An out of this world creature like a witch marrying an ordinary man and wanting to lead just a normal life of a typical housewife sounds like something I would like to see unfolding on the TV screens. But wait, the series Bewitched which ran for eight seasons between 1964 and 1972 is exactly about that. If you haven’t seen it yet, maybe you should search it and check it out.
In the show, the role of charming Samantha Stephens, who enchanted millions with her nose twitch, was played by gorgeous Elizabeth Montgomery. This actress rose to stardom in the 1960s, but her life ended way too early in a tragic manner.
Montgomery was born in Los Angeles on April 15, 1933 to a Broadway actress and film star. Her father was proclaimed actor Robert Montgomery and she followed into his footsteps.
“Dad tells me I often climbed on his lap after dinner and remarked, ‘I’m going to be an actress when I grow up.’ I don’t know whether he encouraged me or not, but he told me he would humor me and would tell me to wait and see what happened when I grew up,” the actress said in 1954 interview with the Los Angeles Times. ”I’ll be real honest and say that Daddy did help me get a break in TV and I’m really grateful for his assistance and guidance. He’s my most severe critic, but also a true friend as well as loving father.”
Montgomery had her television debut even as a teenager on her father’s show, Robert Montgomery Presents, and had several more appearances.
At 20 years old, this stunningly beautiful actress had her Broadway debut in Late Love, and two years later, she appeared on the big screen when she landed a role in her debut film The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell.
Plenty of other movies followed for Montgomery, who had become a household name. Among the rest, she starred in Mrs. Sundance (1973), A Case of Rape (1974), The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975), Black Widow Murders (1993), The Corpse Had a Familiar Face (1994), and Deadline for Murder: From the Files of Edna Buchanan (1995), yet her role in Bewitched remains one of her most famous one. ”I’d never thought much about a series because I liked the idea of picking a script I liked with a character I thought I could sustain for an hour. In a series, you live with one character day in and day out – and you only hope it will be one that will not drive you crazy,” Montgomery told AP in 1965.
The actress was married four times in her life. She first tied the knot with Frederick Gallatin Cammann, but the marriage didn’t last. She then married Gig Young, an award-winning actor, but divorced him in 1963. Montgomery met her third husband, William Asher, with whom she had three children, while filming Johnny Cool. Her forth husband, with whom she stayed until her death, was Robert Foxworth.
“Before Jane Seymour, before Lindsay Wagner and before Valerie Bertinelli, Elizabeth was the first Queen of the TV movies; she went from queen of the witches to queen of the TV movie and it was no longer a struggle to break away from Bewitched,” Herbie J Pilato, author of two books on Elizabeth Montgomery, said of the actress.
Montgomery died in 1995 of colon cancer that she believed was free from. When she was checked out, it was already late as the cancer spread to her liver. She died in her sleep with her husband and daughters by her side. Her body was cremated at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.
Elizabeth Montgomery was an incredible actress. She’s still dearly missed.