Bewitched is a hit comedy show that started in 1964 and remained on the air until 1972.
Although the sitcom saw rises and falls in popularity, viewers from around the world loved the show and its cast of iconic characters.
Fans were shocked when Bewitched came to such a sudden end that theories began to run wild about what caused the cancellation of the beloved show, despite the show having aired for over a decade.
Why Was Bewitched Cancelled?
Bewitched was cancelled because leading star Elizabeth Montgomery wanted out of her role as Samantha, the friendly neighborhood witch who tries her best to live her life as an ordinary housewife.
The show had been renewed for its ninth and tenth seasons when Montgomery decided that she’d had enough with the show.
While the cast of Bewitched was beginning to unravel, so was Montgomery’s marriage with the show’s director William Asher.
Although Asher and Montgomery made the perfect Hollywood power couple on paper, their relationship was filled with hardships.
Throughout their 9-year marriage, Asher had multiple affairs.
Montgomery had affairs of her own, but the media was much more focused on the actress’s troubled love life, which added to the amount of pressure she was under.
Although the couple had a history of unfaithfulness, many people point to Elizabeth Montgomery’s affair with director Richard Michaels.
Unlike the many Hollywood elite that the problematic couple had slept with before, Michaels was truly in love with the actress.
Many men throughout Hollywood who had the opportunity to work with Elizabeth Montgomery reported having strong feelings for the actress, including stars like Dick York, Elvis Presley, and Dean Martin.
Despite their history, William Asher made sure to carry the torch for his late wife.
Then looking back at what happened between them, Asher took the blame for their troubled relationship and Montgomery’s desire to look elsewhere.
Their marriage crumbling may have resulted in their hit television show ending, but Asher and Montgomery stayed deeply connected after experiencing so much loss together.
Their marriage wasn’t the only relationship ruined by the affairs.
Shortly after Asher’s marriage to Montgomery ended, Michaels’s marriage fell apart that same year and allowed Michaels to start dating Montgomery himself.
Was Dick Sargent’s Death Caused By AIDS?
Although there were rumors about Dick Sargent dying from AIDS, his death was caused by prostate cancer, and he never had AIDS.
Most people assumed that AIDS was what led to his ill-looking physique because he was known for being a homosexual man, but Sargent stated that he was HIV-negative.
In 1991, Dick Sargent felt ready to tell the world his secret and came out on National Coming Out Day.
Sargent claims that the main reason he decided to come out publicly was the high suicide rates among young gay men at the time.
The actor hoped that he could act as a “retroactive role model” for other gay men, proving that there can be joy, success, and love for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
He also believed that people should not feel ashamed to be HIV-positive or have AIDS.
Sargent had stated before he passed that he would proudly wear the title of HIV-positive if he were in that situation.
Sadly, it would be cancer that would take him away.
Dick Sargent was a private supporter of the American Foundation for AIDS Research and AIDS Project Los Angeles.
He was also a supporter of the Special Olympics and donated to world hunger efforts.
Sargent may have been best known for his role as Samatha’s confused mortal husband Darrin Stephens on Bewitched, but he also appeared on Family Ties, Gunsmoke, and Playhouse 90.
He even appeared in a movie called Prisoner of War alongside actor Ronald Reagan, who would later become the 39th President of the United States.
The actor had been fighting prostate cancer for four and a half years, and doctors were originally positive that he would live because they had found his cancer early.
However, the disease quickly spread throughout Sargent’s body and he passed away at 64 years old.
Why Did Dick Sargent Replace Dick York As Darrin?
The scene was meant to show York and his co-star Gary Cooper propelling a handcar along a railway.
One of the extras who was on the base of the handcar reached up and grabbed the rail that York was pumping.
This meant that instead of the actor lifting the expected weight, York was lifting the entire weight of the extra off of the flatbed.
Before York could stop himself, he felt the muscles along the right side of his back snap from the pressure and tear completely loose.
Despite the serious injury he had sustained, York felt that he was a young enough man to continue doing what he was doing.
The stubborn young actor would resort to pain killers to get him through the day, but this quickly led to a long-term addiction to prescription medication for the entirety of his career as a professional actor.
His work on Bewitched offered York a nice steady paycheck, but he continued to pour his paychecks into his addiction.
The injury had begun to impede York’s physical abilities, and he began needing more changes to make his work more accessible for him.
