Elizabeth Montgomery

Elizabeth Montgomery

Infobox actor
bgcolour = silver
name = Elizabeth Montgomery

imagesize = 300px
caption =
birthname = Elizabeth Victoria Montgomery
birthdate = birth date|1933|04|15
location = Hollywood, California, USA
deathdate = death date and age|1995|5|18|1933|04|15
deathplace = Los Angeles, California, USA
yearsactive = 1950 - 1995
spouse = Robert Foxworth (1993-1995)
William Asher (1963-1973)
Gig Young (1956-1963)
nowrap|Frederick Gallatin Cammann (1954-1955)

Elizabeth Victoria Montgomery (April 15, 1933 – May 18, 1995) was an American film and television actress whose career spanned five decades. She is best remembered for her roles as Samantha Stephens in "Bewitched", as Ellen Harrod in "A Case of Rape" and as Lizzie Borden in "The Legend of Lizzie Borden".



Born in Los Angeles, California, Elizabeth Montgomery was the child of actor Robert Montgomery and his wife, Broadway actress Elizabeth Bryan Allen. She had an older sister, Martha Bryan Montgomery, who died before she was born, and a brother, Robert Montgomery, Jr., who was born in 1936. She attended The Spence School.

Early career

Montgomery made her television debut in her father's series "Robert Montgomery Presents", and her film debut in 1955 in "The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell".

Her early career consisted of starring vehicles and appearances in live television dramas and series, such as "Studio One", "Kraft Television Theater", "The Twilight Zone", and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents". In 1954 she lost out on co-starring with Marlon Brando in the seminal film "On the Waterfront" directed by Elia Kazan.

She was also featured in a role as a socialite with Henry Silva and Sammy Davis, Jr in the offbeat 1963 gangster film "Johnny Cool" and, the same year, with Dean Martin and Carol Burnett in the motion picture comedy "Who's Been Sleeping In My Bed?", directed by Daniel Mann. Nevertheless, Alfred Hitchcock had her in mind to play the sister-in-law of Sean Connery, who sees herself as a rival to the troubled heroine in the movie "Marnie", but Montgomery was unavailable owing to her commitment to a new television show: "Bewitched."


Montgomery played the central role of Samantha Stephens with Dick York (and later with Dick Sargent), in the ABC situation comedy "Bewitched". The show became a rating success (it was, at the time, the highest rated series ever for the network [cite book|last=Mansour|first=David |title=From Abba to Zoom: A Pop Culture Encyclopedia of the Late 20th Century|publisher=Andrews McMeel Publishing|date=2005|pages=38|isbn=0-740-75118-2] ). It enjoyed an eight-year run from 1964 to 1972 and remains popular through syndication and DVD releases. She also provided the voice of Samantha for an episode of "The Flintstones".

Montgomery received five Emmy Award and four Golden Globe nominations for her role. At its creative peak, "Bewitched" was considered one of the most sophisticated sitcoms on the air and cleverly explored contemporary themes and social issues within a fantasy context.

The series and Montgomery's portrayal of Samantha were paid homage in the 2005 movie, "Bewitched", starring Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman.

After "Bewitched"

Although Montgomery enjoyed enormous success with the show, she felt typecast and pigeonholed when she sought other roles after the show's run ended. Montgomery refused to do Samantha's famous nose twitch for fans after "Bewitched" went off the air, and was reluctant to discuss the show.

Montgomery returned to Samantha-like twitching of her nose and on-screen magic in a series of Japanese television commercials (1980-83) for "Mother" chocolate biscuits and cookies by confectionery conglomerate Lotte Corp. These Japanese commercials provided a lucrative salary for Montgomery while remaining out of sight from non-Japanese fans and Hollywood industry. The commercials were posted on YouTube in 2007.

In the United States, Montgomery spent much of her later career pursuing dramatic roles that took her as far away from the good-natured Samantha as possible. Among her later roles:
* She received Emmy Award nominations for playing a rape victim in "A Case of Rape" (1974), for her portrayal of Lizzie Borden in William Bast's "The Legend of Lizzie Borden" (1975), and for her role as a strong woman facing hardship in 1820s Ohio in the mini-series "The Awakening Land" (1978).
* In 1977, Montgomery turned heads when she played a police detective having an interracial affair with her partner, played by OJ Simpson in [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076266/ A Killing Affair] .
* She also made a chilling villain in the 1985 picture "Amos", playing a nurse in a state home who terrorized residents Kirk Douglas and Dorothy McGuire.
* One of her final roles was in an episode of "" entitled "," in which she played a barmaid.
* She also had a long run as a guest performer on the game show "Password", and host Allen Ludden referred to her as the best "Password" player ever on the show.
* Her final television movies were the highly-rated Edna Buchanan detective series.

