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Subject: Archive: February 20, 1992 ~ Dick York dies at 63

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Date Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 07:52:47am

Actor Dick York dead at 63

ROCKFORD, Mich. -- Actor Dick York, whose roles included the original Darrin on television's 'Bewitched' comedy series and the Tennessee teacher accused of teaching evolution in the film 'Inherit the Wind,' is dead at 63.

York died at 3:05 p.m. Thursday at Blodgett Hospital in Grand Rapids, said hospital spokeswoman Anne Todd. He had suffered for several years from emphysema and a degenerative spinal condition. He was admitted to the hospital about a week ago, she said.

He was best known for playing the befuddled, high-strung husband to Elizabeth Montgomery's playful housewife-witch Samantha Stephens on the popular comedy program.

'Bewitched,' also featuring Agnes Moorehead as Samantha's mother, ran on ABC from 1964 to 1972. York left after the fifth season and was replaced by Dick Sargent in the Darrin role. The show was produced by Screen Gems.

York retired from acting in 1969 because of his spinal disease and in recent years was housebound and dependent on an oxygen tank to cope with emphysema.

For the past several years, York and his wife, Joan, had lived in Cannon Township, just east of Rockford in western Michigan, where he was active in a group called Acting for Life.

Despite his failing health, York devoted his last years to aiding the homeless by cutting through red tape to make available food, clothing and bedding stockpiled by the government in warehouses.

In a 1989 interview with the Los Angeles Times, York -- living on a $650-a-month pension from the Screen Actors Guild -- humbly mused about his efforts on behalf of the downtrodden.

'You know, three whales get in trouble and people from all over volunteer to help,' he said. 'Wouldn't it be wonderful if one old has- been actor with a hose up his nose could help millions of people?'

The wiry actor began his career in radio and appeared on Broadway in 'Tea and Sympathy' and 'Bus Stop.'

One of his best-known feature films was 'Inherit the Wind' in 1960, in which he played a Tennessee teacher charged with teaching Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. The film, which starred Spencer Tracy, was based on the Scopes 'monkey trial' in the 1920s

His other film credits included 'Cowboy,' 'They Came to Cordura,' 'My Sister Eileen,' and 'Three Stripes in the Sun.'

York began working in television in the mid-1950s with frequent appearances on 'Kraft Theatre,' 'The Twilight Zone,' 'The Millionaire,' 'Wagon Train' and 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents.'

Before becoming known to television audiences as Darrin Stephens on 'Bewitched,' York played Tom Colwell in the 1962-63 comedy series 'Going My Way.'

Services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Pederson Funeral Home in Rockford with the Rev. Gary Davis of Bostwick Lake Congregational Church officiating. Burial will be in Plainfield Township Cemetery.

In addition to his wife, York is survived by five children, Kimberly Harding of Eugene, Ore.; Amanda Williams of Bridgewater Corner, Vt.; and Stacie Altman, Christopher York and Matthew York, all of California; a sister, Vicki Robbins, of California; and 13 grandchildren.

York was born Sept. 4, 1928, at Fort Wayne, Ind., and attended DePaul University before embarking on an acting career. He married the former Joan Alt on Nov. 17, 1951, in Pearl River, N.Y.


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Several "Bewitched" cast members died fairly young (NT)SadWednesday, February 20, 11:00:06am

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