Wednesday, June 11, 2008

People Pay Tribute To Elizabeth Montgomery

Elizabeth Victoria Montgomery
The BeWitching Elizabeth Montgomery advertising lux soap ( canadian name for dove)

Elizabeth Montgomery feelin' GROOVY

Elizabeth Victoria Montgomery was born April 15, 1933 in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of actor Robert Montgomery and stage actress Elizabeth Allen. Along with her younger brother, Skip (Robert, Jr., born 1936), Elizabeth had a privileged childhood, raised in Hollywood among the movie stars. Summers were spent at the Montgomerys' country house in New York state or in England. She attended the exclusive Westlake School for Girls where the daughters of affluent families were taught to be poised and ladylike young women. Her first acting role was at the age of five in a French language production of Little Red Riding Hood at the Westlake School; Elizabeth played the wolf.
Elizabeth being held by her mother, 1933
In 1950, the family moved to New York where her father was just beginning his television series Robert Montgomery Presents. When the Montgomerys divorced in December of that year, Elizabeth first stayed in the family home with her mother, but subsequently moved in with her father and his second wife. Elizabeth entered the Spence School, another exclusive educational establishment and after graduating in 1951, enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Art to foster her theatrical aspirations. She made her television debut on her father's series in 1951, in an episode entitled Top Secret. She and her father portrayed father and daughter in the production. Her opening line to Montgomery; "Hi, Pop," caused her father to forget his lines. He later said it wasn't until then that he realized it was his daughter he was acting with. She received favorable reviews for her work and in 1952 was engaged as a member of the summer stock company on her father's show. Afraid that people would think she was merely riding on her father's coattails, Elizabeth casually suggested she might change her name, to which her father replied downheartedly, "What's the matter, you ashamed?" Her name remained the same and she continued to find employment on both television and the stage. Far from fawning over his daughter's accomplishments, Montgomery would send her notes critiquing her performances, especially ones he didn't like. She tried to follow his advise; " Like Daddy," Elizabeth said, "I try to be neat, concise in my work..."

In October of 1953, Elizabeth made her Broadway debut in the play Late Love. She had previously appeared in summer stock productions of Brigadoon and Biography. The play closed in January, 1954 and in March Elizabeth married Frederic Gallatin Cammann, a New York blue-blood who was expelled from the Social Register for marrying an actress. The marriage lasted scarcely a year, and on December 28, 1956 Elizabeth married actor Gig Young. This marriage was a turbulent one; Young, the star of such films as Come Fill the Cup, Teacher's Pet and They Shoot Horses Don't They?, was a chronic alcoholic and 23-year-old Elizabeth was at a loss as to how to handle the problem.

During the 1950's and early 1960's Elizabeth appeared in over 200 television shows including an Emmy-nominated performance in The Untouchables. In 1955 she made her feature film debut in The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell with Gary Cooper. But she was still essentially known as Robert Montgomery's daughter. But that was all about to change...

In 1963, at an audition for the feature film Johnny Cool Elizabeth met director William Asher whose credits included the ever-popular I Love Lucy. Elizabeth got the part and she and the director fell in love during the making of the film. Elizabeth flew to Mexico for a quickie divorce from Young and she and Asher were married in El Paso, Texas shortly after. Upon her third marriage Elizabeth expressed a desire to retire and start a family; Asher suggested that they could work together on a television series. This idea appealed to Elizabeth and Asher approached ABC with an idea for a sit-com about a rich girl, starring his new bride. ABC, however, already had the script for a television pilot by Sol Saks which they thought would be good for Elizabeth. After making a few changes to the script, Asher decided this was indeed the show for them. Bewitched was a fantasy-comedy loosely based on the feature films I Married a Witch and Bell, Book, and Candle which dealt with the problems that arise when a mortal man marries a beautiful witch. As her co-stars Elizabeth had Dick York as her mortal husband and veteran actress Agnes Moorehead as her trouble-making mother. During the filming of the pilot which took place in December of 1963, Elizabeth was pregnant with her first child; William Allen Asher was born on July 24, 1964, and filming for the series commenced in September of that year. Six days later the pilot was aired. Needless to say, Bewitched proved a huge success and enjoyed an eight-year run on ABC. Elizabeth's two subsequent pregnancies were incorporated into the storyline of the show; Robert Deverell Asher was born October 5, 1965 and Rebecca Elizabeth Asher on June 17, 1969. These coincided with the TV births of Tabatha and Adam Stephens, respectively.