Montgomery was one of the first actresses to broaden their careers from series work with television movies, and she set the precedent for other TV series actresses, such as Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith, Melissa Gilbert, Lindsay Wagner, Carol Burnett, and Barbara Eden, to follow.

Personal life

Montgomery was first married to New York socialite Frederick Gallatin Cammann in 1954; the marriage lasted barely a year. She was married to actor Gig Young from 1956 to 1963, and then to director-producer William Asher from 1963 until their 1973 divorce. They had three children: William Asher (July 24, 1964), Robert Asher (October 5, 1965) and Rebecca Asher (June 17, 1969). The latter two pregnancies were incorporated into "Bewitched" as Samantha's pregnancies with Tabitha (primarily Erin Murphy, with twin Diane) and Adam Stephens. After cohabiting for nearly twenty years, she entered her fourth and final marriage, to actor Robert Foxworth, in 1993. She even approached comedian Dennis Miller about taking out a license to marry the couple. She remained married to Foxworth until her death. [cite web
title=Elizabeth Montgomery Biography
author=R. E. Lee

Political activism

In June 1992, Montgomery and her former "Bewitched" co-star Dick Sargent, who had remained a good friend, were Grand Marshals at the Los Angeles Gay Pride Parade. Montgomery had liberal political views, being an outspoken champion of women's rights and gay rights throughout her life, sharply contrasting with her conservative Republican father, who was once a media advisor to President Dwight Eisenhower. In fact, during "Bewitched's" run, she was a vocal critic of The Vietnam War. Further, she narrated a series of political documentaries in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including " [http://www.empowermentproject.org/pages/coverup.html Coverup: Behind the Iran Contra Affair] " (1988) and the Academy Award winning "The Panama Deception" (1992).

Illness and death

Montgomery was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the spring of 1995. She had ignored the flu-like symptoms during the filming of "Deadline for Murder: From the Files of Edna Buchanan", but acted too late. Unwilling to die in a hospital, and with no hope of recovery, she elected to return to her Beverly Hills home that she shared with Foxworth. She died there, in the company of her children and husband, on May 18, 1995, eight weeks after her diagnosis. [cite news|url=http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20100784,00.html|title=That Magic Feeling|last=Gliatto|first=Tom |date=1995-06-05|publisher="People"|accessdate=2008-05-13] Montgomery was 62 years old.

A memorial service was held on June 18, 1995, at the Canon Theatre in Beverly Hills. Herbie Hancock provided the music, and Dominick Dunne spoke about their early days as friends in New York. Other speakers included Robert Foxworth, who read out sympathy cards from fans, her nurse, her brother, daughter, and stepson. She was cremated at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery.


* On April 19, 1998, an event auction/sale of her clothing was held by her family to benefit AIDS Healthcare Foundation of Los Angeles. Erin Murphy, who played Tabitha on the series, modeled the clothing that was auctioned.
* In June 2005, a statue of Montgomery as Samantha Stephens was erected in Salem, Massachusetts. [cite web
title = History-minded not under spell of 'Bewitched' statue
publisher = The Associated Press
url = http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/intucson/living/061805d1_bewitched
date = 2005-06-18
accessdate = 2008-03-21
] [cite web
title = A Pictorial Tale of the 'Bewitched' statue of Salem, Massachusetts
publisher = palachi.com
url = http://palachi.com
date = 2005
accessdate =
* A star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame was presented in honor of Montgomery's work in television on January 4, 2008. [cite web
title = Hollywood star is unveiled posthumously for TV's 'Bewitched' star Elizabeth Montgomery
publisher = The Associated Press
url = http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/01/05/arts/NA-A-E-MOV-US-Elizabeth-Montgomery.php
date = 2008-01-05
accessdate = 2008-03-21
] The location of star is 6533 Hollywood Blvd.

Award nominations

elected filmography


*", a five-part radio drama (1993, Narrator)
*"Beauty's Punishment" (1994, Narrator)
*"Beauty's Release" (1994, Narrator)

Two audio books in which Montgomery narrates the work of Anne Rice (writing as A.N. Roquelaure) are available as of 2005.


External links

* [http://www.bewitched.net Elizabeth Montgomery fan web site]
* [http://fantasy.beautiful-addiction.net/actresses/lizzie/ Elizabeth Montgomery fanlisting]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TepRdrZomhk YouTube Japanese TV ad for "Mother" cookies]

NAME= Montgomery, Elizabeth
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Montgomery, Elizabeth Victoria
DATE OF BIRTH= 15 April, 1933
PLACE OF BIRTH= Los Angeles, California
DATE OF DEATH= 18 May, 1995
PLACE OF DEATH= Beverly Hills, California

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