrieved March 3, 2022.
  4. Katchmer, George A. (September 22, 2009). A Biographical Dictionary of Silent Film Western Actors and Actresses. McFarland. ISBN   9780786446933 via Google Books.
  5. The Independent, London, February 1990
  6. "Eva Novak Dies at 90; Starred With Tom Mix" . The New York Times. Associated Press. April 20, 1988. p. B 9. Retrieved March 3, 2022.
  7. "OBITUARIES : Eva Novak; Sweetheart of Silent-Movie Cowboy Stars". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  8. "$250.00 Is Yours If You Resemble Actress!". Altoona Tribune. May 22, 1923. p. 1. Retrieved March 3, 2022 via Newspapers.com.