Agnes Robertson Moorehead (December 6, 1900 – April 30, 1974) was an American actress whose career of more than three decades included work in radio, stage, film, and television. She is chiefly known for her role as Endora on the television series Bewitched. She was also notable for her film roles in Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, All That Heaven Allows and Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte.
While rarely playing leads in films, Moorehead's skill at character development and range earned her one Primetime Emmy Award and two Golden Globe awards in addition to four Academy Award and six Emmy Award nominations. Moorehead's transition to television won acclaim for drama and comedy. She could play many different types, but often portrayed haughty, arrogant characters.
Moorehead as Endora in Bewitched, circa 1969
|Born||Agnes Robertson Moorehead|
|Died||April 30, 1974(1974-04-30) (aged 73)|
|Cause of death||Uterine cancer|
|Resting place||Dayton Memorial Park in Dayton, Ohio|
|Education||Central High School|
|Alma mater||Muskingum College|
|Spouse(s)||Jack G. Lee (m. 1930; div. 1952)
Robert Gist (m. 1954; div. 1958)
in The Blue Veil (1951)
Moorehead and Bewitched castmates Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick YorkIn 1964, Moorehead accepted the role of Endora, Samantha's (Elizabeth Montgomery) mortal-loathing, quick-witted witch mother, in the situation comedy Bewitched. She later commented that she had not expected it to succeed and that she ultimately felt trapped by its success. However, she had negotiated to appear in only eight of every twelve episodes made, therefore allowing her sufficient time to pursue other projects. She also felt that the television writing was often below standard and dismissed many of the Bewitched scripts as "hack" in a 1965 interview for TV Guide. The role brought her a level of recognition that she had not received before as Bewitched was in the top 10 programs for the first few years it screened.
Moorehead received six Emmy Award nominations, but was quick to remind interviewers that she had enjoyed a long and distinguished career. Despite her ambivalence, she remained with Bewitched until its run ended in 1972. She commented to the New York Times in 1974, "I've been in movies and played theater from coast to coast, so I was quite well known before Bewitched, and I don't particularly want to be identified as a witch." Later that year she said that she had enjoyed playing the role, but that it was not challenging and the show itself was "not breathtaking" although her flamboyant and colorful character appealed to children. She expressed a fondness for the show's star, Elizabeth Montgomery, and said that she had enjoyed working with her. Co-star Dick Sargent, who in 1969 replaced the ill Dick York as Samantha's husband, Darrin Stephens, had a more difficult relationship with Moorehead, caustically describing her as "a tough old bird."
In 1970, Moorehead appeared as a dying woman who haunts her own house in the early Night Gallery episode "Certain Shadows on the Wall". She also reprised her role in Don Juan in Hell on Broadway and on tour, in an all-star cast which also featured Edward Mulhare, Ricardo Montalban, and Paul Henreid.
For the 1973 Broadway adaptation of Gigi, Moorehead portrayed Aunt Alicia and performed various songs including "The Contract" for the original cast recording. She fell ill during the production, forcing Arlene Francis to replace her, and died shortly afterward.
In January 1974, three months before her death, Moorehead performed in two episodes (including the very first) of CBS Radio Mystery Theater, the popular series produced by old-time radio master Himan Brown.
|The Strange Monster of Strawberry Cove||Mrs. Pringle||Television movie|
|1972||Drop Dead Delilah|
Night of Terror
Frankenstein: The True Story
Rod Sterling's Night Gallery