Sitcom

'Bewitched' star Erin Murphy: 'Elizabeth Montgomery had a dirty sense of humor and so do I'

Fox411: Erin Murphy talks on-set antics with 'Bewitched' cast

 

Erin Murphy is best known for playing Tabitha on the 1960s hit series “Bewitched.” These days the former child star has been keeping busy despite being choosy with her projects. The 52-year-old is a hands-on mom to six children and thoroughly enjoys meeting fans of the beloved sitcom, which starred the late Elizabeth Montgomery. She’s also appearing in a new web series, titled “Life Interrupted,” which also features Alison Arngrim, Dawn Wells and Michael Learned. Murphy spoke with Fox News about the lasting success of “Bewitched":

Fox News: How did you initially get the role of Tabitha?
Erin Murphy: ‘Bewitched’ was doing this huge casting call. They had previously shown it in black and white, so the big push of the third season was that the show was going to color and that they were going to focus more on the character of Tabitha. So they were looking for someone who looked like Elizabeth Montgomery and wasn’t afraid of the lights. I auditioned with my fraternal twin sister Diane and we got the part.

Fox News: What was your connection with Elizabeth Montgomery like?
Murphy: She really was like a mom to me. I definitely think of her more like a family member than a co-worker. And I think it’s because when I was on set, it was just me. My parents weren’t standing there next to me [while I was working]. So I looked up to her as family, as a parent almost. We were friends outside of the set and she had three children around my age, so we grew up together. So it was a close relationship for sure.

ERIN MURPHY, WHO PLAYED TABITHA ON 'BEWITCHED,' RECALLS HER TIME ON SET

Fox News: What’s one thing about your relationship with Elizabeth Montgomery that would surprise fans?
Murphy: She and I are very, very much alike. She had a really dirty sense of humor and so do I! She was just one of those people who was so beautiful, but she wasn’t afraid to look silly --kind of like Lucille Ball… They could be really campy and funny. There was no fear there.

Fox News: What about your relationship with Agnes Moorehead?
Murphy: She was probably my favorite. I had a really, really wonderful and close relationship with her. I didn’t have grandparents who lived in California. My grandparents were far away. But she was like my grandma and I saw her every day. She didn’t have grandchildren, so she called me her granddaughter. I called her grandmama when we weren’t filming. She was amazing.

Fox News: Darrin Stephens was played by two different actors. What was your relationship like with both of the men?
Murphy: It was great. I was very lucky because I stayed in touch with people after the show was over, so I had the pleasure of hanging out with Dick Sargent as an adult and having phone conversations with Dick York. As a kid, I was very close with both of them. I grew to admire them as adults because they were such great men.

Fox News: Were you there when Dick York had his accident on set?
Murphy: I was. He had a seizure on set. I don’t want to say the seizure was inevitable, but the last season that he was on the show, he was in so much pain. They had to film several episodes where he wasn’t in the scene because he was in so much pain. Even as a child, I could tell he was in pain and he would definitely say things about it. And later, he did tell me that one of the things that helped him stay on the show as long as he did was sitting and leaning. He couldn’t really stand very much. And he said that I would sit on his lap and he would tell me stories, which helped him cope. He really was like a dad and it took his mind off the pain.

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Fox News: How did you transition from being on a really popular TV show to having a normal life again?
Murphy: I think it’s because I’ve always had this strong sense of self… I always had a large group of friends in school who happened to be in the entertainment business. So once the show was over, I was excited to go to camp, hang out with other kids my age in the neighborhood… it was easy for me. And since my family moved from Los Angeles to Orange County, I was turning down jobs. And I still do! I probably shouldn’t, but I still do. I’m offered things, but I don’t jump and say ‘yes’ to everything. And I’m not begging people for work… I have kids at home and I plan on traveling more. I would like to do another series at some point, but I do want to spend time with family and friends, just laugh and enjoy life more. I want to do a little bit of everything.

Fox News: Does it ever get tiring to be recognized for someone that you played as a child?
Murphy: No… I think any moment that someone comes up to you just to say they liked you on a TV show, that’s flattering! I think it’s very kind and I’m very open to posing for pictures, meeting fans and answering questions about ‘Bewitched.’ I’m thankful that people appreciate what I did. I think it’s awesome.

Fox News: How did you became involved with ‘Life Interrupted’?
Murphy: I was at a party with a group of former child actors. Every few months we get together for a potluck or a barbecue. So we were at a party and Alison Arngrim [of 'Little House on the Prairie'] called me over to the dessert table. She tells me, ‘Just say yes, just say yes, you’re going to say yes.’ I asked her to tell me more, of course. Because you know, we’re all child actors, we all want to continue working in some way, so we’re always pitching ideas to each other. I say no to almost everything. I have a bit of a reputation for being picky about the things I will and won’t do. But it turned out that this project had a group of my good friends. And the thing that made me say yes was when Alison said, ‘You’ll be playing my wife!’ I said, ‘I’ll do it!’ It just sounded like a lot of fun.