Here are some
not-too-shabby resume bullet points for this former child actor:
closely and regularly with such theater and screen legends as
Elizabeth Montgomery, Agnes Moorehead, Maurice Evans, and Alice
characterís birth was among the most anticipated events in the
history of television.
She was a
vital component to the storyline of a television series that
filmed for eight years, but has been imprinted on the psyche of
generations for decades.
image is among the most recognized in the word.
By the time Erin
Murphy retired her broom, she had just about seen it all, and worked
with everybody. As baby Tabitha on Bewitched, she has lived
(and will live) forever, twitching her nose into eternity.
She was the
subject of some of the showsí most memorable Ė and anxiety inducing
ó episodes (the common denominator: a little girl who did not know
her own strength).
The series, which
originally ran on ABC from 1964-1972, is about to celebrate the 50th
anniversary of its network premiere. Sadly, most of the cast is
gone, but the show lives on (and on).
Erin talks with PopEntertainment.com about how that series Ė both
for her and for us Ė was pure magic.
So many child
stars meet with tragic fates, but you seem very well adjusted and
happy. Am I correct in assuming this?
I think I figured
out very early in life that you have to choose how you react to
things. I teach my kids that you can choose to be happy. When
troubles come on for everyone, you can either laugh or you can cry,
so I always choose to see the positive side in situations.
You were very
Bewitched ended its run, but do you have strong memories of being
on the show?
I really remember
a lot of it. I think itís because people remember things that are
memorable in their life, so being on a TV show is memorable.
How do your kids
react to your being Tabitha?
I think they all
think itís pretty cool. At first, they donít get it: thatís mom as a
little girl. Now, they enjoy it, and their teachers talk about it.
Everybody is so positive about it.
How did this show
become such an American icon?
If something is
well done, it holds up over time. We had the perfect combination of
a great cast and crew, great writers, great directors. It was
really, really well made.
Montgomery like a real mom to you?
She was a great
person. She really was like another mother to me, because we spent
so much time together. Her kids are my closest friends, since we
grew up together. I have so many more photos of their mom than they
do, only because [Elizabeth Montgomery and I] were always doing
photo shoots. I always saw her as another mother.
Were you confused
by the change of cast for your characterís father, Darrin Stephens
[Dick York being replaced by Dick Sargeant]?
I worked with
each of them for three years. Dick York was really in pain in the
last season. He hurt his back early in his career. He would have to
sit a lot, or lean against a board between scenes. One day, he had a
seizure on the set, so that is something, obviously, that is
memorable. We did stay in touch after Bewitched. He told me
that one of the things that really did help him get through the last
couple of years was having me there. He had a lot of kids, a big
family. He would tell me stories. By being a surrogate father to me,
it took his mind off of his pain. It helped him stay on the show for
at least another year.
Moorehead [who played your witch grandmother] an intimidating
presence to you?
was like my grandma. My real grandparents lived far away. She was
the grandmother I saw every day and I called her grandmamma. I would
run to her and hug her. She was like a real grandparent to me. I
didnít know she was a famous actor. She was fabulous in real life.
She was amazing. She was probably my favorite, just because she was
so colorful and so much fun. She would draw me little cartoons of
mice and witches in between scenes. I didnít think she was anything
like Endora. Other people would say, "oh, sheís so intimidating,"
but she certainly wasnít to me. She was just loving and wonderful.
What was it like
to be on set, with all of those witchcraft special effects?
I knew very early
on that it wasnít playtime when we were on set, that we were
working. We had to freeze when someone had to appear or disappear. I
understood it and I did it. I loved watching them set up the special
effects. The prop guy, Uncle George [Ballerino], was one of my
favorite people because he would do all these amazing, fun things.
The only thing I didnít like is when they would have these balloons
come down. The balloons would float down and pop and then have
messages inside of them. Someone would stand to the side of the
camera with a pea shooter. That I didnít like.
Did the general
public have trouble distinguishing you as Erin Murphy, mortal?
A lot of places
we would go, people would come up to me and say, "Oh, youíre
Tabitha. Can you make this happen?" I think that since I heard that
my entire life, it didnít seem weird to me. People would come up and
ask for my autograph and talk about the show, for my entire life. It
doesnít seem odd to me. Itís easy to be gracious because the people
are always nice.
The show was
cancelled in 1972, and youÖ
Thatís not true.
We were never cancelled. We were supposed to go on but Liz
Montgomery decided that she didnít want to do another season. So we
went off the air gracefully. We werenít canceled. We all thought we
were coming back.
What was post-Bewitched
life like for you?
It wasnít hard,
because on days that I wasnít filming, I would go to regular school,
and I was always in Girl Scouts and other activities. It was good
and bad. I enjoyed being able to do more things, like camp and being
with my friends, but I definitely missed the day-to-day life on the
set. It was one of my favorite places to be.
Whatís it like to
be beloved by generations of fans, never to be forgotten, ever?
Itís kind of
awesome, right? People are great. I go to a lot of entertainment
events. I went to one last night, which was about being out of the
closet and how gays and lesbians in the entertainment business have
progressed. There were all these people from current shows who
portray gay and lesbian characters, and Bewitched was
referenced at least six times. Itís great to be a part of television
history, and Iím still young enough to appreciate it.
The show was
proto-feminist in that it showed a strong woman who struggled to
keep her powers in check to please her husband. Was this
producer/director, Bill Asher, who was married to Liz Mongtomery,
had a history of strong female characters. He directed I Love
Lucy and The Patty Duke Show. He was well known for his
Your twin sister,
Diane, doubled for you as baby Tabitha, but ultimately, you flew
twins. They were only casting twins for the part of Tabitha because
the hours were so crazy. We donít look enough alike to really be
interchangeable. They would shoot my sister from the back or from a
distance. They got to a point where they really couldnít even do
that because we looked so different. There was one episode in the
entire eight years of the show where I had the mumps. They brought
my sister in for that show, where she had to slide up the sliding
board backwards. The network got all these letters asking, "Why did
you replace Tabitha?" The business really isnít for everyone, even
for really young children. If we would bring Diane on set, she would
start to cry. But for me, they would turn on the lights and I was in
heaven. I was happy to be there.
Whatís your life
Itís very, very
full and busy. We have a ranch and I run the equestrian center
there. We also use it as a filming location. I still do a lot of
different things in the [entertainment] business. Iíve done a lot of
hosting and correspondent stuff over the last six or seven years.
about getting back into acting?
Next year is the
50th anniversary of Bewitched, and next year I will get back
into acting. I always said that when my kids were older, I would get
back into acting, because I love it. So itís the time to think about
doing guest spots. They can kill me off on Law & Order.
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