Twitch Upon a Star: The Bewitched Life and Career of Elizabeth Montgomery

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Overview

This biography of the iconic star Elizabeth Montgomery arrives as Sony and CBS revive a new Bewitched TV series for autumn 2012. Based on Pilato’s exclusive interviews with Montgomery prior to her death in 1995, this book will include never-before published material and commentary from several individuals associated with her remarkable life and career before, during, and after Bewitched, including her classic feature films The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell (1955), Who's Been ...
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Twitch Upon a Star: The Bewitched Life and Career of Elizabeth Montgomery

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Overview

This biography of the iconic star Elizabeth Montgomery arrives as Sony and CBS revive a new Bewitched TV series for autumn 2012. Based on Pilato’s exclusive interviews with Montgomery prior to her death in 1995, this book will include never-before published material and commentary from several individuals associated with her remarkable life and career before, during, and after Bewitched, including her classic feature films The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell (1955), Who's Been Sleeping In My Bed? (1963), and Johnny Cool (1963).

Two of Montgomery’s many popular TV movies, A Case of Rape (which remains one of the highest-rated TV-movies of all time) and The Legend of Lizzie Borden (which will soon be remade as a feature film), were groundbreaking and remain classics. But Twitch Upon a Star also goes behind the scenes to explore Montgomery’s political activism, including her early advocacy for AIDS research and the peace movement, support for the gay community, and controversial participation as narrator of the Oscar-winning Cover Up feature films about the Iran/Contra scandal of the l980s. In addition, Montgomery had complicated relationships with her father, screen legend Robert Montgomery (she was a liberal; he was a staunch conservative), and four husbands (including actor Gig Young, who later died in a double murder/suicide). Still, to friends such as fellow performers Sally Kemp and Florence Henderson, Ronny Cox, and the Oscar-winning actor Cliff Robertson she was just Lizzie, as amiable off the screen as the bewitching Samantha the witch-with-a-twitch Stephens who appeared in our living rooms for eight years in one of television’s most popular sitcoms.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

"I'm not a bad witch; I'm a good witch." Apparently, fans agreed. For eight years (1964-1972), Elizabeth Montgomery (1933-1995) charmed audiences on Bewitched, her successful impersonation of the nose-twitching Samantha Stephens mesmerizing viewers so forcefully that many forgot she had any other identity. Herbie Pilato's Twitch Upon a Star forever dispels the notion that Montgomery was a one-role actress or a one-dimensional person. Indeed, what strikes us deepest about this comprehensive illustrated biography is that the daughter of actor Robert Montgomery led a rich life, pursuing a busy acting career while participating in political activism and charity work. This work, which benefits from exclusive interviews with its subject, arrives just as CBS is rebooting Bewitched as a new show.

