Bewitched: Astonishing Facts Revealed About The Cast And Crew

If the magic still lives in your heart, you surely remember the heart-warming TV series about a beautiful little witch, Samantha, her beloved husband, and her freakishly lovely family. It has been many years all right – the first episode was aired in 1964 – but that’s what we have Netflix for! And now we will tell you some things that will make you crave re-watching it. There was a reason why producers wouldn’t want you to know that, so be prepared to find out something extraordinary!

Samantha Actress Elizabeth Montgomery Never Actually Wiggled Her Nose

Montgomery’s nose wiggle was actually a camera trick, according to Erin Murphy, the actress who played daughter Tabitha. If you look closely, you’ll notice that Samantha’s nose never wiggles. It’s actually her upper lip. Some folks claim her mouth moving did move her nose.

“The Darrin Syndrome”

Samantha’s husband Darrin was played by more than one actor. Without warning or explanation, producers replaced Dick York with Dick Sargent, apparently hoping the audience either wouldn’t notice or wouldn’t care. The act of switching out actors without explanation like this became known as “The Darrin Syndrome.”

Poor Dick York left the show due to chronic back pain.

Darrin Wasn’t The Only Character to Be Swapped


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Not only did producers switch the actor who played Darrin, they also traded actresses for the part of nosey neighbor Gladys Kravitz. The part was first played by Alice Pearce, but Sandra Gould was later given the part.

Elizabeth Montgomery Was Never Replaced, In Fact She Played Multiple Roles

Not only did Elizabeth Montgomery star as the leading witch, she also played Samantha’s cousin Serena.

Bewitched Creator, Sol Saks, Reveals His Inspiration

The TV show was created after Sol Saks watched the films I Married A Witch and Bell, Book and Candle. Saks modeled the script for the pilot episode after the films. He has said in interviews since the show that he wasn’t worried about any litigation, considering that both movies were owned by Columbia Pictures, which also owned Screen Gems – the company that produced “Bewitched.”

Anti-Aging Potion

Elizabeth was quite the babe back in the 60s and kept her beauty into the later years of her life. She must have put an anti-aging spell on herself.


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Richard Crenna Admits He Almost Was Darrin

In the early days of the show’s casting, a young actor named Richard Sargent was close to being signed on to play Darrin Stephens. However, Sargent took another job while the pilot searched for a Samantha.. Crenna may not have been a serious consideration but we will never know what the show would have been like, or if the Darrin Syndrome would have occurred.

York It Is

Actor Richard Crenna was offered Darrin next, but he’d just spent several years on “The Real McCoys,” so he passed. Dick York ended up with the lead male role. Sargent would later take the role, but we’ll never know if the show would have lasted 8 seasons with him in the first place.

Dick York’s Real Reason for Leaving

His departure was never explained on the show, but Dick York had a good reason for it. York tore most of the muscles on the right side of his back while filming Cordura, and never recovered completely. Doctors gave him pain medication, but that wasn’t really a long-term solution.


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Enter Dick Sargent

During Season Five of “Bewitched,” a replacement doctor gave York some B-12 when he went in during a lunch break from filming. York had a seizure on set and was rushed to the hospital. He never returned and the show went Darrin-less for a few episodes until Dick Sargent stepped in.

Elizabeth Montgomery’s Real Life Pregnancies

She was pregnant three times! Her first was born July 1964. Producers were able to write two of Montgomery’s pregnancies into the script, adding Tabitha and Adam to the Stephens family. Lucky us, it enriched their TV family in a very natural way!

Dick York As Darrin Stephens

Dick York played Darrin Stephens on “Bewitched,” the mortal husband of wife Samantha Stephens. Dick was a beloved actor throughout the 60s due to his role on the series, but was also known for the 60s classic film, Inherit the Wind. Dick took his good looks and charm into his later life.


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Alice Pearce: Cursed With Terminal Cancer

Alice Pearce disappeared from the world of “Bewitched” when she passed away in March 1966 from ovarian cancer. Pearce received her cancer diagnosis four months before she landed her role on the show. She had surgery, but doctors informed her that her ovarian cancer was terminal. She never told her coworkers about her illness.

Emmy Award

She was awarded a posthumous Outstanding Supporting Actress Emmy Award for her portrayal of Gladys two months after her death.

The Truth Behind Their 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.


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A Special Brooch

Agnes Moorehead often wore a starburst brooch that was set with 8.5 carats of old-mine diamonds. Montgomery often admired the pin. Moorehead bequeathed it to her TV daughter when she passed away in 1974.

York and Moorehead: Off Camera Friendships Bloomed

Darrin may have despised Endora on the show, but the two were great friends off-camera. In fact, Moorehead was closer to York than any other cast member.

Cold Shoulder

Moorehead admired York’s talent on the screen and wasn’t pleased when he was replaced with Dick Sargent.
A few episodes were filmed with no Darrin at all.

Aunt Clara Actress Marion Lorne Collected…What?


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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.

