London: Elizabeth Montgomery, who could get anything she desired with the magical twitch of her nose as the star of the classic TV sitcom ‘Bewitched’, struggled to find happiness off-screen, a startling new book has revealed.
The boom claims that the blonde beauty ran through four tumultuous marriages and bewitched many of Hollywood’s leading men.
One of the sexiest and most desirable women in Hollywood cast a spell on stars like Elvis Presley, Dean Martin and Gary Cooper.
However, the daughter of movie legend Robert Montgomery suffered from a “father complex”, often falling in love with older men, and sought out troubled lovers who abused her physically and mentally.
“She enchanted every man she ever met,” a leading daily has quoted Herbie Pilato, author of the new biography ‘Twitch Upon A Star’, as saying.
“But she seemed drawn to troubled men, not nice guys. She was always looking for the ‘bad boy’, which may have been part of her rebellion against her father. Though she had her Bentleys and Beverly Hills mansion and made millions from Bewitched, ultimately she had a dark side to her,” Pilato said.
In the early sixties, the actress became a close friend of President John F Kennedy.
“He chased almost every beautiful woman he met, though if anything happened Elizabeth never spoke about it,” Pilato said.
Montgomery was 62 when she died of cancer in 1995. She married four times and had three children with her third husband – ‘Bewitched’ producer Bill Asher, yet she may never have found true happiness.
“She was beautiful and alluring and looking for love,” Pilato said.
“She worked with Gary Cooper on the movie ‘The Court-Martial Of Billy Mitchell’ and he had a thing for her. He was an older man, which she loved,” Pilato said.
A stagehand caught the duo alone in Cooper’s dressing room, sparking on-set scandal.
“Dean Martin was smitten with her when they filmed Who’s Been Sleeping In My Bed? He was a romantic and loved women. And again for Elizabeth there was the attraction of an older man,” Pilato said.
“Elvis Presley was closer to her age when they co-starred in Kid Galahad but he wanted her. Her much older husband got upset when he saw Elvis flirting with her on set but Presley called him an ***hole,” Pilato said.
Flirted, smitten and scandal: The blonde beauty was linked with Elvis Presley, Dean Martin and Gary Cooper. Among her most tormented lovers was former ballet star Alexander Godunov, who became a successful actor with films that included ‘Witness’ and ‘Die Hard’.
“He was an alcoholic and she was drawn to him, perhaps hoping to rescue him,” Pilato said.
“But he was abusive and self-destructive. Elizabeth had an affair with him while with the man who became her fourth husband,” Pilato said.
Montgomery became a star as Samantha Stephens, the wholesome, bubbly, nose-twitching housewife witch of ‘Bewitched’ yet her four marriages were as troubled as her affairs.
“Her first husband was rich New York socialite Fred Cammann, about a decade older than her, whom she met while filming a TV show,” Pilato said.
“But he wanted her to quit acting and be a stay-at-home wife in New York and Elizabeth had ambition. She soon took off for California and a career and their marriage went south.
“Her second husband was the Oscar winning movie star Gig Young, some 25 years her senior and at 48 almost her father’s age. Her father was horrified. Elizabeth was 22 and infatuated but Gig Young was an alcoholic, emotionally abusive and probably physically abusive as well. She tried to save him but their marriage broke down. It may have been a lucky escape. Young shot his second wife to death and then killed himself in a murder-suicide. Elizabeth’s third husband was Bewitched producer Bill Asher, yet another older man. But that marriage struggled and he had affairs throughout Bewitched,” Pilato said.
Despite the success of ‘Bewitched’, boredom set in after a few seasons and Montgomery launched into an affair with one of the directors, Richard Michaels, shattering both their marriages in 1971.
“Toward the end of his life Bill Asher still missed Elizabeth and was crying his heart out for her, saying, “It was all my fault”,” Pilato said.
“He couldn’t get over her. Then she met former Falcon Crest star Robert Fox worth, nine years her junior. They were together 20 years before they finally got married - soon after she ended her affair with Alexander Godunov - but later she was diagnosed with cancer and died 18 months after they wed,” Pilato added.
Montgomery, who’s mother was Broadway actress Elizabeth Allen, spent her life trying to resolve the conflict with her famous and overbearing father - Hollywood royalty Robert Montgomery.