Elizabeth Victoria Montgomery Fulfills Her Aspirations
Peter Graves narrates this account of the life and career of Elizabeth Montgomery, who is born to successful film actor Robert Montgomery and his wife, Broadway actress Elizabeth Bryan Allen, who abandons her stage career after Elizabeth and her younger brother, Robert Jr. arrive.
At the height of the Great Depression, opulent life in Hollywood does not mirror that of the striving nation which it entertains with lavish film production and high fashions. But Elizabeth's father continues his acting career as Elizabeth begins her education.
American involvement in World War II soon follows, and Robert Sr. enlists in the U.S. Navy for active service for the duration. Upon his return, while the family welcomes him back with open arms, the film community does not, as it turns its attention to a new crop of unseasoned performers.
The Montgomery family, therefore, relocates to New York City, for Robert Sr. to perform on stage, while Elizabeth decides that she, too, may seriously consider acting as a profession.
By now, her father hosts the NYC-based television program "Robert Montgomery Presents," and Elizabeth is granted an audition to appear, which she passes and receives rave reviews for her performances over the next several years as a regular member of the production's stock company (1951-1956).
She marries young, to a stage hand upon the program, and decides to expand her acting talents by accepting film roles in Hollywood, causing her marriage to dissolve, as Frederick expresses no desire to leave NYC for Hollywood.
Attempting to escape the shadow of the father whom she loves, Elizabeth remains in Los Angeles, where she marries actor Gig Young, against her father's wishes. The marriage is rocky, but Elizabeth manages to hone her talents in Drama and Comedy acting.
By 1963, she teams with new husband William Asher, to develop a television Sitcom to reflect a changing America, which seems to tire of those "perfect family" programs of the 1950's and early 60's, to create the series "Bewitched," in which Elizabeth captivates audiences in the dual role of the lovely Samantha and her sneaky but glamorous cousin, Serena.
Elizabeth and William welcome their children during this period, and she places a great deal of emphasis upon creating a normal family life for her children especially after hers with her father has become estranged, along with the pain of his divorcing her mother for an actress. But her own third marriage dissolves after the "Bewitched" series is cancelled, and the partners go their separate career ways, while remaining close to the family.
On the set of "Mrs. Sundance" (1974), Elizabeth and co-star Robert Foxworth become very close although she approaches his series of forthcoming marriage proposals with reticence because of disappointing domestic failures in the past. Before she says, "I do" once again, she continues to delight audiences with heartfelt portrayals of determined characters with heart and affection.
To add to the friction between Robert Sr. and Elizabeth, he supports Republican political causes, while she supports Democrat virtues, as an outspoken champion of Women's rights and Gay rights throughout her life, and opposing the War in Vietnam. Eventually, instead of Elizabeth's being recognized as Robert's daughter, Robert becomes recognized as Elizabeth's father.
In 1992, when former co-star Dick Sargent invites Elizabeth to co-Marshal the Los Angeles Gay Pride Parade, she gladly accepts the challenge. When asked by a reporter why she is there, she points to Mr. Sargent and answers, "My friend."
With elder son, Bill, Elizabeth also ventures into the food production industry, marketing two of her secret sauces, which are also very well-received by the public, along with her many philanthropic ventures to benefit a variety of charities.
Elizabeth's marriages are with Frederick Gallatin Cammann (1954–1955), Gig Young (1956–1963), William Asher (1963–1973), and Robert Foxworth (1993–1995). With William, she welcomes children William Jr., Robert and Rebecca Asher.
Interview Guests for this episode consist of Director William Asher, Daughter, Rebecca Asher; Elder Son, Bill Asher; Husband, Robert Foxworth; Actresses Sandra Gould, Liz Sheridan and Erin Murphy, Manager Barry Krost, and Authors Dominick Dunne and Herbie J. Pilato.
Archive footage includes Elizabeth Montgomery with Co-stars Robert Montgomery, Jayne Meadows, Robert Stack, Dick York, Dick Sargent and Dean Stockwell in speaking parts, and Rod Steiger, Dean Martin, Agnes Moorehead, Helen Craig, Fritz Weaver and others in non-speaking parts.
Television and Film Clips include a screen glimpse of Elizabeth through the years, in scenes from "Robert Montgomery Presents: Our Hearts Were Young and Gay" (February 1954), "The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell" (1955), "Studio One: The Drop of a Hat" (May 1956), "The Untouchables: The Rusty Heller Story" (October 1960), "Johnny Cool" (1963), "Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed?" (1963), "Bewitched" (1964-72), "A Case of Rape" (1974) (TV), "Mrs. Sundance" (1974) (TV), "The Legend of Lizzie Borden" (1975) (TV), Los Angeles Gay Pride Parade (1992), and "Deadline for Murder: From the Files of Edna Buchanan" (1995) (TV).
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