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Bewitched Biographies

Samantha Stephens (Elizabeth Montgomery)

Samantha (Sam) Stephens - wife, mother, sorceress - walks a thin line trying to satisfy her husband's wishes for normalcy and her family's insistence that she flaunt her powers like the witch she is. And boy, does she have powers. At the twitch of her nose, Sam can animate objects, fly, stop time, and change people into animals. And that's just for starters. But she also recognizes the magic inherent in the American Dream of a happy family in suburbia. The irony is that that world is easily torn apart by witchly powers.

So what's a woman to do? Fake it. Yes, while Sam is perfectly willing to avoid the tricks of her birthright, she is a pragmatic person. Magic does have its place (as long as it is out of Darrin's view). And how she uses it defines her moral character.

Always an advocate for dispelling the myth of the mean, ugly witch, Samantha instills in her kids - Tabitha and Adam, who have both inherited her bewitching abilities - a powerful sense of self worth and fair play.

Elizabeth Montgomery was born in Los Angeles in 1933. Her mother, Elizabeth Allen Montgomery, was an actress; her father, Robert Montgomery, was an actor and director. Though father discouraged her acting efforts, Elizabeth got her start in television in 1951 in his series "Robert Montgomery Presents." The first of Elizabeth's four marriages was to French businessman, Frederick Gallatin Gammann. Inter-familial acting continued with the rest of Elizabeth's marriages: her second husband was actor Gig Young, the third marriage was to producer/director William Asher, and the fourth to actor Robert Foxworth.

William Asher, Montgomery's third husband, is noteworthy in TV Land for his part in directing many seasons of the I Love Lucy series. He also produced and directed "Bewitched" and it was he who convinced Montgomery to take the part of Samantha Stephens, the nose-twitching suburban housewife who tried so hard to be "normal." (Montgomery also played Samantha's mischievous twin cousin, Serena.) The TV birth of Samantha's daughter, Tabitha, coincided with one of Elizabeth Montgomery's own pregnancies. She and Asher had three children.

"Bewitched" was one of the many odd, magical, and "far out" shows that hit television in the 60s. Because of Samantha's appeal, the show's original run endured from 1964 to 1972, making it one of the longest running of its type. The show's run was so long, in fact, that Montgomery played Samantha to two different Darrins: actors Dick York and Dick Sargent.

After "Bewitched," Elizabeth Montgomery played many dramatic roles in television movies, including "The Corpse Had a Face" (1994) and "Deadline For Murder" (1995).
Montgomery died on May 18, 1995.
Veronica Lake starred in the original movie version of "I Married A Witch."

Darrin Stephens (Dick York, Dick Sargent)

This bright young account executive for the McMann & Tate Advertising Agency never realized he had married a witch until after his wedding ceremony. A thoroughly conventional husband, Darrin thereafter obstinately insists that his wife Samantha refrain from using witchcraft so that they can lead the normal life they both yearn for.

Perhaps Darrin feels that Samantha's powers threaten his masculinity. After all, as a modern suburban American man, he is supposed to rule the household. In any case, conflicts between the couple inevitably arise- conflicts without which "Bewitched" wouldn't provide very interesting half-hour plots.

Darrin's biggest conflict, however, is with Samantha's mother, Endora, who disapproves of her daughter's mixed marriage (to a mortal). Darrin's mother-in-law has nothing but disregard for him. She can't even remember his name, calling him Darwin, Dagwood, Derweed, and occasionally Dum-dum. Then there are the other relatives: her father Maurice (Maurice Evans), her Uncle Arthur (Paul Lynde), and her Aunt Clara, who's loveable but likes to steal doorknobs for her collection...

Yet Darrin's love for Samantha is more powerful than any bad spell. And it is this love, plus his skill as a seasoned ad exec, that gets him through any otherworldly situation his foes can muster.

Dick York

Film fans may remember Dick York as the schoolteacher who dared to teach evolution in the 1960 movie "Inherit The Wind," but to TV Land citizens he'll always be the first Darrin Stephens on "Bewitched." Perfectly cast as an addled adman caught in the crossfire of his profession and his surreal family life, Dick York was an experienced actor long before he created the role of Darrin.

