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Dick Sargent Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (2)  | Trade Mark (3)  | Trivia (14)  | Personal Quotes (9)

Overview (4)

Born in Carmel, California, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (prostate cancer)
Birth NameRichard Stanford Cox
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Sargent was a trim, handsome man with a longish chin. He played a variety of gawky businessmen roles in feature films before finding a niche in tv history as the second Darrin on "Bewitched". Shortly before his death, Sargent publicly proclaimed he was gay, and became what he called "a retroactive role model" in the battle for gay rights.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ray Hamel

Congenial, mild-mannered Dick Sargent was a reliably bemused foil on film and TV for nearly four decades. He was born Richard Cox on April 19, 1930 in Carmel, California. His mother, Ruth McNaughton, was a minor actress who went by the stage name of "Ruth Powell"; his father, Colonel Elmer Cox, served in WWI and later became a business manager to such Hollywood alumni as Douglas Fairbanks and Erich von Stroheim. Dick attended the San Rafael Military Academy in Menlo Park, California before majoring in drama at Stanford University.

He finally got his career rolling debuting in an uncredited role in the movie Prisoner of War (1954) starring Ronald Reagan. Using the stage moniker "Richard Sargent", he would build up a reliable resume over the years on TV both in drama and comedy including work on Gunsmoke (1955), Wagon Train (1957), I Dream of Jeannie (1965) and Adam-12 (1968). Regular co-starring roles in the series One Happy Family (1961) and Broadside (1964) kept him busy if not memorably busy. Now known as "Dick Sargent", the actor was a friendly, dependable and well-admired performer but his work was often deemed ordinary and achromatic. On occasion, he would find more redeeming support work in such hit movie comedies as Operation Petticoat (1959) and That Touch of Mink (1962) both with Cary Grant, but ultimately mixed in would be a lot of forgettable nonsense such as Fluffy (1965) with Tony Randall, Billie (1965) starring Patty Duke, the Don Knotts vehicle The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966), the Elvis Presley misfire Live a Little, Love a Little (1968), and the totally unfunny The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell (1968) with Bob Hope and Phyllis Diller at their career nadir.

Too many of Dick's films fell into the fair to abysmal category. As a result, he never advanced into the upper echelon of star players. A big chance for stardom dissipated after being paired promisingly with Tammy Grimes on her TV show in 1966. There was no magic and it lasted just four weeks. Magic did occur, literally, a few years later. In 1969, Dick, who actually had been the original choice to play "Darrin Stephens" on the hit show Bewitched (1964), was given a second chance to play the bemused mortal husband of Elizabeth Montgomery. A chronic back pain finally necessitated the replacing of ailing Dick York. Sargent came in without a hitch and the switching of Darrins was done without any explanation at all. Dick's three seasons on the popular show made him a household face, if not a household name.

Dick continued on TV throughout the 1970s and 1980s with guest parts on Taxi (1978), Alice (1976), Fantasy Island (1977) and Three's Company (1976), and without a lot of fanfare. One of his better roles came in the form of George C. Scott's dramatic film Hardcore (1979). In the perpetually gloomy urban tale, which takes place in the seamy world of prostitution and pornography, Dick stands out as one of the film's not-so-reputable characters. He also played a role in another witch-themed story line called Teen Witch (1989). In between, he did voice work for commercials and performed occasionally on stage. In 1989, "the second Darrin" was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He later revealed to the world he was homosexual after tabloid papers began to refer to his serious illness as AIDS-related. Sargent died in 1994, having lived out his last few years openly and contentedly.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Trade Mark (3)

Thick nasally, commanding voice.
The role of Darrin Stephens #2 on Bewitched (1964).
Towering height.

