Agnes Robertson Moorehead was an eminent American actress who was active in radio, film, television and stage. She was primarily recognized for her role as Endora, a quick-witted witch mother on the comedy TV series ‘Bewitched’. Moorehead was also known for her movie roles in ‘The Magnificent Ambersons’, ‘Mrs. Parkington’, ‘Johnny Belinda’, ‘Raintree County’, ‘Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte’, ‘The Singing Nun’, ‘Citizen Kane’, ‘All That Heaven Allows’ and ‘Show Boat’. On stage, she performed in seven productions as a student and continued performing until just a few months before her death. Moorehead was basically known for playing haughty, comedic, or arrogant characters. Her skills at playing character roles earned her two Golden Globe awards and one Primetime Emmy Award in addition to six Emmy and four Academy Award nominations. The American beauty, who was once one of the most sought after actresses in the industry, enjoyed an extremely successfully four-decade long career. Many Hollywood actresses of today have been inspired from Moorehead. The beloved actress died in April 1974, at the age of 73.
Childhood & Early Life
Agnes Moorehead was born as Agnes Robertson Moorehead on December 6, 1900 in Clinton, Massachusetts, to former singer Mildred and her husband, John Henderson Moorehead.
She started performing at the age of three and first recited The Lord's Prayer in a church. She then moved to St. Louis, Missouri along with her family where her ambition to pursue acting became quite strong.
In 1918, she supposedly graduated from the Central High School in St. Louis. Later on, she earned a bachelor's degree from Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio. After this, Moorehead attended Muskingum University and received an honorary doctorate from there.
She then earned a master's degree in English and public speaking from the University of Wisconsin while she also taught a public school for five years.
Moorehead then pursued her postgraduate studies at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and graduated from there in 1929. Later on, she obtained an honorary doctoral degree from the Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.
Continue Reading Below
You May Like
Agnes Moorehead started her career in radio, first appearing in the 1929 broadcast ‘Believe It or Not’. She simultaneously performed on stage, starting with the plays ‘Soldiers and Women’, ‘Scarlet Pages’ and ‘Candle Light’.
From 1930 to 1933, she appeared on the radio show ‘Sherlock Holmes’. Soon after this, she performed on the radio programs ‘Evenings in Paris’ and ‘The Gumps’ as well as in the play titled ‘All the King's Horses’.
The actress then did numerous radio broadcasts including ‘The New Penny’, ‘Way Down East’, ‘The March of Time’, ‘Terry and the Pirates’, ‘The Shadow’, ‘The Mercury Theatre on the Air’, ‘The Campbell Playhouse’, ’ Cavalcade of America’ and ‘The Adventures of Superman’. After this, she was cast in more radio shows like ‘Bringing Up Father’ and ‘Bulldog Drummond’.
In 1942, Moorehead started playing the roles of Marilly and Mrs. Elbert Stevenson on the radio programs ‘Mayor of the Town’ and ‘Suspense’ respectively.
In the late 1940s, she got featured in numerous movies such as 'The Youngest Profession', 'Jane Eyre', 'The Seventh Cross', 'Mrs. Parkington', 'Keep Your Powder Dry', 'Her Highness and the Bellboy', 'The Lost Moment', 'The Woman in White', 'Johnny Belinda', 'The Great Sinner' and 'Caged', to name a few.
From 1953 to 1964, she guest-starred on several television dramas, the popular ones being 'The Colgate Comedy Hour', 'Studio 57', 'Wagon Train', 'Playhouse 90', 'Alcoa Theatre', 'Adventures in Paradise', 'Shirley Temple's Storybook', 'The Twilight Zone', 'Channing' and 'The Greatest Show on Earth'.
During this time, she also appeared on stage and the silver screen. Moorehead’s notable projects were the plays ‘Don Juan In Hell’, ‘The Rivalry’ and ‘The Pink Jungle,’ and the films 'Main Street to Broadway', 'The Left Hand of God', 'The Swan', 'The Opposite Sex’, 'Raintree County', 'Pollyanna' and 'How the West Was Won'.
The American beauty then was cast as Endora, a quick-witted, mortal-loathing witch mother in the comedy series ‘Bewitched’ in 1964. In 1966, she played the role of Sister Cluny in the flick ‘The Singing Nun’. A year later, she appeared in an episode of ‘The Wild Wild West’. Then Moorehead guest-starred in the dramas ‘Barefoot in the Park’ and ‘The Virginian’ in 1970.
In 1971, she did the movie ‘What's the Matter with Helen’, and the television movies ‘Marriage: Year One’, ‘Suddenly Single’ and ‘The Strange Monster of Strawberry Cove’. She also guest-starred in the dramas ‘Rod Serling's Night Gallery’ and ‘Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color’ the same year. The actress then played roles in the television films ‘Rolling Man’ and ‘Night of Terror’.
Continue Reading Below
In the year 1963, Agnes Moorehead played the role of Madame Acanti in the musical ‘High Spirits’. A year later, she was cast as Velma Cruther in the American psychological thriller flick ‘Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte’. This role got her nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award.
Awards & Achievements
On February 10, 1967, Moorehead portrayed Miss Emma Valentine on an episode of ‘The Wild Wild West.’ This performance of hers earned her a ‘Primetime Emmy Award’ for the ‘Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series’.
She received a ‘Golden Globe Award’ under the category ‘Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture’ for her performance in the flick ‘Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte’.
She was given a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 8, 1960.
In 1994, Moorehead was posthumously inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame.
Agnes Moorehead married actor John Griffith Lee in 1930. The couple adopted a son named Sean and raised him until he ran away from their house. Agnes and John divorced in 1952
After separating from John Griffith Lee, Agnes Moorehead married actor Robert Gist in 1954. The couple lived together for four years before parting ways in 1958.
On April 30, 1974, the actress died of uterine cancer in Rochester, Minnesota, at the age of 73. She was buried at the Dayton Memorial Park in Dayton, Ohio.
Moorehead left $25,000 for Muskingum College. She left her clothing and jewelry to her mother, Mildred. She bequeathed her Beverly Hills home to her attorney Franklin Rohner. Also, small bequests were made for her friends and domestic staff. In her will, the actress made no provision for her adopted son Sean.
Agnes Moorehead was the first lady to co-host the Academy Awards in 1948.
She was a devoutly religious woman and was often seen with the script in one hand and the Bible in the other.
She did not enjoy filming ‘Bewitched’ since it forced the actress to get up at 4:45 a.m. and continue filming until 8:00 p.m.