The Bewitched crew kept a board in York’s trailer to give him something to lie on.
Cast members would also open doors for York if they proved to be too heavy for the struggling actor.
In 1969, York passed out on set and had to be hospitalized because of the effects that drugs like codeine, muscle relaxers, and sleep aids were having on his body.
York finished his final season and was replaced by Dick Sargent in season six.
Who Created The Introduction To Bewitched?
The animated introduction to Bewitched was created by Hanna-Barbera artist Ed Benedict.
This is the same animation studio that produces classic cartoons such as The Jetsons, The Flintstones, and Scooby-Doo.
Hanna-Barbera had a history of working with most of the Bewitched cast and would turn to the same actors for future projects.
Sandra Gould, the second actress to take on the role of Agnes Kravitz, the Stephens’s nosy neighbor, had been working for the animation studio since 1960, providing female voices for the background characters of The Flintstones.
In a 1965 episode of The Flintstones titled Samantha, Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York voiced the animated characters drawn in their likenesses.
Throughout the show’s long run, viewers may notice that Samantha’s hair gets blonder as the seasons go on, which was reflected in the animated opening.
There had been a variety of changes made to the introduction since it was first released, such as changes to the music.
However, the most notable change occurred when Dick York’s role was handed to Dick Sargent
Hanna-Barbera went back and replaced the cartoon Dick York with a caricature of Dick Sargent.
The text used for the actors’ names also changed when the Sargent took over the role, with the change being most noticeable in the “D”, “I”, and “R” in their names.
Small alterations were made to each opening and closing credits scene, which were adjusted to show the name of each episode’s sponsor.
Some of the most common sponsors of the show included Quaker Oats, Oscar Meyer, Chevrolet, Clairol, and Kodak.
Jack Keller wrote the theme song for Bewitched and was also known for writing for The Monkees’ first album.
He also wrote Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool and My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own for Connie Francis and Venus in Blue Jeans for Jimmy Clanton.
However, Keller passed away from leukemia at 68 years old in the spring of 2005.
Was Elizabeth Montgomery Actually Pregnant During Filming?
Yes, Elizabeth Montgomery was pregnant during the filming of Bewitched on three different occasions.
Montgomery’s first pregnancy was hidden from the viewers through clever angles and recording schedules.
To avoid having Samantha get pregnant in the show, the production team shot all the scenes without Samantha while Montgomery was noticeably pregnant.
Weeks before the show was meant to premiere, Montgomery came in and filmed all of her scenes after she had given birth.
She ended up missing the taping of episodes two through seven of the long-running series.
By the time Elizabeth Montgomery was pregnant with her second and third children, the writers felt that it was time for Darrin and Samantha to have children.
Montgomery’s pregnancy with her son, Robert Asher, became a part of the storyline that resulted in the character Tabitha in 1965.
To give the birth scene a more realistic feel, the writers allowed Montgomery to name her fictional child.
The role of baby Tabitha was played by 5 different children.
Her first appearance was played by Cynthia Black, but the role was quickly handed over to twins Laura and Heidi Gentry.
Finally, baby Tabitha was portrayed by another set of twins Tamar and Julie Young.
By season three, the role of Tabitha was given to fraternal twins Diane and Erin Murphy.
Eventually, the role was given to just Erin Murphy because the twins began to differ too much in appearance.
Diane Murphy would occasionally take on her sister’s role, but required a wig to pass for her sister.
When the actress became pregnant with her daughter, Rebecca Asher, they decided to flip the genders again for the creation of Darrin and Samantha’s child, Adam.
Samantha had her second child in 1969.
What Happened To Alice Pearce As Mrs. Kravitz?
Bewitched saw a variety of cast member changes for a variety of reasons.
Alice Pearce was Mrs. Kravitz until she died of cancer, which was the only reason that her character was recast.
Before filming had even begun, Pearce had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and knew that her time left was limited.
However, she didn’t want her disease to be the reason she had to quit acting because she had found so much acceptance in the world of theater and entertainment.
Alice Pearce was known for her unique face shape, which was actually the result of a childhood injury.
While swinging on a playset in Brussels, Belgium, young Pearce lost her grip and landed chin first onto the ground.
Her parents looked to every dentist and bone specialist they could find to fix the injury, but nobody had a solution, and it resulted in her chin being altered for the rest of her life.