From the mid-1950's on, York worked on "Kraft Theatre," The Twilight Zone, "The Millionaire," "Wagon Train," and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. In 1962-63 York played Tom Colwell in "Going My Way," a series based on the Bing Crosby film of the same title. And as Nick at Nite viewers may know, it is Dick York's young persona we see in the quasi-public service announcement series "How To Be Swell."

In "Bewitched" (1964-1969), Dick York was the perfect foil for Elizabeth Montgomery's Samantha.
Good-looking and animated, he seemed to fit the incredulous role perfectly and was nominated for an Emmy in 1967-68. "Bewitched" fans are nearly unanimous in preferring his Darrin Stephens to that of his replacement Dick Sargent. York had to leave the series at its peak due to chronic back problems (toward the end, stagehands had to carry him around on the set between scenes).
York died from emphysema on February 20, 1992 at the age of 63.

Dick Sargent (Darren #2)

Dick Sargent was born Richard Cox, son of a World War I hero and silent film actress Ruth McNaughton. The world probably most remembers him as the second Darren Stephens on "Bewitched."

Dick briefly attended Stanford University before dropping out to pursue an acting career. He was successful in obtaining small roles in a few forgettable '50s flicks like The Beast With 1,000,000 Eyes (seen recently following MonsterVision on TNT), eventually graduating to supporting parts in bigger films like "Operation Petticoat" and the haunted-house spoof "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken." Dick also began guesting on classic TV shows like "Gunsmoke," "Wagon Train" and "Rat Patrol" among others. In 1961, he became a regular on "One Happy Family" (a one-season sitcom that NBC ran at the same day and time as Bewitched, perhaps bringing him to the Producer's notice).

Sargent replaced "Bewitched"'s first Darren, Dick York (when he developed severe back problems). He remained with the show from 1969 through 1972 as the stuffy businessman husband of winsome witch, Samantha. Post "Bewitched" work included many TV roles in shows like "Dukes of Hazard" and "Rich Man, Poor Man," in addition to parts in over a dozen films.

Inspired by long-time friend and gay-rights activist Sheila Kuehl (Zelda Gilroy form "Dobie Gillis"), Dick publicly "came out" in 1991 and became a vocal advocate for gay rights. In 1989, Sargent was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which eventually took his life on July 8, 1994.

Endora (Agnes Moorehead)

Many a man thinks of his mother-in-law as a witch. Darrin Stephens' mother-in-law actually IS one. Endora never welcomed Darrin into the family. In fact, she doesn't even grant him the privilege of calling him by his proper name. She prefers "Durwood" or "Dum Dum" instead.

The idea of marrying a mortal repulses Endora. The idea of her own daughter, Samantha, marrying one is unthinkable. Add to this insult Darrin's demand that Samantha refrain from using witchcraft, and you've got family dynamics that boggle the mind.

Endora tends to obsess over virtually every aspect of Darrin and Samantha's life. She pops into Darrin and Samantha's house without warning. She casts spells on Darrin when she's mad at him. She won't even tell Darrin her last name -- she says that he'd never be able to pronounce it (an explanation also used on Star Trek to explain Spock's single name).

At five feet six, 118 pounds, Endora can conjure up a lot of misery for Darrin. To her credit, though, she IS a loving mother who only wants the best for her daughter (and, later in the series, grandchildren). In her mind, Darrin just doesn't measure up.

Agnes Moorehead

Agnes Robertson Moorehead - star of stage, radio, film and television, was born in Clinton, Massachusetts in 1906 and raised in Reedsburg, Wisconsin. She received a Master of Arts from the University of Wisconsin, a Doctorate in English from Bradley University, and three honorary doctorates. In 1928 she moved to New York City to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and began acting on Broadway.

During the Depression, Broadway possibilities dried up and Moorehead moved to radio. Her radio roles included the Mercury Theater (War of the Worlds, etc.) and Orson Welles' girlfriend in The Shadow. She starred in "Sorry, Wrong Number," and radio broadcast it was done at least one more time - live - with the same cast, and turned into a Hollywood movie (though minus Moorehead). With Orson Welles and Joseph Cotton, she was a founding member of the Mercury Theater. This led to her movie debut in Citizen Kane as Kane's mother.

