Nancy Kovack

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Nancy Kovack
Nancy Kovack in trailer for Diary of a Madman in 1963
Nancy Kovach

(1935-03-11) March 11, 1935 (age 84)
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
Years active1959–1976
Zubin Mehta (m. 1969)

Nancy Kovack (born March 11, 1935) is a retired American film and television actress.

Early years[edit]

Born in Flint, Michigan, Kovack is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael A. Kovach.[1] Her father was the manager of a General Motors plant.[2] She enrolled at the University of Michigan when she was 15 years old and graduated by age 19. She was an active participant in beauty contests, winning eight titles by the time she was 20.


Kovack became interested in acting when she went to New York City to attend a wedding.[citation needed]

After working as a model, she became one of the Glee Girls for Jackie Gleason.[3]

She has appeared on a number of TV series including Star Trek, Bewitched (playing Darrin Stephens' ex-girlfriend and Samantha's nemesis, Sheila Sommers), Batman (episodes 5 and 6), I Dream of Jeannie, Get Smart,[4] Perry Mason, 12 O'Clock High, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Invaders (season 2 episode 16: "Task Force"), Burke's Law,[5] Family Affair (1968 episode titled "Family Plan") and Hawaii Five-O (the 1969 episode "The Face of the Dragon"). She appeared in a key role as a sexy, native medicine woman and femme fatale in one of the most sobering of the original Star Trek episodes, "A Private Little War". In 1969 she was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for an appearance on Mannix.[6]

In addition to her guest appearances on television programs, Kovack was hostess of the game show Beat the Clock.[7]

As her profile increased, Kovack began to gain roles in Hollywood movies, most notably as the high priestess Medea in Jason and the Argonauts (1963). She also had parts in Diary of a Madman (1963) with Vincent Price, The Outlaws Is Coming (1965) with The Three Stooges, Sylvia (1965), The Great Sioux Massacre (1965), The Silencers (1966) with Dean Martin, Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966) with Mike Henry, Frankie and Johnny (1966) with Elvis Presley, and Carl Reiner's directorial debut Enter Laughing (1967).[5]

On Broadway she appeared in The Disenchanted. Her last film role was in Marooned (1969), a science-fiction drama. Credited as Nancy Mehta, she played the murder victim in the made-for-TV movie/series pilot Ellery Queen (also known as Too Many Suspects; 1975).[5]

Besides her acting in the United States, Kovack starred in three films that were made in Iran.[8]

Personal life[edit]

In 1969, Kovack married Indian conductor Zubin Mehta, who was music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and later the music director of the New York Philharmonic. Until 2006, the Mehtas spent some months of the year in residence in Munich, Germany, where Mr. Mehta was the music director of the Bavarian State Opera. Mehta is currently music director for life of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra[9] and the main conductor for Valencia's opera house. Mehta is also the chief conductor of the Maggio Musicale festival in Florence, Italy.[10]

Susan McDougal (known for being a part of the Whitewater controversy) worked as Kovack's personal assistant in the early 1990s. After her employment ended, Kovack took legal action against McDougal for alleged embezzlement. McDougal was acquitted in 1998 on all twelve charges. A suit by McDougal in 1999 for malicious prosecution ended in a settlement.[11]

Partial filmography[edit]


  1. ^ "Conductor To Wed Actress". News-Journal. Ohio, Mansfield. United Press International. June 2, 1969. p. 3.
  2. ^ Johnson, Erskine (November 25, 1961). "Hollywood Today". The Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Texas, Corpus Christi. Newspaper Enterprise Association. p. 6. Retrieved August 5, 2017 – via open access
  3. ^ Curtis, Olga (July 23, 1963). "Actress Nancy Kovack Says Films Just Help Pay Rent". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Texas, Lubbock. WNS. p. 6B. Retrieved August 5, 2017 – via open access
  4. ^ Get Smart, Episode 16, Season 4 ("The Day They Raided the Knights"), airdate January 11, 1969.
  5. ^ a b c "Nancy Kovack profile". Retrieved March 19, 2013.
  6. ^ "("Nancy Kovack" search results)". EMMYS. Television Academy. Archived from the original on 6 August 2017. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  7. ^ "The Girl with the Convertible Top!". Chicago Tribune. Illinois, Chicago. September 5, 1959. p. 23.
  8. ^ Alpert, Don (August 22, 1968). "Actress Nancy Kovack Stars In 3 Iranian-Made Movies". The Salt Lake Tribune. Utah, Salt Lake City. Los Angeles Times. p. 9. Retrieved August 5, 2017 – via open access
  9. ^ Israel Philharmonic Orchestra website,; accessed November 19, 2015.
  10. ^ Zubin Mehta website,; accessed February 16, 2015.
  11. ^ The Woman Who Wouldn't Talk; ISBN 0-7867-1302-X, Susan McDougal et al. 2003, p. 338.

External links[edit]