DICK YORK (Darrin from 1964-1969)
Like Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York had possessed a strong social awareness and concern for others. In his last years, he was an advocate for the homeless and the less fortunate.
Born September 4, 1928, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, York believed the seeds of his acting career were sown in his Depression-era childhood in Chicago, where his family later moved, and where he began his career in radio in the late 1930s.
He appeared in many network and local shows, including Junior Junction (a children's program), Jack Armstrong: The All American Boy (in 1948), and That Brewster Boy. A student at St. Paul University, York moved to New York in 1950 and began acting on television in many live productions. When TV began the move to California, so did York. He started a commuting routine between New York and the West Coast that ended when he finally transferred his family to Hollywood in 1961.
York met his wife Joan (he was fifteen; she was twelve) when they were acting in a Chicago radio show. He practically ignored her at first, but years later they discovered each other again, courted, and, in 1952, married. Five children followed.
Years before his formal transition to California, York was asked to read for Broadway director Elia Kazan, who cast him in Tea and Sympathy in 1953. This brought York a nomination for the Best Supporting Actor Award from the New York Drama Critics. He was also nominated for an Emmv in 1968 for Bewitched as Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series.
York appeared in numerous other television shows, including guest spots on Playhouse 90, The Twilight Zone (two episodes), Alfred Hitchcock Presents (as a hired killer), Route 66, Thriller, Rawhide, Wagon Train, Goodyear Playhouse (Visit to a Small Ylanel, 1955), The U.S. Steel Hour, Father Knows Best, and Kraft Theater.
After Bewitched, he appeared on Simon and Simon, Fantasy Island, and Our Time, a mid-1980s NBC summer show hosted by Karen Valentine (of Room 222 fame), which would be his final on-air acting appearance on August 10, 1985.
Dick Sargent and Lisa Hartman (of the Tabitha series) were slated to do a Bewitched takeoff in Time but things didn't work The sketch included Hartman walking into Sam and Darrins' kitchen as Tabitha, seeing York's Darrin, turning away, and having Sargent's Darrin appear in York's place. Tabitha was then to display how confused she was, because her father seemed to be a different person. York's film credits include My Sister Eileen (1955), Cowboy (1958), They Came to Cordura (1959, when he developed his back ailment), and Inherit the Wind (1960).
He lived in Rockford, Michigan, and suffered from a deteriorating spine and emphysema. Despite his physical condition, the actor cared for the homeless. He was a master of his craft, and his heart was filled with compassion for the less fortunate.
Not one for sympathy, York said: "I'm going to keep on doing what I'm doing, no matter what happens. Whether or not Bewitched had given me the opportunity to become a known personality or not, I still would have pursued the path I'm on now.
"There are so many young people who cut their teeth on Bewitched, that I'm more amazed every day at the show's response. I guess you never know the impact you're going to have."
Dick York passed into spirit on February 20, 1992, at the age of sixty-three.
* Biography from "Bewitched Forever" by Herbie J. Pilato