Published on August 10, 1985, in the Los Angeles Herald Examiner

For Dick York, life’s been anything but bewitched

By Claudia Kuehl
Herald staff writer

He was an acclaimed performer on radio and Broadway, in movies and television, and his future seemed assured. Then he lost his grip on it all and withdrew into pain, anonymity and a battle with his own sense of failure.
    That struggle, Dick York says now, “is immaterial to me. But if there’s nourishment for anybody in it, please use it — if it can help anybody to know that a guy can be at the top of his career and soar right down to the rock bottom and it not make any difference.”
    At age 56, lean, gray-haired and deeply lined, York says he has found peace. It must be a separate kind of peace, a core quietude that eases the nights yet leaves unsoothed the problematic days.
    For York, of enduring Bewitched and Inherit the Wind fame, hardly appeared peaceful during a recent daytime encounter. Rather, he seemed consumed by an overabundance of untapped energy and a driving sense of unfinished business.
    “I want to prove . . . ” he began, then vehemently corrected himself. “I don’t want to prove anything. I want to act. I want to direct. I want to write — and I do all of them. There’s not a damn thing I can’t do. All anybody has to do is ask me!”
    Just as quickly the outburst was over. “Was that anger?” he asked his wife of 33 years. “I wonder where that came from.”
    Clearly, a flame is burning inside Dick York. During the interview he emoted, mused, leapt out of his chair, chain-smoked, impulsively hugged a reporter and laughed at himself and the world with an intensity that overwhelmed the confines of his small Covina apartment. At one point in this mesmerizing unburdening a potted jade tree somehow crashed to the floor. York sprang to his feet and shook a fist into the air. “Endora, for the last time, leave me — alone!”
    Then he collapsed back into his chair, doubled over with laughter.
    It has been 16 years since York collapsed in a haze of back pain and vanished permanently from the set of Bewitched.
    But the comedy about a suburban witch, Samantha, her mortal husband, Darrin, and her meddling mother, Endora, remains a television staple through syndication — and York, who starred as Darrin for the first five of the show’s eight years, remains a comfortably familiar presence on the airwaves.


 

 

 

Poem by Joey York
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