Nancy Kovack

Pencil Portrait by Antonio Bosano.

Nancy Kovack Pencil Portrait
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The quality of the prints are at a much higher level compared to the image shown on the left.


A3 Pencil Print-Price £45.00-Purchase

A4 Pencil Print-Price £30.00-Purchase

*Limited edition run of 250 prints only*

All Pencil Prints are printed on the finest Bockingford Somerset Velvet 255 gsm paper.

P&P is not included in the above prices.


Last update: 22/10/17

Born in Flint, Michigan, on March 11, 1935, Nancy Kovack is a rare example of an actress with the gifts of talent, beauty, comedic timing, and brains. As a teenager racking up beauty contest titles in her native Michigan, the stunning glamour girl also proved to be brilliant as well. With a reported IQ of 158, she graduated from the University of Michigan before the age of 20, and by the late 1950s, found herself in New York working in television.

Like millions of men of a certain age, I’m rather partial to Nancy for her role in that most enduring of Greek mythological tales Jason and the Argonauts (1963), whilst on a more personal level, the composition of her cheekbones reminds me of my wife.”:

Years after her decade long period in films was over, the actress was moved to say:“I don’t think there’s one film that I can point to that really represents what I might have done. And consequently, there’s not one film or role that I look at of which I’m proud of, nor one I would recommend to anyone to see. It’s a very sad statement isn’t it?”

Upon reflection, I would say it is. After all, this was a beautiful, talented and highly intelligent woman who unfortunately, became part of the studio system. Marriage at thirty four years of age would effectively end her career, perhaps at a point in time when she might have moved into more mature roles. It wasn’t to be…………………………….

In 1969 Nancy married Zubin Mehta, a conductor and later musical director for the New York Philharmonic, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The couple met at a 1968 dinner party given by Vincente and Denise Minnelli. The attraction was instant. “I left immediately after the meal to catch a plane,” recalls Mehta. “When I came back, I called Nancy.” Nancy corrects him: “You called me from Canada.” After eight months of cross-country courtship, they were married twice, first at Westwood Methodist Church and then at the Bel-Air Hotel in a Zoroastrian ceremony attended by all 105 members of the Los Angeles Phil-harmonic and their spouses.

Divorced with two young children, Zubin Mehta’s dark good looks had won him a reputation as a swinger who attracted symphonic groupies. As a strict Zoroastrian Parsi, he did not drink or smoke, but was rarely seen without some lissome beauty on his arm. He won the nickname: “Zubi baby.” His interest in Nancy would have been overwhelming. Throughout the mid 60’s, she had spent time between television and motion picture roles working toward a master’s degree in languages at the University of California at Los Angeles, concentrating on Farsi, the language of Iran. Living and working in the Middle East for almost three years throughout two arduous film shoots, cemented his interest.

Interviewed in 1978, Nancy was moved to say;

“It is a valid question whether I married my husband because I went there or went there because I would marry him. In any case, it would have been impossible for me, or rather more impossible for me, to marry a man of his culture had I not known the Islamic thinking. Zubin is not Islamic, but the Indian culture relating to women is really the same.” Mehta, who was born in Bombay, is a Parsee, a small sect in India that is composed mainly of businessmen with more or less Western attitudes.

Nancy and Zubin Mehta maintain residences in Brentwood, California and Tuscany. Until 2006, the Mehtas spent some months of the year in residence in Munich, Germany, where Zubin Mehta was the Music Director of the Bavarian State Opera. Zubin Mehta is currently Music Director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Main Conductor for Valencia’s opera house. He additionally participates in Florence’s annual Maggio Musicale festival.

An ardent and strict Christian Scientist, the former actress maintains a luxury home rental business operation catering to the rental needs of the wealthy. Tony Bennett reportedly regularly rents her lavish Tuscan home some months out of the year.

Nancy was only twenty six when she flew to Italy for location work on “Jason & the Argonauts” in 1961. Filming would span an entire four month period, and the film’s release date would be delayed by co-producer Ray Harryhausen’s superb groundbreaking special effects post production work. Years later, Kovack would recall Harryhausen being constantly on set, describing him as a ‘very dignified, noble, quiet, “still” man,’ who she clearly had great respect for as both a person and as an ‘artist.’ “….. the special effects which he added to the film were phenomenal, I don’t even have to say that. For that period, they were unique, were they not?”

She was happy to be abroad, whatever the legal obligations to being a Columbia contractee.

Recommended viewing

Jason and the Argonauts (1963)

There was a time in my life when Easter would not have been the same without the perennial annual screening of this movie. The storyline is familiar to millions.

In order to regain his rightful place on the throne of Thessaly, Jason must cross perilous seas to the land of Colchis to retrieve the fabled Golden Fleece. Along the way, he and his crew of legendary heroes must contend with harpies, crashing rocks, a giant bronze colossus, a multi-headed hydra and an army of skeleton warriors.

The film’s cast most certainly did not have the Gods on their side. Nigel Green (Hercules), would be dead nine years later at the age of forty seven. Niall MacGinnis who played Zeus, would die prematurely at the age of 63. Michael Gwynn, who played the God Hermes, appeared in numerous ITC series in the 60’s, and the first episode of “Fawlty Towers” in 1975, was dead at sixty. Worst of all, Todd Armstrong, who played Jason, was dead at fifty five.

Bewitched Tv Series (1964)


Brian's Drive-in Theatre : Nancy Kovack