Endearing Auntie

Despite this strangeness, Aunt Clara was able to endear herself to Darrin, even though he despised most of Samantha’s relatives.

Larry Tate’s Son’s Tragic Naming & Fate

When Larry and Louise Tate were blessed with a son on “Bewitched,” actor David White requested that he 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.

Together Forever

Tragically, Jonathan was a passenger on Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over Scotland in 1988. David died of a heart attack two years later and the pair are buried together at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.


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The “Sisters at Heart” Christmas Episode was Written by High School Students

The story idea and basic script for “Sisters at Heart” was created by 22 African-American 10th graders in Marcella Saunders’ English class at Jefferson High School in South Central Los Angeles. While the episode has it’s good story, it’d be considered politically incorrect now, since several actors appear in blackface at one point.

Anti-Racism Intentions

The plot device occurs because Samantha casts a spell on a racist client of Darrin’s, in which he is supposed to see everyone, even himself, as having black skin.

Samantha’s Magic Was Really Just Stagehands

Since CGI didn’t exist in the 1960s, stagehands worked hard to produce Samantha’s “magic.” If she wanted to quickly tidy up the living room, Elizabeth Montgomery would stand in place with her arms up while the director yelled, “Cut!” and stagehands removed the clutter. She was allowed to have crutch-like devices to help keep her arms up for long periods of time.


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Action!

She was only allowed to lower her arms and continue the scene when the director yelled, “Action!”

The Mysterious Theme Song

The famous song actually has lyrics! The lyrics are never sung over the opening credits, but the theme song for Bewitched actually had lyrics.

Darrin’s Perspective

Steve Lawrence can be heard singing the lyrics in a clip on YouTube. The lyrics were written from Darrin’s perspective — if he knew that his wife was a witch.


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Elizabeth Montgomery’s Obituary Is So Wrong

Elizabeth Montgomery was a private person who never felt the need to make her vital statistics public. At the time of her death, her age was published as 57. In actuality, the actress was 62. Several obituaries also listed her as single because she didn’t reveal to the public her marriage to Robert Foxworth a couple years previously.

Birth Certificate Inconsistencies

Her death certificate also listed her as “Elizabeth A. Montgomery,” even though her middle name was Victoria.

Drunk On Set!

Cast members often drank on set and were sometimes filmed while drunk, including producer William Asher. The drinking was so pervasive that many fan sites were created to log the number of times in each episode that each character was seen drinking.

Record-Breaking Drinking Habits


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In fact, here’s a list of some of the bars and nightclubs mentioned on the show: The Diamond Slipper, Dundee’s Bar (which Darrin refers to as “the best restaurant in town”), Purple Popsicle night club, Joe’s Bar and Grill, Happy Times Bar, Hearthstone Bar/Restaurant, Golden Spoon Restaurant, and Elbow Room Cocktail Lounge.

Supposedly the rules were stricter when children were on set. Actors were supposed to use iced tea to imitate the look of alcohols. Dick Wilson often played a drunk on the show. Maybe he knows how much acting was involved?

Elizabeth Montgomery Almost Didn’t Make The Cut

The show’s creator, Sol Saks, really wanted an actress named Tammy Grimes to play as his lead witch (who was to be called Cassandra, not Samantha, originally). Saks liked the fact that Grimes had such a naturally elfin appearance. In the end, Sol Saks and Bill Asher went with Elizabeth Montgomery for this series.

Cassandra Wasn’t Meant To Be

She actually auditioned for the original role, but due to being under contract to Screen Gems, wasn’t able to take the job. The character was renamed Samantha, and the rest is history.


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Home Is Where The Magic Is

The house that was used for the 1959 movie “Gidget” was copied, in reverse, for the “Bewitched” set. The patio and interior living rooms were duplicates from another Gidget movie. The facade of the home also appeared in shows like “Dennis the Menace” and “I Dream of Jeannie.”

Gladys Kravitz’s Hand-Me-Down

This lot and its neighborhood of homes (known offically as “Blondie Street” after the early movie serial that followed the adventures of Blondie and Dagwood Bumstead) has been in use for about 50 years and can be seen in a variety of television shows and films — in fact, often at the same time! For example, during the run of “Bewitched”, Samantha and Darrin’s nosy neighbor Mrs. Kravitz also lived in the Partridge home. “The Partridge Family” debuted before Bewitched ended its run, so for two seasons, both the Partridges and the Kravitz shared a home!

The Partridge family lived in a modest 2-story house with a white picket fence. The fence was taken down in 1999, and bay windows now replace the front windows used in the “Bewitched” days. The front door is also fairly different. The picture below is from 2000. If you’re facing the Partridge house, the home next door to the right was used in “I Dream of Jeannie” as Major Nelson and Jeannie’s house (more on that later). For “The Partridge Family”, about three feet of Jeannie’s front yard had to be removed in order to widen the driveway to accommodate the bus. It has since been restored to its original width.

Two Tabithas?

