‘Bewitched’: The Reason Agnes Moorehead Made Dick Sargent Cry

Bewitched, the classic, wholesome sitcom about a witch married to a mere mortal, delighted fans for eight seasons. While the show’s outward appearance was clean, there was plenty of drama behind the scenes. Aside from a love affair on-set, tensions grew when Dick Sargent took the place of Dick York as Darrin Stephens.

Bewitched is divided into two categories

Bewitched fans generally divide the series into two time periods, the beginning with the “old Darrin” and the later seasons with the “new Darrin.” The “new Darrin,” portrayed by Sargent, joined the cast in 1969 and remained in the role until the show ended in 1972. Sargent appeared in 84 episodes of the show. The “old Darrin,” played by York, appeared in 170 episodes of the series.

a characature of Samantha Stephens in 'Bewitched'
a caricature of Samantha Stephens in ‘Bewitched’ | Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Some fans preferred the presence of the “old Darrin,” whose comedic timing was impeccable. Others argue that the “new Darrin” grew into the role. Sargent, himself, asserted that he and Elizabeth Montgomery, who played Samantha Stephens, had a better dynamic than Montgomery and York. According to Medium, Sargent once said, “I think there was a stronger sense of warmth between Samantha and Darrin when I did the show. Liz and I were more kissy-kissy.” While Sargent and Montgomery were happy with their pairing, not every cast member was thrilled with the replacement. 

Agnes Moorehead made Dick Sargent cry on multiple occasions

The team behind Bewitched took York’s departure hard. According to Herbie Pilato, the author of Twitch Upon a Star, the production team worked hard to keep York on the set. During his final season on the show, they attempted to accommodate his back injury by keeping him seated or leaned against a wall. His departure was a sad one for everyone, but no one took it quite as hard as Agnes Moorehead. Moorehead portrayed Endora.

Dick Sargent, Elizabeth Montgomery and Agnes Moorehead in 'Bewitched'
Dick Sargent, Elizabeth Montgomery and Agnes Moorehead in ‘Bewitched’ | Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Moorehead took her sadness out on the new Darrin. It is said that she was so cold to Sargent that he cried on several occasions. Moorehead didn’t actually have anything against Sargent. She would have treated anyone who replaced York the same. In the years after he departed, Moorehead defended him and his comedic genius on multiple occasions. She never warmed to Sargent. 

Why did Dick York leave Bewitched?

Long before York starred in Bewitched, he was badly injured on the set of a movie. In a strange mishap, York injured his back so badly that he would be in pain for the rest of his life. He attempted to manage the injury with a cocktail of painkillers and sleeping aids but insisted he never took pills while on the set.

Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York and Anges Moorhead in promo photos for 'Bewitched'
Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York and Agnes Moorhead in ‘Bewitched’ | Bettmann/Getty Images

His lack of medication on the set eventually led to serious medical complications. On his final day on the set, York was taken away to the emergency room after suffering a seizure. While recovering, Bill Asher, the show’s creator, visited him and asked him if he was ready to quit. York agreed, and just like that, he was no longer on the show. Instead of explaining Darrin’s disappearance, Asher and his team decided to swap a new actor into the role.