Elizabeth Victoria Montgomery (April 15, 1933 May 18, 1995) was an American film and television actress whose career spanned five decades. She is best remembered for her famous roles as Samantha Stephens in Bewitched, as Ellen Harrod in A Case of Rape and as Lizzie Borden in The Legend of Lizzie Borden.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Elizabeth Montgomery was the child of actor Robert Montgomery and his wife, Broadway actress Elizabeth Bryan Allen. She had an older sister, Martha Bryan Montgomery, who died before she was born, and a brother, Robert Montgomery, Jr., who was born in 1936. She attended The Spence School.
Her early career consisted of starring vehicles and appearances in live television dramas and series, such as Studio One, Kraft Television Theater, The Twilight Zone, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. In 1954 she lost out on co-starring with Marlon Brando in the seminal film On the Waterfront directed by Elia Kazan. Kazan in his autobiography says that although Montgomery tested well in the role, she had an air of "finishing school" that troubled him.
She was also featured in a role as a socialite with Henry Silva and Sammy Davis, Jr in the offbeat 1963 gangster film Johnny Cool and, the same year, with Dean Martin and Carol Burnett in the motion picture comedy Who's Been Sleeping In My Bed?, directed by Daniel Mann. Nevertheless, Alfred Hitchcock had her in mind to play the sister-in-law of Sean Connery, who sees herself as a rival to the troubled heroine in the movie Marnie, but Montgomery was unavailable owing to her commitment to a new television show: Bewitched.
Montgomery received five Emmy Award and four Golden Globe nominations for her role. At its creative peak, Bewitched was considered one of the most sophisticated sitcoms on the air and cleverly explored contemporary themes and social issues within a fantasy context.
The series and Montgomery's portrayal of Samantha were paid homage in the 2005 movie, Bewitched, starring Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman.
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