Hey, they were the original Olsen twins! Fraternal twins named Erin and Diane Murphy were cast to share the role of the Stephens’ daughter, Tabitha.


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A Natural

It was clear right away that Erin really took to acting and would be the star of the show, so she was used for close-up shots and speaking scenes, while Diane was primarily used in long shots.

War Of The Witches

It’s been said that Elizabeth Montgomery was not pleased when “I Dream Of Jeannie” debuted on NBC just one year after “Bewitched” was introduced on rival network ABC.

Nothing Personal

Both shows were about gorgeous blonde women with magical powers — Jeannie was a 2,000-year-old genie who falls in love with a NASA astronaut – and they both shared similar plot lines at times.

But Elizabeth never felt any personal animosity toward “I Dream Of Jeannie’s” stars Barbara Eden or Larry Hagman.


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Great Cast of Characters

“Bewitched” was home to a slew of amusing, unusual side characters. One favorite was Uncle Arthur, who was played by Paul Lynde.

Interestingly, Lynde also appeared three times on “I Dream of Jeannie,” once as an IRS agent, once as a film director, and also as a NASA commander.

Dr. Bombay

The Stephens’ family physician was, naturally, a witch doctor named Dr. Bombay. Portrayed by actor Bernard Fox, Dr. Bombay usually showed up in an outlandish costume.

He also made two appearances on the spin-off series “Tabitha.”


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Hocus Smokus

Many of the stars and guest stars of “Bewitched” were heavy smokers. Elizabeth Montgomery was supposedly a chain smoker, and Paul Lynde was too. Dick York smoked three packs a day!

In a later interview, Tabitha actress Erin Murphy said, “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 Real-Life Curse?

Some fans speculate that there’s a real-life curse on the show. Approximately 85% of its cast ended up dying of cancer-related causes. It’s hard to say whether this sad statistic can be attributed to witchcraft or to unhealthy lifestyle decisions.

Early Richard Dreyfuss Role

In 1966, Richard Dreyfuss had one of his first TV roles ever with an appearance on the episode “Man’s Best Friend.” In it, he plays a character named Rodney, a bratty little warlock who Samantha used to babysit.


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Doggone It

Rodney is older now and professes his love to Samantha, and turns himself into a dog in order to stay in her home. Darrin falls in love with the dog, and Sam is at wit’s end trying to figure out a way to get rid of it!

Weary Witch

Montgomery grew tired of “Bewitched” and was ready to throw in the towel 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.

Way To Show 'Em

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.


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More Tabitha, Please

“Bewitched” led to a spin-off show called “Tabitha.”

The concept was based around the adult life of Samantha and Darrin’s daughter, Tabitha. The show was disappointing to many fans, since the original actress (Erin Murphy) wasn’t involved, and the series didn’t do well.

Tabitha’s Post-Bewitched Life

After “Bewitched,” Tabitha actress Murphy had roles on shows like “Lassie,” made dozens of commercial appearances, and did some swimwear modeling. It doesn’t end there, though: she’s also worked as a makeup artist, a casting director, stunt double, fashion stylist, acting teacher, and motivational speaker. Wow! That’s a lot of talent!

Be-Twitched

Montgomery’s husband, “Bewitched” director William Asher, says that the wriggle is something she did naturally when she was frustrated or nervous.


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Switching Darrin was Bad For Ratings

Audiences noticed the difference, and ratings plummeted for the show’s final three years. Fans just weren’t willing to accept an unfamiliar face in the role.

Secretary Switcharoo

Darrin’s secretary on the show was played by multiple actresses, including Marcia Wallace, who eventually voiced teacher Edna Krabappel on “The Simpsons.” Marcia also played Bob Newhart’s secretary on “The Bob Newhart Show” in the 1970s.

Samantha-Serena Similarities

Serena, like Samantha, likes to hang with mere mortals. She even dates a few! We wouldn’t call her a sixties swinger, but she definitely had more hippie tendencies. She generally is in favor of Samantha’s marriage to a mortal, though she ribs them for being less cool than she is. Samantha and Serena usually weren’t filmed in the same scenes, because camera technology had not advanced completely. However they did sometimes try split-screen filming and using a double from the rear to show both characters, both played by Montgomery, at the same time.


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Bell, Book, and Candle

In Bell, Book, and Candle, blonde beauty Kim Novak plays a witch living in modern-day New York City.
This was the inspiration for the TV series, according to producer, Sol Saks

Elizabeth Montgomery’s Magical Transformation

She may have been able to get anything she wanted while she was playing a witch, but she wasn’t so happy offscreen. She dated Elvis, Dean Martin, and Gary Cooper, but her “father complex” supposedly kept drawing her to abusive lovers.
She befriended JFK, but nobody knows if anything happened romantically between them.

Coincidental Birthdays

Montgomery gave birth to her real-life daughter Rebecca Asher on the birthday of the twins playing Tabitha (June 17th).

RIP, Dick York


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Unfortunately, York died of complications from emphysema. He was just 63. He’s buried in Rockford, Michigan.