Agnes Moorehead

Agnes Moorehead

N/A (passed away Apr. 30th, 1974)
Born in
Clinton, Massachusetts, USA
5' 6

Agnes Moorehead's Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
Bewitched TV Show
It Was a Very Good Year TV Show
It Was a Very Good Year
The Celebrity Game (UK) TV Show
The Celebrity Game (UK)

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


Agnes Robertson Moorehead (December 6, 1900 ~ April 30, 1974) was an American actress whose career of more than three decades included work in radio, stage, film and television. She is chiefly known for her role as Endora on the television series Bewitched.

Born in Clinton, Massachusetts, the daughter of a Presbyterian minister. She was a graduate of Muskingum College, New Concord, Ohio then went on to earn a master's degree in English and public speaking at the university of Wisconsin. She continued her studies in New York at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and began appearing on Broadway and radio.

With Joseph Cotton and Orson Welles, she was founder and charter member of the famed Mercury Theater Players. She worked in radio throughout her career, and received many accolades. Agnes was involved in two of the most famous shows of all time, Sorry Wrong Number which earned her the Golden Mike Award as well as a Golden Record and the hard to forget War of the Worlds the infamous Orsen Welles broadcast.

She had five nominations for Oscars in her career and made her film debut in Orsen Welles movie Citizen Kane. Agnes Moorehead appeared in many movies often cast in acid tongue roles and some of these are, The Magnificent Ambersons, Our Vines Have Tender Grapes, Dark Passage, The Left Hand of God and The Bat.

In 1964, Moorehead accepted the role of Endora, in the situation comedy Bewitched. She later commented that she had not expected it to succeed and that she ultimately felt trapped by its success. However, she had negotiated to appear in only eight of every 12 episodes made, therefore allowing her sufficient time to pursue other projects. She also felt that the television writing was often below standard and dismissed many of the Bewitched scripts as "hack" in a 1965 interview. The role brought her a level of recognition that she had not received before as Bewitched was in the top 10 programs for the first few years it screened.

Moorehead received six Emmy Award nominations, but was quick to remind interviewers that she had enjoyed a long and distinguished career. Despite her ambivalence, she remained with Bewitched until its run ended in 1972. She commented to the New York Times in 1974, "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." Later that year she said that she had enjoyed playing the role, but that it was not challenging and the show itself was "not breathtaking" although her flamboyant and colorful character appealed to children. She expressed a fondness for the show's star, Elizabeth Montgomery, and said that she had enjoyed working with her. Co-star Dick Sargent, who in 1969 replaced the ill Dick York as Samantha's husband, Darrin Stephens, had a more difficult relationship with Moorehead, caustically describing her as "a tough old bird."

In 1970, Moorehead appeared as a dying woman who haunts her own house in the early Night Gallery episode "Certain Shadows on the Wall." She also reprised her role in Don Juan in Hell on Broadway and on tour, in an all-star cast which also featured 'Edward Mulhare'.

Moorehead also memorably supplied the voice of the friendly mother Goose in Hanna-Barbera's 1973 adaption of the E. B. White children's book Charlotte's Web.

In the 1974 Broadway version of Gigi, Moorehead portrayed Aunt Alicia, in which she recorded the song, 'The Contract.' She fell ill during the production and was so sick that she had to quit and let Arlene Francis take her place. She died shortly after.

In January 1974, three months before her death, Moorehead performed in two episodes (including the very first) of CBS Radio Mystery Theater, the popular series produced by old-time radio master Himan Brown.

She and several cast members were exposed to radiation while making The Conqueror (1956) in Nevada.

She worked until the very end. Coming full circle, she ended her career on the Broadway stage.

Moorehead married actor John Griffith Lee in 1930; they divorced in 1952. In 1954, she married actor Robert Gist; they divorced in 1958. Moorehead had no children.

Moorehead died of uterine cancer on April 30, 1974, in Rochester, Minnesota; she is buried at Dayton Memorial Park in Dayton, Ohio. In 1994, Moorehead was posthumously inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame. The Touchdown Tavern in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, opened the Agnes Moorehead Lounge, exhibiting memorabilia.

  • Remembered by many as the magical mother-in-law "Endora" on _"Bewitched" (1964)_ (qv), though she preferred to be remembered for other roles.
  • On the first season of filming _"Bewitched" (1964)_ (qv), she didn't like aspects of the script, but felt she couldn't complain to director 'William Asher' (qv) because he was 'Elizabeth Montgomery (I)' (qv)'s husband (at the time).
  • Entered New York's Academy of Dramatic Arts, studying alongside 'Rosalind Russell' (qv).
  • Favorite color was purple - she was so fond of the color friends called her the "lavender lady."
  • Did graduate work at the University of Wisconsin.
  • Daughter of Presbyterian minister Dr. John H. Moorehead of Reedsburg, WI.
  • Adopted son Sean with first husband 'Jack G. Lee' (qv).
  • Initially turned down the role of "Endora" in _"Bewitched" (1964)_ (qv), but reconsidered when 'Elizabeth Montgomery (I)' (qv) asked her in person, when they met in a department store. Moorehead joined the cast not expecting the show to last more than one season, let alone become a long-running hit.

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