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

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

by Herbie J Pilato


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Based on author Herbie J Pilato’s exclusive interviews with Elizabeth Montgomery prior to her death in 1995, Twitch Upon a Star includes insider 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 sufferers and the peace movement; her support for all minorities, including the gay community and the disabled; and her controversial participation as narrator of the1988 feature film documentary Cover-Up and its 1991 'scar-winning sequel, The Panama Deception (both of which chronicled the Iran/Contra scandal of the 1980s). The book also explores Montgomery's tumultuous relationships with her father, screen legend Robert Montgomery (she was a liberal; he was a staunch conservative), and her four husbands (including actor Gig Young, who later died in a murder/suicide). Through it all—and to family and friends such as fellow performers Ronny Cox, Sally Kemp, and Florence Henderson—she was just Lizzie: down-to-earth and unaffected, just like Samantha, the "witch-with-a-twitch" Stephens, her most famous role.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781589797499
Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing
Publication date: 11/05/2012
Pages: 472
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Herbie J Pilato is a writer, producer, actor, songwriter, and entertainment executive. The author of several media tie-in books (including Glamour, Gidgets, and the Girl Next Door, NBC & Me, The Bionic Book, and many more), Pilato has also produced for the A&E, Bravo, TLC, Syfy, and TV Guide channels, as well as Sony, Warner Bros., NBC Universal, and other television networks and film studios. He now has several TV shows, books, and films in development and resides in Burbank, California, where he established Television, Ink. (a production company geared toward family entertainment) and The Classic TV Preservation Society (a nonprofit organization that seeks to close the gap between popular culture and education).

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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Twitch Upon a Star: The Bewitched Life and Career of Elizabeth Montgomery 2.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
PhilCrosner More than 1 year ago
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.
Debbiesjm More than 1 year ago
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.
VPS1 More than 1 year ago
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..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
BrianRodahaver More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ProfessorMS More than 1 year ago
This is a waste of time and money. The book is poorly written, probably not edited at all by the looks of it and completely all over the place. It is chopped up. redundant, it reads like a cheap tabloid, too much unnecessary "information" about her father, lifted pieces from various magazines, no relevance or intelligent writing here at all. It sounds as if a fawning adolescent complied this mess. It is not what I wanted or expected. It is not what Elizabeth Montgomery deserved. This is trash and lots of it.
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PAL1956 More than 1 year ago
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.