Trivia (14)

Dick appeared on the game show Tattletales (1974) with Fannie Flagg in the 1970s. Apparently they were dating at the time.
His father, Elmer Cox, was a World War I hero and a Hollywood business manager. His mother, Ruth McNaughton, was a film actress.
Sargent's companion from 1989-1994 was writer/producer Albert Williams.
His role on Bewitched (1964) was first offered to him in 1964, but he was under a contract with Universal Studios, so Dick York was hired instead. By the time an illness caused York to discontinue the role, Sargent was free enough to take over.
He was never married, but had a long-time companion whom he was with for 20 years before the man's death from a cerebral hemorrhage in 1979. He had "manufactured" a wife to the press in the early productive days, to protect his career.
His grandfather, John McNaughton, founded Los Angeles's Union Stockyards.
Lived in Mexico and ran and import/export business in his early years. His love for Mexican art and culture stayed with him for the rest of his life.
Coincidentally, Sargent and Tammy Grimes were said to have been original choices for the roles of Darrin and Samantha Stephens during the initial casting of the pilot episode of Bewitched (1964) in 1964. Sargent bowed out due to a contractual commitment to Universal. Grimes also had contractual problems. Later, Sargent went on to play Tammy's brother on her short-lived series The Tammy Grimes Show (1966) in 1966. Grimes' lead character's name happened to be Tamantha.
By chance became a "retroactive role model" for gays when he outed himself in 1991, after decades of keeping his personal life hidden. Suffering from prostate cancer, Sargent was compelled by a tabloid article indicating he had AIDS to "come out" and set the record straight, for which he received considerable public support. In 1992, his old friend and ex-TV wife, Elizabeth Montgomery, joined him as a co-Grand Marshall of the Los Angeles Gay Pride Parade. It was their last appearance together.
Remembered by many for his role as the second "Darrin Stevens" in Bewitched (1964).
Sargent and fellow Darrin-portrayer, Dick York, were once the subject of a "Jeopardy!" category called "Sargent/York", focusing on their non-Bewitched (1964) roles.
In addition to playing son and father on Bewitched (1964), Sargent and Robert F. Simon co-starred in Captain Newman, M.D. (1963) before "Bewitched" debuted.
Upon his death, he was cremated, and since he had no immediate family, his ashes were given to his friend.
When he was the second actor to play Darrin Stephens on Bewitched (1964), his successor, Dick York, who left the show before, didn't mind him playing the role.

Personal Quotes (9)

Occasionally, I wonder about Bewitched (1964). But I guess we all wonder about something or other. Most working actors don't get a role where they become household faces. They may not know my name, I may be Darrin to people out there, but if people see you and smile at you and act like you're an old friend, I think that's a pretty swell accomplishment.
You've hit it on the head. It's all double-standards. So if you're gay and dating a young man, they want it to be the dirty-old-man type of affair. Then they wrote it like it was unheard of or exotic--it was a young black guy. And the word they used, in the Star that I was "besotted" with this young man, it was so judgmental! It's another word for drunk'
[About his difficult relationship he had with his father] I wanted him to love me, and I'm quite sure that he didn't.
[Of Connie Francis] We looked passionately at each other, but that was the only time I ever saw her.
If X or Y is gay, and you say so and they're in the closet, then that can...it can possibly hurt them. That sort of reticence I understand, as an actor, or an ex-actor. But if the personality is deceased, and some co-star will still not say, then you can chalk that down to homophobia.
[When he finally came out of the closet] It was such a relief. I lived in fear of being found out. Now it's given me a whole new mission in life.
[on Agnes Moorehead] She was very set in her ways and I had to really make her my friend. About the third or fourth show I was in she said to people in front of me, "They should never meddle with success." Meaning Dick York should never have been replaced, which I thought was a very cruel and unthinking thing to say in front of me. But that was her. She came to rehearsals with a Bible in one hand and her script in the other. She was certainly the most professional woman in the world...and she was so good. Thank God we became friends eventually.
I'm not against outing in terms of being pegged as gay. I am gay, I always was. It can't really hurt me now, I mean professionally. But for them to reveal it as if they caught you, like some dirty little secret - that was despicable.
[About Hollywood Marriages]: Now, whether George Tobias was gay or not, I couldn't say. But he never married, and his friends were always guys; he showed no interest whatsoever in women...

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