Saturday, May 25, 2024

Agnes Moorehead

"I've been in movies and played theater from coast to coast , so I was quite well known before Bewitched and I don't particularly want to be identified as a witch."

Agnes Robertson Moorehead was born in Clinton, Massachusetts on December 6, 1900.  She was the daughter of a Presbyterian clergyman and knew from an early age that she wanted to be an actress.  In later years, she would often state that her first public appearance was reading the Lord's prayer in her father's church when she was just three years old.

She attended Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, where she earned a bachelor's degree in biology before moving to New York.  There, in 1922, she met Orson Welles, beginning a friendship and acting collaboration that would continue for half a century.  Ultimately, her first acting role was in his 1941 classic Citizen Kane, in which she played his mother.  Here's a clip.

Radio and the stage would follow, but she'd truly make her mark on television.  In 1961, she appeared in an episode of The Twilight Zone entitled "The Invaders," a one-person play in which she has not a single line of dialogue.  It holds up today as a fan-favorite episode and is often cited as one of the series' best entries.  Check out a clip on YouTube.

However, it is her role on Bewitched for which she is most famously known, that of Endora, a witch more than 4,000 years old.  Endora was the mother of Samantha, played by series star Elizabeth Montgomery, and mother-in-law and constant irritant to Darrin, played by Dick York and later, Dick Sargent.  Here's a compilation of some of her series highlights.

The series ended in 1972 and Moorehead retired to Rochester, Minnesota.  Her health was in decline, having been diagnosed with uterine cancer.  She ultimately passed on April 30, 1974.  She was 73 years old. 

Agnes Moorehead was entombed in Memorial Abbey at Dayton Memorial Park Cemetery in Ohio.  Attendees at her service included her mother, who outlived Agnes by 16 years, eventually passing away in 1990 at the age of 106.

Rest in peace.

  • If you want to learn more about Agnes Moorehead, take a voyage over to Amazon.  It's all in books.

  • Moorehead appeared in the 1956 film The Conquerors, which was filmed in what is today known as the Nevada Testing Grounds. Along with Moorehead, several of the film's cast and crew, including John Wayne, Susan Hayward and Director Dick Powell, have all died of cancer.  Although unproven, many today believe that they were all exposed to fallout material during production.

  • Moorehead initially turned down her most famous role, but reconsidered after being asked by series lead Elizabeth Montgomery.  She accepted the role believing that the series would not last more than one season. It ran for eight.

  • Moorehead's limousine is on permanent display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.  Take a look on Facebook.

  • The graves of two of Moorehead's co-stars, Dick York and Paul Lynde, have also been profiled by this blog.

  • If you're planning to visit Moorehead yourself, do not go on Saturday, when the Abbey is closed to the public.  It's open Sunday-Friday.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Blog #200: The Mafia Cemetery


Its our 200th blog here at Six Feet Under Hollywood, which demands something special.  This week, we take you to Queens, New York and St. John's Cemetery, also known as the Mafia Cemetery.  Here, you'll find the likes of notable gangsters, both real and fictional, as well as a host of other crooked characters, including politicians and actors. The cemetery boasts nearly sixty famous names, of which you'll see five that we found on a recent visit.  Enjoy!

Charles "Lucky" Luciano was born Salvatore Lucania in Italy on November 24, 1897.  As a young man, he came to America and carved his own version of the American dream, establishing what we know today as the American mafia. He died of a heart attack on January 26, 1962.  He was 64 years old. 

John Joseph Gotti, Jr. was born in the Bronx, New York on October 27, 1940.  He rose to serve as Boss of the Gambino Crime Family in New York City, earning the nickname "Dapper Don" for his expensive wardrobe and his rapport with the media.  Gotti died of throat cancer while in federal custody on June 10, 2002.  He was 61 years old.

Mario Matthew Cuomo
was born in New York City on June 15, 1932. A lawyer and politician, he first came into the national spotlight during the 1984 Democratic National Convention, later serving three terms as Governor of New York.  He ran for a fourth term in 1994 but was ultimately defeated by George Pataki.  He died of heart failure on January 1, 2015.  He was 82 years old.

Philip Anthony McKeon
was born in Westbury, New York on November 11, 1964.  Like his younger sister Nancy, McKeon was a child actor most famous for his role as Tommy Hyatt on the long-running CBS sitcom Alice.  When the series ended in 1985, he began a career as a DJ, working at radio stations in California and Texas, where he died on December 10, 2019, after a long, as-yet unidentified illness.  He was 55 years old.  He died just six weeks after his father, with whom he is buried.

Geraldine Anne Ferraro
was born in Newburgh, New York on August 26, 1935.  Another politician, she represented New York in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1979 to 1985.  As her headstone also states, she was the first woman to run for Vice President on a national party ticket in 1984, the same year Ronald Reagan won 49 states (even New York).  She spent her later years as a contributor for FOX News, before ultimately passing of multiple myeloma on March 26, 2011.  She was 75 years old.

Other notables buried at St. Johns include physical fitness guru Charles Atlas, Godfather actor Al Lettieri (the Turk), and New York Yankees great Joe Pepitone.  May they all rest in peace.