There are not many people that have managed to have a career in Hollywood that was deemed somewhat successful before they abruptly chose to leave it all behind. One of such persons is 1960s actress Nancy Kovack who is best known for starring in films like Jason and the Argonauts (1963) and Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966). Read on to find out more about her career, why she retired and her personal life.
Early Life and Career
On the 11th of March, 1936, in Flint, Michigan, Nancy Kovack was born to Mr. and Mrs. Michael A. Kovach. Not much is known about her mother, but it is known that her father worked as a manager of a General Motors plant.
It is not clear where Kovack attended high school but during that time, she was famous for having participated in a number of beauty contests. At a young age of 15, she enrolled at the University of Michigan, graduating at the age of 19. The young beauty, who at this time had won more than eight different beauty contests became interested in pursuing a career in acting as she began working as a model.
Following a career in modeling, Kovack joined comedian and actor Jackie Gleason’s Glee Girls and also worked as a hostess of the game show Beat the Clock before making the transition to acting. Before making her acting debut in the United States, Kovack first starred in three films that were made in Iran. She later returned to the US in the early 1960s to appear in various productions.
Some of the TV shows in which Nancy Kovack appeared in include Star Trek, Bewitched, Batman, I Dream of Jeannie, Get Smart, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Invaders, Burke’s Law, Family Affair, and Hawaii Five-O. On the movie front, she starred in films like Strangers When We Meet (1960), Cry for Happy (1961), The Wild Westerners (1962), Diary of a Madman (1963), Jason and the Argonauts (1963), The Outlaws Is Coming (1965), The Great Sioux Massacre (1965), Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966), and Frankie and Johnny (1966) which featured Elvis Presley.
In 1969, Kovack appeared in the film Marooned, before choosing to retire from acting. She, however, made a comeback in a very small role in 1975, in the pilot for the tv series Ellery Queen, before again choosing to go back into retirement.
Nancy Kovack’s Family – Husband, Children
It is not clear if the two events were directly related to each other, but Nancy Kovack’s retirement from acting in 1969 coincided with her marriage to Zubin Mehta. The pair got married in July 1969 following Mehta’s divorce from his first wife, Canadian Soprano Carmen Lasky, in 1964. The couple has remained together ever since even though it was revealed that Mehta, who was a recipient of the Isreal Prize in 1991 for his unique devotion to Israel and to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, fathered an illegitimate son in the country during that same time. Together, the couple has two children; Alexandra and Ori Mehta.
Zubin Mehta is an Indian-American conductor of Western and Eastern classical music, who at the time of his marriage to Kovack, was the Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he held from 1962 to 1978. Prior to that role, and concurrently with it, he served as the Music Director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra from 1961 to 1967.
Other positions which Mehta has held include serving as the Music Director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (1961 – 1967) and the New York Philharmonic (1978 – 1991). In 1969, Nancy Kovack’s husband was made Music Adviser of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. His position was later elevated to permanent Music Director for Life in 1981. From 1985, he has served as the Chief Conductor of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence, Italy before becoming the Honorary Conductor of the Teatro San Carlo, Naples in 2016.
Zubin Mehta’s excellence in conducting has further earned him awards and titles around the world such as the Padma Bhushan (1966) and the Padma Vibhushan (2001) from the government of India, and the Wolf Prize in Arts (1995) from the Wolf Foundation. Others honors include the Lifetime Achievement Peace and Tolerance Award (1999) from the United Nations, the Praemium Imperiale (2008) from the Imperial family of Japan, and a Hollywood Walk of Fame star (2011) among many others.
Height and Body Measurements
Nancy Kovack stands at 5 feet 9 inches (174 cm) tall and weighs about 59 kg (130 lbs). The actress with dark brown hair and eye color has body measurements of 37-25-36 inches (94-64-91 cm).