When it comes to Classic TV sitcom Bewitched, take away the witchcraft and what you’re left with is a true love story between a couple that, despite their differences, refuses to let others — whether family or the outside world — come between them. It was, of course, Elizabeth Montgomery as witch Samantha Stephens and Dick York as her mortal husband, Darrin, that were at the heart of the show. And their on-screen love story was something that Elizabeth pursued for much of her life, going through three divorces before finding it.
It seems that the challenges she faced in her relationships with men stemmed — as it so often does — from childhood experiences, particularly with her father, actor and producer Robert Montgomery. Born April 15, 1933, she would eventually decide to follow in her parents’ footsteps (her mother was Broadway actress Elizabeth Daniel Bryan) and pursue the acting life. But the relationship between her and her father was never easy.
“Elizabeth had a very complicated relationship with her father, which colored her relationships with men most of her life,” offers pop culture historian and author Geoffrey Mark, who was friends with her third husband, William Asher. “Part of it was being the child of a big celebrity, part of it was getting her first acting experience with daddy on his show Robert Montgomery Presents, and part of it was seeing that daddy was not a very good husband to mommy. Elizabeth resented her father. She as a married woman, irrespective of which marriage we’re talking about, did not like having her father visit, did not like exposing her children to her father. She was looking for a man who wouldn’t be the cold, withdrawn person that Robert had been with her. Bill Asher said, ‘I don’t myself quite understand why Liz was so against her father, but it really bothered her, having him around.’”
Robert Foxworth, her fourth husband, tells Closer, “They didn’t get along very well. [In The Legend of Lizzie Borden], when he saw the glee in her eye as she took an ax to her father, he caught something there and said, ‘Well, you finally got me.’”
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