Birthday: April 15, 1933
Died At Age: 62
Sun Sign: Aries
Born in: Beverly Hills, California, United States
Famous as: Actress
Height: 5'8" (173 cm), 5'8" Females
Spouse/Ex-: Frederic Gallatin Cammann (m. 1954–1955), Gig Young (m. 1956–1963), Robert Foxworth (m. 1993–1995), William Asher (m. 1963–1973)
children: Bill Asher, Rebecca Asher, Robert Asher
Died on: May 18, 1995
U.S. State: California
Who was Elizabeth Montgomery?
Elizabeth Montgomery was a famous American film, stage and television actress, best remembered for her role in the TV show ‘Bewitched’. Check out this biography to know about her childhood, family life, achievements and other facts related to her life.
Elizabeth Montgomery was a famous American film, stage and television actress, best remembered for her role in the TV show ‘Bewitched’. Her role of Samantha Stephens in the show earned her much fame and success. Being the daughter of a well-known TV and film actor, Robert Montgomery, her career started while she was still a teenager. Her first appearance was in her father’s dramatic TV series ‘Robert Montgomery Presents’. Later, she appeared in an anthology drama TV series named ‘Armstrong Circle Theatre’. Her first appearance in a film was in the year 1955 when she appeared in ‘The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell’ directed by Otto Preminger, based on the infamous court-martial of General Billy Mitchell. In 1964, she started appearing in ‘Bewitched’ an American television show created by Sol Saks. It was about a witch who weds an ordinary human and tries to live the life of a typical housewife. This became the most important role in her career, for which she received five Emmy and four Golden Globe nominations. She was also involved in political activism throughout her life, and used to advocate for gay rights, women rights, as well as support for AIDS victims.
Childhood & Early Life
Elizabeth Montgomery was born in Los Angeles, California, in the United States on 15 April 1933. Both her parents, Robert Montgomery and Elizabeth Daniel Bryan Montgomery, were successful film stars. Montgomery had a younger brother Robert Montgomery Jr., and an elder sister, Martha Bryan Montgomery, who died as an infant.
Her great grandfather, an Irishman, whose name was Archibald Montgomery, had immigrated to the US in 1849. She was of both Irish and Scottish descent.
During her early years, she attended the Westland School for Girls. Later, she graduated from Spence School in New York City, after which she went to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
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In 1951, Elizabeth Montgomery made her TV debut in her father’s show ‘Robert Montgomery Presents.’ Her first show on theatre was ‘Late Love’ in 1953, which for her brilliant performance won her a Theater World Award.
Her film debut was in 1955 with the film ‘The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell’ which was directed by Otto Preminger. The film, which starred actors such as Gary Cooper, Charles Bickford, and Ralph Bellamy, was based on a notorious court martial of General Billy Mitchell who outraged his superiors by disobeying orders.
She rose to popularity after her appearance in the popular TV show ‘Bewitched’. The show was a huge success and aired for eight years (1964-1972). Her character Samantha Stephens can also be regarded as one of the most popular characters played by Montgomery during her entire career. The role earned her several award nominations.
After her success in ‘Bewitched’, she continued to do roles in television and appeared in several TV movies, such as ‘A Case of Rape’ (1974), ‘A Killing Affair’, (1977), ‘Art of Violence’ (1979), ‘The Rules of Marriage’ (1982), and ’Black Widow Murders’ (1993). She was nominated for several awards for her performances.
She also made several guest appearances in shows such as ‘Frontier Circus’ (1961), ‘Checkmate’ (1962), and ‘77 Sunset Strip’ (1963). Her last work on TV was as a voice actress in an episode of ‘Batman: The Animated Series’. The episode aired after her death, becoming the final work of Montgomery to be screened.
Montgomery also used to strongly promote women’s rights, and gay rights, and supported AIDS activism. She had lent her voice to two controversial political documentaries ‘Coverup: Behind the Iran Contra Affair’ in 1988 and later ‘The Panama Deception’ in 1992.
The American television series ‘Bewitched’ can be regarded as the most significant work of Elizabeth Montgomery’s career. The series was broadcast for eight seasons on ABC network (1964-1972). The show, which was created by Sol Saks, with Harry Ackerman, as the executive director, starred Elizabeth in the leading role, and other actors such as Dick York, Agnes Moorehead, David White, and Dick Sargent in supporting ones.
The story focused on the marriage between a witch and an ordinary mortal human being, and how the witch adjusts with her new life. The show earned much popularity and appreciation, becoming the second most popular show in the US during its eighth season. It was ranked at 50th position on ‘TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time’ in 2002.
'The Legend of Lizzie Borden', a 1975 American mystery drama was a popular TV movie that she worked in. The show premiered on 10 February on ABC Network, starring Elizabeth in the lead role. The film was nominated for Best Motion Picture Made for Television in the 1976 Golden Globe Awards. For her performance, Montgomery also received a nomination for ‘Primetime Emmy Award’ for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Special Program - Drama or Comedy.
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‘Second Sight: A Love Story,’ a 1984 film which was based on the book ‘Emma and I’ by Sheila Hocken, starred Montgomery in the main role. Other actors in the film included Barry Newman, Nicholas Pryor, Mitzi Hoag, and Michael Horton.
'The Panama Deception' an American documentary film, where Montgomery lent her voice as a narrator was another one of her significant works. The film, which was directed by Barbara Trent and written by David Kasper won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. The film criticizes the actions of the US Military during the 1989 Panama invasion by US. It highlighted the bias of the American media as well, and shows how many events like civilian casualties were misreported.
Awards & Achievements
Elizabeth Montgomery received several Emmy Award nominations and Golden Globe Award nominations during her career.
She was posthumously awarded the ‘Crystal Lucy Award’ for the excellence and innovation in her works which helped improve the perception of women through the medium of television.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1954, Elizabeth Montgomery married New York socialite Frederick Cammann. The couple divorced in less than a year.
Later she married Gig Young, an Academy Award-winning actor, in 1956. However, once again, her marriage ended in a divorce in 1963.
She then married director William Asher in 1963. They had three children, William Asher Jr., Robert Asher, and Rebecca Asher.
She later fell in love with director Richard Michaels which ended her marriage with Asher in 1973. The relationship lasted for two and a half years.
In January 1993, she got married again, to actor Robert Foxworth. She remained with him till her death in 1995.
A progressive minded lady, she was an outspoken advocate for women’s rights and gay rights. She was also involved in charity work and volunteered with the AIDS Project Los Angeles and amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research).
She volunteered for the Los Angeles Unit of Learning Ally in the months before her life. The organization records educational books on specially formatted CDs for disabled people.
Elizabeth Montgomery struggled with colon cancer for many years. Initially it was believed to be cured but it returned in March 1995. By this time the cancer had spread to her liver already and there was no hope of recovery. She passed away on 18 May 1995, at the age of 62.