In 1969, Dick York left the series due to illness; although the Ashers preferred to end the series rather than go on without York, the network offered them a deal they couldn't resist so they signed on for four more years and the show continued with Dick Sargent replacing York. In 1972 with the series and its star experiencing a bad case of burn-out, the show was ended a year earlier than planned. Now Elizabeth found herself out of work for the first time since she was 18; Asher continued with other television and film projects and Elizabeth traveled to Europe. By 1973 the Asher's ten-year marriage was over and they were divorced that year.
After starring in the TV movie The Victim in 1972, Elizabeth returned to television in 1974 in the TV movie Mrs. Sundance. It was during the filming of Mrs. Sundance that she met actor Robert Foxworth and the two soon became a couple. Nervous about marrying for a fourth time, Elizabeth preferred that she and Foxworth simply live together. Also in 1974 she starred in the critically acclaimed TV movie A Case of Rape in which she portrayed a rape victim. In 1975 Elizabeth appeared in the title role in the TV movie The Legend of Lizzie Borden which has become a cult favorite. Most of her post-Bewitched roles were dramatic as opposed to comedic and her career in TV movies continued steadily until the mid-80's; she returned once again in 1990 after a five year absence from acting, in Face to Face.

On January 28 of 1993, after living together nearly 20 years, Elizabeth and Robert Foxworth were married in a simple, unpublicized ceremony. In the spring of 1995, after attributing her fatigue to overwork during the filming of her twenty-second TV movie, Deadline For Murder: From the Files of Edna Buchanan, Elizabeth finally visited a doctor where she was diagnosed with colon cancer; exploratory surgery proved it had spread too far and was beyond help. Just a few weeks later, on May 18, 1995, Elizabeth passed away with Foxworth and her children waiting in the next room at her request. She was 62 years old, she left us quietly at her home in Beverly Hills.