When her parents moved her family back to the United States, Pearce was worried about being bullied.
Pearce was instead met with overwhelming acceptance when she began attending the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, New York.
She quickly found she loved the escape that theater provided her and decided she wanted nothing more than to be an actress.
Despite her parents being disappointed in her career choice and insisting that she choose another career, Alice Pearce went on to attend Sarah Lawrence College and graduated in 1940 with a degree in drama.
Pearce’s Bewitched castmates were devastated when she passed away on March 3rd of 1966 at only 48 years old.
She had kept her terminal illness secret so tightly that many of her castmates had no clue something was wrong with her, with her last episode being Prodigy.
Who Was Pandora Spocks?
Elizabeth Montgomery was Pandora Spocks, which was a pseudonym that she used whenever playing Samantha’s wild and free-spirited cousin Serena.
The name was a reference to the Ancient Greek story of Pandora’s Box.
Serena made her first appearance in Bewitched during the third season episode And Then There Were Three.
However, the character was still credited under Montgomery’s normal name.
The character of Serena is accredited towards Montgomery for a little more than half of the episodes that she appears in, such as It’s So Nice to Have a Spouse Around the House and That Was No Chick, That Was My Wife.
The first time that Elizabeth Montgomery decided to use the name Pandora Spocks was in the sixth season’s episode Serena Stops the Show.
It was an inside joke between Montgomery and the other Bewitched cast members.
There were some fans of Bewitched who actually believed that Pandora Spocks was a real person and the station began receiving fan letters that were directed at Spocks.
Other fans believed that Montgomery decided to use a pseudonym when playing the character because Serena was seen as a risqué and mature character, especially when compared to Samantha.
There are old Hollywood legends about Elizabeth Montgomery and William Asher once living on the set of the hit sitcom and immediately going to a motel while Montgomery was still fully in costume as Serena.
It was no secret that fans loved the alternative nature of Serena and Pandora Spocks’s portrayal of the character.
However, Serena made her last appearance in Bewitched during the episode Samantha and the Loch Ness Monster.
Although Pandora Spocks would vanish along with the character of Serena, the pseudonym goes down as one of the most believable jokes in Hollywood.
She serves as a small piece of classic television history.
Are Any Of The Bewitched Cast Members Still Alive?
No, none of the main cast members are alive to this day.
One of the few people who is still alive and was on the set of Bewitched is Erin Murphy.
In 2019, Erin Murphy reprised her role as Tabitha for the YouTube comedy series TV Therapy.
This popular internet show features the adult versions of iconic child characters going through a therapy session that is based on what the character experienced on their show.
On TV Therapy, Tabitha talked about how challenging it was growing up in her household and how nobody acknowledged that her father was two different men.
Today, Erin Murphy is 58 years old.
Agnes Moorehead died from uterine cancer on April 30th of 1974.
She played Endora, Samantha’s mortal-hating mother.
Although Moorehead had agreed to film Bewitched, she hated the schedule that the show put her through.
Moorehead was forced to be up by 4:45 a.m., start her makeup by 6:00 a.m., and was expected to be on set for filming until 8:00 p.m.
George Tobias, who played Abner Kravitz, passed away in February of 1980, years after his onscreen wife’s actor Alice Pearce.
Tobias was shortly followed by actress Mabel Albertson in 1982, who played Darrin’s mother.
Elizabeth Montgomery lost her fight against colon cancer in May of 1995.
Her ex-husband, William Asher, was determined to carry on the actress’s legacy after she passed away.
Asher spoke of Montgomery fondly until he passed away from dementia and Alzheimers on July 16th of 2012.
He spent his entire life making up for the mistakes that he had made in his marriage with Montgomery.
Elizabeth Montgomery’s stand-in actress Melody McCord died of heart failure in 2004.
Fox Bernard, or Dr. Bombay, was the last living cast member, but the actor passed away in 2016 from heart failure.
Bewitched Lives On Forever
The actors who appeared in the beloved sitcom may have all been mortal, but the legacy that Bewitched leaves behind will live on forever in the hearts of fans and television historians.
\No one will ever be able to forget the iconic performances given by Elizabeth Montgomery and the rest of the star-studded cast.
Bewitched pressed the boundaries of storytelling, representation, and special effects to allow television to become what we know it as today.