Classic Film and TV Cafe
. . . Twitch Upon a Star is an engrossing look at a strong-willed actress whose career spanned five decades. It will satisfy Elizabeth Montgomery's fans, as well as Bewitched buffs interested in learning more about that series' leading lady—and even how the famous twitch was ‘invented.’
FrontiersLA
Elizabeth Montgomery's life is beautifully portrayed by author Herbie Pilato in [this] loving new biography.
Journeys in Classic Film
[A] comprehensive and touching biography of Montgomery's life. . . . Fans of classic television or of well-written biographies should seek this out . . . an insightful read about an amazing woman!
Village Voice
. . . [T]ells you all about Bewitched, the magical 1960s-and-'70s sitcom, and other triumphs enjoyed by the talented and beautiful Montgomery.
The National Enquirer
[A] blockbuster new book.
Midwest Book Review
Twitch Upon a Star: The Bewitched Life and Career of Elizabeth Montgomery is based on the author's exclusive interviews with Montgomery before her death in 1995, and includes new, never-before-published material and commentary from many associated with her life and career before, during and after Bewitched. Any with an interest in the show or Montgomery will find this a definitive exploration that ranges from insights on her career to revelations about her personal life and relationships. The result is a lively read indeed, recommended for film and biography holdings in general and especially for any reader with prior affection for Bewitched.
Ventura County Star
. . . [A] love letter . . . No matter how big your twitch itch, this book will scratch it.
BookSteve's Library Blog
. . . [I]t's like meeting [Elizabeth Montgomery] all over again for the very first time. . . . If you've ever enjoyed an episode of Bewitched, come meet her for yourself.
SheKnows Book Lounge
This biography covers it all. . . . Fans will love the three sections of photos and Pilato's respectful, yet truthful, portrait of the woman who will forever be remembered for as the beautiful witch Samantha Stephens.
Long Beach Press-Telegram
Twitch Upon a Star is based on Pilato's exclusive interviews prior to Montgomery's 1995 death. . . . The book follows her career before, during, and after Bewitched, and goes behind the scenes chronicling her political activism [and] reveals behind-the-scenes anecdotes about the show and Montgomery's life.
Daytona News-Journal
Pilato expertly captures the life of [this] wonderful actress.
Danny Gold
Heavily researched, expertly executed, and handled with reverence, Twitch Upon A Star is a magical revelation about one of the most popular and endearing performers of all time. It's clear that Herbie J Pilato not only knows what he's talking about, but that he also cares very deeply about his subject, from a personal, yet objective perspective. . . . No two ways about it, this book is a class act about a classic actress.
Lydia Cornell
I encourage everyone to read Pilato's astounding, loving, riveting, eye-opening book.
Larry Brody
The way Herbie J Pilato tells it, Elizabeth Montgomery just didn't have guts, she had balls. She was kind to those she felt deserved it but had no qualms about setting others straight. Who'd'a thunk that sweet little Samantha had such chutzpah?
Jack Myers
Not only has Bewitched’s Samantha Stephens influenced hundreds of female TV characters and the actresses who portrayed them, but Elizabeth Montgomery’s lasting influence on Hollywood and society has been far greater than the TV series that made her a legend. Herbie J Pilato, one of the great students of classic TV, spins a compelling narrative that brings to life a magical TV series and its even more magical star. It’s a true Hollywood story, and more than any book I’ve read Twitch Upon a Star goes behind-the-scenes to capture a fascinating period in history when television was coming of age.
Kathy Garver
Intricately revealing, well written, and hard to put down, Herbie J Pilato’s Twitch Upon a Star captures the essence and life of Elizabeth Montgomery. He leads readers on an intriguing journey into the loves, politics, and performances of this multi-talented actor—a very magical journey, yet based in the real emotion of love. I heartily recommend this well-rounded read for fans, friends and all who value the life of a gifted, complex and bewitching woman.
