Erin Murphy – Which Witch is Which?
by Ronald Sklar
On the eve of the series’ 50th anniversary, the beloved Bewitched baby conjures up many magical memories.
Here are some not-too-shabby resume bullet points for this former child actor:
- Worked closely and regularly with such theater and screen legends as Elizabeth Montgomery, Agnes Moorehead, Maurice Evans, and Alice Ghostley.
- Her character’s 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.
- Her childhood 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 shows’ most memorable – and anxiety inducing — 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).
Here Erin talks with PopEntertainment.com about how that series – both for her and for us – 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 young when Bewitched ended its run, but do you have strong memories of being on the show?
I really remember a lot of it. I think it’s 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 it’s pretty cool. At first, they don’t get it: that’s 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.
Was Elizabeth 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 character’s father, Darrin Stephens [Dick York being replaced by Dick Sargent]?
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.