Guest Author - Vance Rowe
Elizabeth Montgomery was born on April 15, 1933 to Elizabeth Allen and actor Robert Montgomery. As a young girl, she attended the Westlake School for Girls and the Spencer School in New York. Afterward, she attended the Academy of Dramatic Arts.
She began her acting career in 1951 when she appeared on her father’s show, Robert Montgomery Presents. After that she starred on Broadway in “Late Love” which also won her the Theater World Award. She appeared on many television shows after that including The Untouchables, the Twilight Zone, Thriller, 77 Sunset Strip, Rawhide and Wagon Train. The Untouchables appearance garnered Elizabeth Montgomery her first Emmy nomination.
However, her most famous television appearance was as a beautiful witch named Samantha Stevens on the television series “Bewitched”. Set in the town of Westport, Connecticut, Bewitched was about a witch who married a mortal man named Darren. Of course, Samantha’s family of witches and warlocks did not approve of the marriage and none of them liked Darren. In fact, they called him everything but Darren. However, probably his most famous flubbed name was Derwood and given to him by Samantha’s mother, Endora, played by Agnes Moorehead. Bewitched was number one in the ratings for four of its eight seasons on television.
Aside from Bewitched, Elizabeth Montgomery played in many movies with her first being The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell in 1955 and her last Deadline for Murder in 1995. She starred in many other movies also but probably her most famous movie was as suspected murderer Lizzie Borden in “The Legend of Lizzie Borden”. It was a very dark role for her and she performed it wonderfully.
In her personal life, Elizabeth Montgomery was married four times. Those former husbands include actor Gig Young and William Asher, the director-producer of the Bewitched television series. She was with Asher for ten years before amicably divorcing in 1973 and the two of them had three children together. During her Bewitched run, she was an outspoken opponent of the Viet Nam War and had always been an outspoken proponent for gay rights and women’s’ rights. In 1992, she was a co-Grand Marshal for the Los Angeles Gay Pride Parade along with her friend and first “Darren” husband, Dick Sargent.
In 1995, Elizabeth Montgomery died from complications due to colorectal cancer. She died just eight weeks after being diagnosed with it. She was filming her last movie, “Deadline for Murder” and had ignored flu-like symptoms that the cancer brought on, so it was too late to do anything for her when she was finally diagnosed. She died at home with her fourth husband, Robert Foxworth and her children.
In 2005, a statue was erected in her honor as Samantha, her Bewitched character and in 2008; she posthumously received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
She died on this day in history, May 18, 1995 at the young age of 62.