Thomas Warfield
Much more than just a celebrity biography, Twitch Upon a Star relays a spiritual quest that can speak to anyone. Retelling the story and work of a life can activate an awareness of the beauty and purpose in our own unfoldment. Pilato accomplishes this masterfully and magically, uncovering such depth and absorbing reflection with authenticity and vigorous charm to reveal Elizabeth Montgomery's journey as a true cultural treasure. This book is magnificent!
Rick Lertzman
Twitch Upon a Star is ASTOUNDING. Herbie J Pilato does a wonderful job of mixing hard info with his personal relationship with Elizabeth Montgomery. His approach makes the book very unique. This is one of the best biographies I've read in years. It is a real classic . . . a brilliant work!
Shannon Devereaux Sanford
Wonderful book and terrific author . . .
Classic Film and TV Café
Twitch Upon a Star is an engrossing look at a strong-willed actress whose career spanned five decades. It will satisfy Elizabeth Montgomery's fans, as well as Bewitched buffs interested in learning more about that series' leading lady—and even how the famous twitch was ‘invented.’
Salvador SeBasco
Twitch Upon a Star is as perfect a book could be. . . . [It] shines bright at a rating of 5 Stars (out of five). I read it twice. Afterwards I watched re-runs of Bewitched—knowing what I learned from Twitch Upon a Star—and what stirred me most were the questions that came to mind which I feel Twitch Upon a Star answered. Twitch Upon a Star is as no other book. . . . For me, a person who thinks he’s read the best of the best books, [this] put a twinkle in my eyes [from] Herbie J Pilato’s mastery of the craft of writing.
NewNowNext on Logo Online
[Pilato is] the master of all things Bewitched. . . . [Twitch Upon a Star is an] amazing new book.
American Profile
For anyone who only recalls Elizabeth Montgomery from her most memorable role, on the 1960s sitcom Bewitched, this thoroughly researched, extensively detailed, and wholly fascinating biography will load you up with everything you’ve been missing. It’s a delicious, detailed look at her life and remarkable career before, during and after that magical, life-changing show; her crusading and often controversial activism for the causes close to her heart; her often turbulent relationship with her father, actor Robert Montgomery; her rocky marital history; and the many other facets of the woman who played Samantha Stephens, TV’s ‘witch with the twitch’ at the end of her nose.
Living in the Kitchen with Puppies
Fans of Elizabeth Montgomery and Bewitched will love this book.
Soap World Magazine
Herbie J Pilato, a long-time fan and later friend of the actress uses his extensive interviews with the actress, plus meticulous research to get to the bottom of what the real Elizabeth Montgomery was like.
InMaricopa.com
Herbie J Pilato reveals the real Elizabeth Montgomery in Twitch Upon a Star. Her loves, her demons and even her politics are explored in this new biography of one of television’s favorite stars.
Reviews by Amos Lasser
The research that went into this book is amazing. . . . We get the essence and life of Elizabeth Montgomery by embarking on a journey ‘into the loves, politics, and performances of this multi-talented actor—a very magical journey, yet based in the real emotion of love.'
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781589797499
  • Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing
  • Publication date: 11/5/2012
  • Pages: 472
  • Sales rank: 272,211
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Herbie J Pilato is the author of a number of media/celebrity tie-in books, including The Bionic Book (BearManor Media, 2007), The Kung Fu Book of Wisdom (Tuttle, 1995), Bewitched Forever (Tapestry, 2004), and The Bewitched Book (Dell, 1992). Pilato has written about classic television for magazines like Starlog, Sci-Fi Entertainment, Retro Vision, Remember, Classic TV and Electronic House. He presently serves as the Founder and Executive Director of The Classic TV Preservation Society, a nonprofit organization that seeks to close the gap between popular culture and education.
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Table of Contents