This is a geat tribute to Elizabeth Montgomery

The Day Elizabeth Montgomery drew closer to God

TV Radio MirrorFebruary 1970

As the date of her wedding approached, Liz suddenly felt that something vital was missing from her life...
She let the cab go at the corner, deciding to walk the rest of the way despite the blustery wind that chilled the air. Pulling up the collar of her fur coat, Elizabeth Montgomery held it close with one gloved hand while the other kept a wisp of satin and net firmly perched atop her ash-blond hair...The hat had been a last-moment change. Though it might be a bit frivolous-looking, Liz had decided that the pale blue chapeau matched her mood--and was therefore appropriate for this solemn occasion. New York might be battling late-winter sleet and wind, but inside Elizabeth there was the decided feeling of spring! Her entire being sang with the warmth and beauty of her favorite season. The hat might be a bit out of place weatherwise...but it went along with the wonderful feeling of joy that swept through her. She bent her head slightly to ward off a sudden flurry of snowflakes, and grimaced. Not snow again! Then she was there...standing in front of the old church with its impressive spire towering high, reaching toward heaven. Elizabeth's mouth quivered a bit, then she smiled to herself: a small, secret smile that lit up her face with something close to radiance. Soon...on a day in early spring...she would apprach these same steps again. On that day she would be accompanied by dozens of others, people who loved her. On that March day in 1954, she would alight from an automobile to be guided up the wide steps with the reverence and awe due a young bride. But today--today was very important in its own right! She ascended the stone steps slowly, knowing that what she was about to do was an event which would remain forever etched in her memory. She had never explored the reasons why she had not been baptized as a child. Not until a few weeks ago had the subject ever been a compelling one. Then, from some unexplainable inner prompting, Liz had decided that this would be the time: Before she married, she wanted to hear the minister formally declare her a Christian. A rush of gratitude toward her parents overcame her for a long moment. In their wisdom, they had allowed her to come to this moment by her own choosing--because she wanted it. How much more sacred it was because of this! Now she walked past the huge doors, through the vestibule, to enter the hushed tranquility of the empty church with its lovely stained glass windows. The minister, whom she had come to know well in the weeks she had been seeing him for instruction prior to the actual baptism ceremony, moved forward to greet her. Then she was at the altar, kneeling, head bowed while he spoke the essential words. There were tears in her eyes when it was over. She had kept this her secret, but tonight she would make the annoucement that it had been done. And when they asked her why, she would state simply: "I just wanted to, that's all." Some 15 years later, Elizabeth Montgomery still maintains that her reason for being baptized at the age of 21 was simply that she felt the need to do it at that particular time. Curled up comfortably on the sofa of her cozy dressing room on the set of Bewitched, she glances about her at the things that are significantly a part of her life today. Small as it is, the room is filled with homelike touches, mementos that reflect the inner happiness one senses immediately upon meeting Liz--a happiness she has known completely, ever since her marriage to producer-director William Asher in 1963. Life wasn't always so supremely perfect for this talented and beautiful young woman. What Liz had thought of as perfection was sharply ended for her at the vulnerable age of 17. That was the year her parents were divorced after 22 years of marriage; a union idealistic young Elizabeth had thought nothing short of perfect. One can't help wondering if the trauma of that crushing event might have been the prime factor in her decision to be baptized four years later...when her own marriage was imminent. Her husband-to-be was Frederic Gallatin Cammann, a Harvard man whose family had been in the Social Register for years. Elizabeth was in love. She had always looked to marriage as her ultimate goal in life. Realizing how it had turned out for her parents, perhaps LIz felt she must reach out for every bit of support available. Liz has always been close-mouthed about the details of her personal life. Outwardly, she appeared to take her parents' divorce with dignified aplomb, but it isn't hard to imagine what the breakup meant to her at the time.A new need for God's love Today, Elizabeth Montgomery Asher finds herself as concerned about religion as she was in those months of decision before her short-lived marriage to Fred Cammann. But for entirely different reasons! As mother of two frisky runabouts (William Allen and Robert Deverell) and a baby daughter (Rebecca Elizabeth), she has had to think about the subject far more than she did in her own childhood: "My brother, Skip, and I went to Sunday School but we did not say prayers at bedtime, and our famiy was not one that regularly attended church. I suppose we believed in God, but in our own way. I enjoyed Sunday School, looked forward to going. But to me the stories were more like fairy tales. I didn't really take them seriously. "I know that many children live in mortal fear because their parents have scared them by saying that unless they are good, God will punish them. Using fright to teach religion seems to me to be very unhealthy. After all, if we can't base our belief in a Supreme Being on love, then how can any of us truly believe?" Her pretty features settle into a thoughtful expression as she continues. "Our children are still a bit young to ask questions about God, and truthfully I don't know how I will answer them when they do! There are times when I am a little uncertain about my own beliefs. I know that there are a good many people turn to religion out of a deep need, and I think it's wonderful that they can accept some of the horrors that happen--such as war and poverty--because of their intense faith. It would certainly be a lot easier to live in this world of turmoil we're in now! "We want the boys to go to Sunday School. I feel that it is a good foundation for any child. After all, even as a piece of literature alone, there is so much that is fine and wonderful in the Bible. But how do you answer questions about the fact that a plane can drop a bomb which will completely wipe out an entire city? How do you justify a God that allows such terrible things to happen? Maybe that's why our younger generation is asking so many questions," she sighs. "I think of God as the beauty in life," she sums up musingly. "It's loving and being loved; it's feeling good inside because you are living the life of a good person. Myabe it's a good idea to try new ways of looking at the subject." Fifteen years ago, Elizabeth Montgomery undertook to bring into her life something precious that had been missing. It has been a long, hard climb to happiness since her baptism, but she has made it. While her career flourished, her personal life floundered as two marriages ended in divorce (her second husband was Gig Young, the actor). But as we all know, Elizabeth Montgomery is made of very sturdy stuff. Once she had formally declared her belief in God, she knew her feet were on the right path. Now, secure in the love of Bill Asher and their three little ones, she knows that heaven isn't so far away, after all.

" Quotes "

"The minute someone says 'Oh God, you could never do that; you can't get that kind of stuff on the air'...that's the kind of stuff I want to do."

Random Facts:

Elizabeth Montgomery was the only cast member of Bewitched that was in all 254 episodes

Elizabeth and Robert Foxworth lived together for over twenty years until her death.

Elizabeth was a member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority ( I have no clue what that is )

Elizabeth was married to actor Gig Young

Here is the original non-colorized version of this picture

Colorized picture of the beautiful Elizabeth Montgomery ( I added the color myself )

Here is the original of this picture

Another recently colorized picture of Elizabeth Montgomery ( I added the color myself)

This is a semi-rare picture of Elizabeth Montgomery with her husband Bill Asher 1968

Off stage, Elizabeth devotes herself to mothering sons, William Allen, born in 1964
just before "Bewitched" started filming, and Robert Deverell, born in 1965.

Her final television movies were the highly-rated Edna Buchanan detective series,
this is a photo from one ( what a trooper, you can't even tell that she is sick)
This is also the perfect example of her ageless beauty.

Awesome tribute to the beautiful Elizabeth Montgomery ( happier more upbeat )

" Elizabeth Montgomery was under rated as an actress, she was the best, just watch Lizzy Borman, you believe that she is Phsyco Lizzy in this stunning, yet freaky performence, and don't forget about Samantha Stevens, Elizabeth could make you believe the fakiest and most dramatic stories, and bring them to life, she was very talented"


Anonymous said...

Stunning, just stunning. What a beautifull lady & person. The world's loss.

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