Beyond the Magic: How Elizabeth Montgomery Transformed TV Witchcraft

Beyond the Magic: How Elizabeth Montgomery Transformed TV Witchcraft

Sandra Pandora | 
Pandora Writer | 
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In the glittering world of 1960s and '70s television, one name shone brighter than the rest – Elizabeth Montgomery. Montgomery's presence on screen was nothing short of magical, making her one of the most beloved TV stars of her time.

Elizabeth Montgomery

Born on April 15, 1933, in the heart of Hollywood, Elizabeth Victoria Montgomery was destined for the limelight. With a Hollywood legend for a father – Robert Montgomery – and a Broadway actress for a mother – Elizabeth Bryan Allen, she had star power in her blood. But her journey wasn't all glitz and glamour. It was her unexpected role as the Wolf in a school presentation of "Little Red Riding Hood" that ignited her love for performing during her days at the Westlake School for Girls.

As she moved into adulthood, fate intervened, and the Montgomery family traded the West Coast for the bustling streets of New York City. This move would set the stage for her rise to stardom.

Elizabeth's passion for acting led her to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, where she honed her craft. She made her mark as a guest star on various television programs, including her father's show, "Robert Montgomery Presents." But it was her Broadway debut in "Late Love" (1953-54) that earned her a coveted Theatre World Award in 1954.

Elizabeth Montgomery

Elizabeth's star continued to rise. In 1954, Montgomery tied the knot with Frederick Gallatin Cammann, a New York City socialite; however, their marital union came to an end in less than a year, resulting in divorce. Marriage came into the picture again, with veteran leading man Gig Young becoming her husband. Despite the age gap, their love story was unconventional and captivating. But the fairy tale quickly soured, leading to their divorce in 1963.

Elizabeth's return to the silver screen was marked by her role in the gangster saga "Johnny Cool" (1963), where she caught the eye of the film's director, William Asher. The two kindred spirits found love and partnership, setting the stage for something truly iconic – the creation of "Bewitched" (1964-1972).

With a young son in tow, Elizabeth and William embarked on a journey that would etch their names in TV history. "Bewitched" introduced Samantha, a suburban sorceress with an enchanting secret. The show's blend of verbal humor and magical sight gags was an instant hit, winning over audiences and propelling Elizabeth into overnight stardom.

Elizabeth Montgomery

As Samantha, Montgomery combined beauty and charm, captivating viewers with her signature "nose twitch." Her on-screen chemistry with the cast, including the iconic Agnes Moorehead and Paul Lynde, made "Bewitched" an irresistible delight. Even after cast changes and the departure of co-star Dick York, the show's popularity endured. York left the show due to health issues.

When "Bewitched" closed its doors after eight successful seasons, Montgomery's career took an intriguing turn. She embraced made-for-TV movies, showcasing her dramatic prowess in roles like "The Victim" (1972), "A Case of Rape" (1974), and "The Legend of Lizzie Borden" (1975). The transition from comedy to drama was seamless, a testament to her remarkable versatility.

After multiple marriages and divorces, she found lasting love with Robert Foxworth, her co-star in "Mrs. Sundance" (1974). They were together for over two decades. Montgomery was also a passionate advocate for various charitable causes, including AIDS research.

Elizabeth Montgomery

Tragedy struck in 1995 when Montgomery fell ill during the filming of "The Corpse Had a Familiar Face." The diagnosis was inoperable colorectal cancer. Ever the private individual, Elizabeth's battle with the disease was a closely guarded secret. Her passing on May 18, 1995, marked the end of an era, leaving behind a legacy of laughter, talent, and activism.

Even today, her presence continues to resonate. With "Bewitched" new generations get to experience the enchantment she brought to screens across the nation. As we remember Elizabeth Montgomery, let's cherish the captivating moments she gifted us and celebrate the timeless magic that was uniquely hers.


Did you know?

Elizabeth MontgomeryPortraying Samantha Stephens in the popular TV series "Bewitched" (1964-1972), Montgomery achieved widespread fame. Her depiction of a witch with magical powers captivated audiences.

Scheduled to begin on November 22, 1963, rehearsals for the pilot of "Bewitched" were postponed due to the assassination of President John Kennedy earlier on the same day. President Kennedy was a close friend of William Asher, Montgomery's husband.

Elizabeth Montgomery

Montgomery's portrayal of Serena in "Bewitched," Samantha's mischievous cousin, involved her donning a brunette wig, showcasing her versatility and creativity as an actress.

While never winning an Emmy, Montgomery received multiple nominations for her work in "Bewitched."

A nine-foot bronze statue of Montgomery as Samantha on her broomstick stands in Salem, Massachusetts, commemorating her legacy in a place known for historical witch trials.

The iconic nose twitching associated with Samantha's character was born from Montgomery's nervous upper lip twitch, a detail that became synonymous with the show.

Despite being pregnant three times during the show's run, Montgomery displayed her commitment by returning to work shortly after giving birth, showcasing her dedication to her craft.


Darrin and Samantha Stephens lived at 1164 Morning Glory Circle, Westport, Connecticut. The iconic house from "Bewitched" (which is just a façade) still stands on the Warner Bros. Ranch lot, a lasting symbol of the show's impact on popular culture. Sadly, the house will be leveled before the end of this year to make room for new soundstages.

William Asher, Elizabeth's husband and director of “Bewitched,” was also the director of "I Love Lucy" in 1952.

The set for Tabitha's room in “Bewitched” was the same set used for the den. The crew would move furniture around depending on the scenes they were filming.

The heart necklace Elizabeth (Samantha) wore was a gift from her husband William Asher.

In recognition of Montgomery's contributions to television, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 4, 2008. The star is located at 6533 Hollywood Blvd.

Elizabeth Montgomery

She had four marriages in her lifetime. Montgomery's initial union was with businessman Frederick Gallatin Cammann from 1954 to 1955. She later wed actor Gig Young from 1956 to 1963. In 1963, she married William Asher, the producer-director of "Bewitched." Her fourth husband was Robert Foxworth; she remained in this relationship from 1975 until her passing in 1995.

Behind the scenes, Montgomery faced personal hurdles, including domestic violence (from her second husband Gig Young) and divorces. Her ability to overcome these challenges while excelling in her career and advocacy efforts demonstrated her strength.

Her second husband, actor Gig Young, was married two more times after Montgomery. Elizabeth was his third wife. Young ended up killing his fifth wife in a murder/suicide after three weeks of marriage. Montgomery had divorced him in 1963 after seven years of marriage. Some say she was lucky to get out of that relationship.

The bottles and packaging originating from Elizabeth Montgomery's collaborative food endeavor with her son, Billy, have become prized and sought-after items. The secret sauce displays Montgomery's image. These products were introduced for a short time.

With her third husband, Bewitched producer Bill Asher, she had three children.

Elizabeth Montgomery

Numerous obituaries erroneously portrayed her as unmarried and 57 years old, despite her actual marriage to Robert Foxworth and being 62 years old at the time. Intriguingly, her death certificate recorded her name as Elizabeth A. Montgomery, even though her middle name was Victoria.

"Like most people, I secretly hope that it's true - that there are witches like Samantha, and that families like hers really do exist."

— Elizabeth Montgomery

"As I was saying, there are times when being a witch can be very satisfying."

— Samantha Stephens


Elizabeth Montgomery


Elizabeth Montgomery


Elizabeth Montgomery

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