Because of her great versatility, Agnes Moorehead's movie career was vast. Although she was often described as a character actress, she preferred to think of her talent as "a magic kind of ingredient that should not be analyzed." Moorehead was nominated for Best Supporting Actress Academy Awards in "The Magnificent Ambersons" (1942), "Mrs. Parkington" (1944), "Johnny Belinda" (1948), and Hush Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964). Her overall film career included more than sixty movies.

In a silent episode of "The Twilight Zone", she plays a woman wordlessly fending off tiny invaders from space in her remote cabin.
Agnes Moorehead is best known in TV Land as Endora the witch, Samantha Stephens' marriage-wrecking mother. She played this role to the hilt from 1964 to 1972. During this time she also appeared in films and on other television shows. In 1967, she won the Best Supporting Actress Emmy Award for her role as a villainess in the The Wild Wild West episode "Night of the Vicious Valentine," in which she arranged marriages to rich men who then met with fatal accidents (at least Endora never killed Darren...)
Moorehead died on April 30, 1974.

Larry Tate

A tried-and-true man from the old school, Larry Tate puts his clients' interests first. While this trait is admirable in the hectic world of corporate media, the happiness of Tate's clients is often contingent on the misery of his most talented executive, Darrin Stephens.

Larry's snow-white hair makes him look distinguished. But it's easy to forget that such hoary men were once awkward young lads. Few realize that Tate was once a red-haired teenage ice hockey player. He later served in the Navy. He spent seven years in therapy, which may give him a glimpse into what can stimulate the mind and wallet of the American consumer.

Larry has a wife named Louise. Actually, from the looks of things, he's had two wives named Louise. No one says anything about it, least of all Larry (see page 1).

Advertising is a tough game, but Larry knows how to manage stress. In addition to enjoying an occasional cocktail before, during, and after dinner, Larry's a regular at the country club, where he takes out his frustrations on a little white ball.
Larry Tate was played by David White. Mrs. Tate was played first by Irene Vernon (1964-66), then by Kasey Rogers.

The Kravitzes

Abner and Gladys Kravitz, the first couple to build a house on Morning Glory Circle, have the perfect marriage - perfectly dysfunctional.

Abner finds Morning Glory Circle easy-going; he spends his time reading, watering the lawn and relaxing. But Gladys, a born busybody, watches the Stephenses' house constantly. Through Abner's opera glasses, she sees polka-dot horses and people walking though walls. She eventually develops a serious neurosis.

Finally convinced that it's all in her mind, Gladys permits Abner to take her to a psychiatrist. While TV Land viewers might like to think that Gladys' new therapy will renew her self-confidence as well as her marriage, such optimism would be totally misplaced. The road to Kravitz togetherness is just as rocky as ever. Abner pays as much attention to her as a head of lettuce. His most common utterance: "Take your medication, dear." And, perhaps to console herself, Gladys sips hootch from a Martini glass the size of a birdbath.

But who are we to judge? Constant friction may be the very bond that keeps the Stephenses' neighbors living under the same roof.

Abner was played by George Tobias. Mrs. Kravitz was played first by Alice Pearce (until she died 3-66), then by Sandra Gould (died 1999, see Recent Losses), previously best known for radio's "Duffy's Tavern" (later remade as the TV-series "Cheers" by the producer's son) as Miss Duffy.

Samantha's children in the series were Tabitha ("born" in the 1-13-66 episode, played by 18 month old Erin Murphy and sometimes her twin Diane Murphy), and Adam (who came along in 1969 but was not seen regularly until the final season, played by David Lawrence)

Other semi-regulars included Samantha's swinging-60s cousin Serena (also played by Montgomery), bumbling Aunt Clara (played by Marion Lorne 1964-68), bumbling maid Esmerelda (played by Alice Ghostley 1969-72), the family metaphysician Dr. Bombay (played by Barnard Fox), refered to by Darren as either "the Witch-Doctor" or "the quack," depending on his mood, Uncle Arthur (Paul Lynde), and a town drunk who always seemed to be seated next to Darren at the local bar... played by an actor better known today as Please-Don't-Squeeze-The-Charmen's Mr. Wiffle (in real life, he's married to the actress who played Josephine the Plumber in tv-ads)

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