Television: The Girl with the Necromantic Nose

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Many a man is convinced that a witch lives under his roof. With the arrival of the present TV season, many another is probably wishing that he could exchange his incumbent hag for Elizabeth Montgomery. Pretty and blonde with a turned-up nose, she hardly suggests cauldrons full of rat guts and eels, but she plays a thoroughbred sorceress married to an advertising executive on ABC's Bewitched.

An otherwise normal, happy young housewife, she can clean up a filthy kitchen with half a second's witchcraft or even help a neighbor's awkward kid to become a star Little League pitcher, as she was doing last week. She casts her spells not with a wave of a wand but with a twitch of her nose in a unique and peculiar manner that seems to be half allergy and half tic douloureux. Nowhere has the twitch worked better, apparently, than on the early reports of the ratings systems, for Bewitched is the surprising runaway champion of all the new TV shows.

On the Team. Thus Elizabeth Montgomery, like the little pitcher whose fantastic curve balls and looping sliders she was conjuring last week, has in a sense finally made the team herself after years of overhearing the snickers of the other players. The daughter of Robert Montgomery, she has been an actress for 13 years, but never in anything that could be called a hit. In show business many people have been almost too eager to characterize her as a living dull, getting parts only because of her father. Bewitched has set her up on her own, albeit on a broom.

Before she became sensitive about it, she used to say, "My art belongs to daddy," and similar things that would make corn blush. Born in 1933, she was raised in Hollywood. When her father moved to Manhattan to become a television star, she went to the Spence School and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She made her professional debut in 1951 on Robert Montgomery Presents, playing opposite her father in a spy story. He did not think that he was uncovering a great talent and in fact tried to discourage her from becoming an actress, hoping that she would be sensible like her brother, who is now a customer's man in a Wall Street brokerage firm. When she would not be dissuaded, he gave her plenty of roles.

Out of the Book. Since then, taking with her everywhere the filial shadow, she has done over 200 TV shows, a Broadway play (Late Love with Arlene Francis in 1953) and three movies (she was Dean-o Martin's fiancee in Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed?).

She has been a divorcee herself a couple of times. Her first husband was Freddie Cammann, Harvard '51, descendant of Albert Gallatin, fourth Secretary of the Treasury. Since Elizabeth was only an actor's daughter, she knocked Freddie out of the Social Register when she married him in 1954, just as Robert Montgomery himself had depaginated Buffy Harkness when he married her in 1950.

Cammann was not out of the book long. Elizabeth divorced him in 1955, then was married for six years to Actor Gig Young. Her current husband is William Asher, who directs Bewitched. They live in Malibu with their infant son and a Siamese cat named Zip-Zip.

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