Preface xi

Introduction 1

Part I Prewitched

1 Once Upon a Time 15

2 Grim 30

3 Elizabeth Montgomery Presents 40

4 Brush with Fame 57

5 The Equestrains 76

6 Training Days 86

7 The Europeans 93

8 Spirits and Demons 115

9 Two Plus Hundreds 131

Part II Bewitched

10 Lizmet 149

11 Remember the Mane 167

12 Double Double... 174

13 ...Toil and Trouble 194

14 Public Broadcasting 205

Part III Disenchanted

15 To Twitch or not to Twitch 219

16 Temperatures Rising 232

17 Post Serial 248

18 Awakenings 269

Part IV Reconciled

19 Spirits and Angels 287

20 Humanities 306

21 Political Science 320

22 Final Exams 340

23 Graduation 358

Afterword 383

Appendix 389

Sources 401

Bibliography 403

Acknowledgments 411

Suggested Reading 415

Index 417

About the Author 429

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

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2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 19, 2012

    A Must Read!

    I’m only in my twenties and just recently started watching “Bewitched.” I also got a few of Elizabeth Montgomery’s TV-movies on DVD. Man, she was HOT! But more than that, and as I read about her in TWITCH UPON A STAR, she seemed like a real cool lady. How awesome that Herbie J Pilato got to meet and talk with her! And he spells it out so clearly in the book, which is thought-provoking in a lot of ways, and definitely not your average celebrity biography. Mr. Pilato has such an accessible style in the way he writes. It’s like he’s talking with you in your living room. There’s no “foo-foo” arrogance in this book, which is very cool because that’s just the kind of picture that he paints about Ms. Montgomery….that she was just so down to earth. And that’s so good to learn about her…and this book is so good to read. Totally recommend it.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 25, 2013

    Herbie J. Pilato's loving biography of Elizabeth Montgomery emul

    Herbie J. Pilato's loving biography of Elizabeth Montgomery emulates his love for his subject, especially in his heartfelt 'Afterword.' The extremely popular ABC series 'Bewitched' proved to be both a blessing and curse to Lizzie's career. The hallmark fantasy sitcom which greatly elevated her celebrity in 1964 later marked a curse in 1972 as she wanted to distance herself from the show. Herbie parallels Lizzie's life in great detail from her birth in 1933 through her untimely passing in 1995-all the while interspersing the 'Bewitched' connection.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 16, 2012

    Most certainly a twitching good read. As a young man I was somew

    Most certainly a twitching good read. As a young man I was somewhat limited by my disability to partake of much outdoor play activity.So my playground became television and my playmates the actors on it, One of my favorites was BEWITCHED and its star Elizabeth Montgomery. Herbie J Pilato does an extremely good job presenting not oonly his thorough research but his passion for his subject;. As a lover of classic television I cravebackstage insights to the players and producers. Pilato provides that and more. How "Lizzie's" relationships with her critical father Robert Montgomery  make her the iconic she became in her own right. Her loving but troubled marriages that gave her personal independence.And Elizabeth's humanitarian work on behalf of AIDS,  Peace Movement, and Disability Rights makes her a true heroine to me. Lizzie and her show gave me great joy as a youngster. Her dedication to the cause of disability as an adult let me come full circle after reading TWITCH UPON A STAR. Yes a great read for everyone who loves going back a short ways and rediscover the magic of television and how a cute but purposeful nose twitch but you feel so much better and that all was right again. For me Elizabeth Montgomery did just that. On television, in production studios, or on the streets with her fans in need of her nose twitch or two..

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2014

    Anonymous

    BORING!!! And that's just the portion I' ve managed to read. It doesn't really even rate one star. I truly hope someone will write a biography that does justice to Elizabeth Montgomery. I don't understand why so much attention was paid to her father. I believe it would be difficult to find too many people under the age of seventy who even know who he was, let alone find anyone who has seen any of his movies. The author kept describing him as handsome-not in any of the pictures I've seen of him. Save your money and don't waste your time. I' m still waiting to read a good biography of this talented and delightful woman.

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  • Posted December 23, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I found this book to be all over the place timeline wise. Also

    I found this book to be all over the place timeline wise. Also this was not an 'in depth' book about Elizabeth. I was definitely looking for more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2013

    Don't waste your $$

    This is the most boring and redundant book I have ever read. The author repeats the same stories and scenarios over and over. I just made it through less than one quarter of the book and then gave up! What a waste of my time and money. I'd rather watch paint dry! Can't even honestly give it one star, but they probably won't print this review if I don't. So one it is!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 11, 2013

    I was definitely disappointed. This is basically a rehash of ol

    I was definitely disappointed. This is basically a rehash of old Hollywood publicity pablum and filmographies of anyone who ever worked with Ms. Montgomery. It seems like there is a synopsis of every movie and TV show that Ms. Montgomery ever acted in or William Asher ever directed. There is precious little original material and no analysis beyond the superficial. Particularly annoying is the author's incessant use of plot points in Bewitched and other shows to illustrate aspects of her personality, as if those plot points were somehow reflections of her life and not created by a scriptwriter.

    There is definitely no insight into the real Elizabeth Montgomery in this book. We get a good idea of how she saw herself but not much more.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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