Bewitched was a huge success in the 60s and 70s. The series which follows Sam who marries New York ad exec Darrin Stephens in the first episode.
However Sam has a secret, she’s a witch with a magical nose wiggle. For those who truly loved the original series, here are some fun facts about the show and the actors that might surprise you.
Sol Saks Wanted Tammy Grimes to Play the Show’s Witch.
Tammy Grimes, who’d won a Best Actress Tony Award in 1961 for The Unsinkable Molly Brown, was under contract to Screen Gems in 1964 and was the studio’s first choice for the role of “Cassandra” (as the lead character was named at the time). Grimes was not a fan of the premise, asking why she wouldn’t use her powers to stop wars or deal with Los Angeles traffic. The producers didn’t agree, so she accepted a role in High Spirits on Broadway and the witch character, now named “Samantha,” had to be recast.
Samantha Never Actually Wiggled Her Nose
Actress Elizabeth Montgomery who played Sam never actually wiggled her nose, it was in fact a camera trick. Erin Murphy the actress who played Tabitha revealed this secret.
Dick York Had to Leave the Show Because of Pain Caused by an Old Injury.
Samantha’s husband Darrin was played by more than one actor. Actor Dick York injured himself on the second-to-last day of filming Cordura. He ended up pulling most of the muscles on the right side of his body and his spine never properly healed. On the day of filming the “Daddy Does His Thing” episode, he skipped lunch to see his doctor, who was out. The replacement doctor instead gave him B-12, and while filming a scene with Maurice Evans on a scaffold 15 feet in the air, the hot lights, exhaustion and medications combined to send York into a seizure. He was rushed to the hospital and never returned to the Bewitched set. Some Darrin-less episodes were filmed until Dick Sargent took over the role.
Darrin Wasn’t The Only Character to Be Swapped
Nosey neighbor Gladys Kravitz, The part was first played by Alice Pearce, but Sandra Gould later took over the role.
Elizabeth Montgomery Played Multiple Roles
Not only did Montgomery play the lead star she also played Sam’s cousin Serena.
Creator Sol Saks Was Inspired by Two Movies.
Sol Saks, credited onscreen as the creator of Bewitched, has admitted in several interviews that his script for the pilot episode was inspired by the films I Married a Witch and Bell, Book and Candle.
Richard Crenna Almost Wasn’t Darrin
After Elizabeth Montgomery was cast as Samantha, Richard Crenna was considered for the role. He had been part of the cast of Our Miss Brooks and had just finished his run as one of the stars of The Real McCoys. As it turned out, however, Richard Crenna was not eager to do another regular series very soon.
York Was 3rd Choice
Richard Sargent was the top choice to play Darrin, after Crenna turned the role down it was eventually given to Dick York. After he had to pull out with injury, Sargent eventually took the role.
Elizabeth was quite the stunner in the 60s and 70s and she kept her beauty into the later years of her life until she tragically lost her battle with cancer. She must have put an anti-aging spell on herself.
Elizabeth Montgomery Was Pregnant During Early Filming on the First Season.
Montgomery wore progressively looser clothing to disguise her expanding waistline. Her subsequent two pregnancies were written into the Bewitched script, adding Tabitha and Adam to the Stephens family.
Alice Pearce Diagnosed With Terminal Cancer Before Filming Started
Pearce unfortunately passed away from Ovarian cancer in March 1966, she received her diagnosis four months before filming started and kept it secret from her co-workers.
Emmy Award Nominee
She was awarded a posthumous Outstanding Supporting Actress Emmy Award for her portrayal of Gladys two months after her death.
It Was Montgomery’s Idea to Name Her Character’s Daughter Tabitha.
“I loved it, because it was so old-fashioned,” she said in 1967. “I got it from one of the daughters of Edward Andrews, the actor.
Supporting Actors Had To Supply Their Own Costumes
Kasey Rogers, who played Louise Tate, admitted that supporting actors provided their own wardrobes, and would bring their own clothes into the studio a week before filming. The wardrobe department would clean and press them ready for filming.
Actress Marion Lorne Collected…What?
Aunt Clara’s obsession with door knobs was based on actress Marion Lorne’s real-life obsession with them. The actress had a collection of more than 1,000 antique door openers.
York and Moorehead Were Great Friends Offset!
There was no love lost between Darrin and Endora on screen, but the pair became good friends off camera.
Larry and Louise Tate Special Name For Son
When the Tate’s were blessed with their son, Larry Tate actor David White requested that the boy be named Jonathan. White had a son off-screen named Jonathan who he’d raised as a single father after his wife died of complications during her second pregnancy.
Tragically White’s son Jonathan was aboard Pan Am Flight 103 that exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland as the result of a terrorist planting a bomb on the plane. White would pass away of a heart attack 2 years later and the pair are buried together at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
No Love For Sargent
Moorehead was a huge fan of York’s acting talent in the show and she wasn’t pleased when he was replaced with Dick Sargent.
Elizabeth Montgomery’s Obituary Is Actually Wrong
Montgomery was an extremely private person who didn’t share much of her private life with others. When she passed away her age was published as 57. In fact, the actress was 62. In several obituaries she was also listed as single because she didn’t reveal to the public her marriage to Robert Foxworth a couple years previously.
There Were Two Tabithas!
Fraternal twins named Erin and Diane Murphy were cast to share the role of the Stephens’ daughter, Tabitha. Erin really took to acting and would be the star of the show, she was used for close-up shots and speaking scenes, while Diane was primarily used in long shots.
A Non Magical Career
Erin Murphy after the show did numerous commercials, she married at 21 and lived on an Arizona Ranch teaching acting. She moved back to the LA area and did some small roles. Murphy also owns two successful businesses, Erin Murphy Knits, in which she sells alpaca knitwear she makes herself, and her latest venture, Slim Chillers, frozen vodka martini ice pops that are sold in nearly every state and Australia and China.
Martin Luther King Assassination
On April 4, 1968 “Bewitched” was interrupted to announce the tragic news that civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated.
Many of the Bewitched stars were apparently heavy smokers including Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York smoked three packs a day!
Erin Murphy was quoted in an interview saying, “I remember my parents were always saying ‘smoking is bad, smoking is bad,’ and I remember thinking ‘If smoking is bad, then why is everybody around here doing it?”
A Witches Curse
Some fans have speculated that there’s a real-life curse on the show. A high number of the cast ended up dying of cancer-related causes and many of those were at a young age. Besides Elizabeth Montgomery, other major cast members to die at relatively young ages (under 65) include Alice Pearce (cancer), Paul Lynde (heart attack), Dick York (emphysema), and Dick Sargant (cancer).
Montgomery Became Fed Up
Montgomery grew tired of the show and wanted to quit after the fifth season. Show producers offered her so much money that she couldn’t walk away, but her performances in the last three seasons were noticeably lackluster as her interest waned.
At the end of her time in the Samantha role, Montgomery stopped wearing a bra during filming, as a symbol of support for the women’s lib movement. Power!!
Fans were often interested in the behind-the-scenes relationship between Samantha and Tabitha. Child actress Erin Murphy who played Tabitha gave an ABC interview about her time on “Bewitched.”
She revealed that she was very close to her television parents, even calling them by the nicknames “Darren Daddy” and “Mantha Mommy.” In the interview, Murphy said “I looked to her [Montgomery] as a parent, and she would tell me what to do like a parent. In a lot of ways I’m so much like her than I am my own mom, which is hilarious.” She was also close with Agnes Moorehead, who played her grandmother.