Why Did Dick York Leave Bewitched?
Why Did Dick York Leave Bewitched
Battle of the Dicks

Why did Dick York Leave Bewitched? This has been a very popular question amongst retro TV aficionados throughout the years. Let get into the meat of the problem by first exploring the genesis of the hit television show Bewitched. We have a full article on this subject on it’s own page here. You can click the image below to read that article:

Why Did Dick York Leave Bewitched
Ugghhhhh, my back is killing me!

It is widely known that Dick York had major back problems but few know that he sustained that injury while making a movie called “They Came to Cordura”. This movie was a 1959 Western film starring Gary Cooper, Rita Hayworth, Van Heflin and Tab Hunter. Dick York played Private Renziehausen, not a memorable role for him.

In Dick York’s own words, “Gary Cooper and I were propelling a handcar carrying several wounded soldiers down the railroad track. I was on the down-stroke of this sort of teeter-totter mechanism that made the handcar run. I was lifting the handle up as the director yelled ‘cut!’ and then one of the wounded cast extras reached up and grabbed the handle. I was suddenly, jarringly, lifting his entire weight off the flat-bed. It was 180 lbs or so. The muscles along the right side of my back tore. They just snapped. And that was the start of it all: the pain, the painkillers, the addiction, the lost career.”

Why Did Dick York Leave Bewitched
Problems on the Set

Why did Dick York Leave Bewitched? As you can imagine, working on a physical comedy show like Bewitched was extremely difficult for Mr York. The producers and directors made efforts to decrease Dick’s pain by shooting several scenes with him either leaning against a wall, sitting on a couch or lying in bed. This was a temporary fix to a permanent problem.

In the 5th season of Bewitched, Dick had pushed himself so hard that he collapsed on set and had to be rushed to the hospital. After the incident, York and producer William Asher (Elizabeth Montgomery‘s real-life husband) had a long talk and they agreed that Dick would leave the show for good.

A New Dick
Why Did Dick York Leave Bewitched

Despite declining ratings, Bewitched plowed ahead with season 6, replacing Dick York with Dick Sargent. Lackluster writing and competition from cutting-edge television shows like All in the Family, Bewitched struggled and eventually ended in 1974 with Dick Sargent putting in only 3 seasons as Darren Stevens

Producer Burt Metcalfe Talks About Dick York’s Departure

Only Speculation

Why did Dick York really leave Bewitched? It is a lesser known fact that Dick York was infatuated with Elizabeth Montgomery and frequently sat and stared love-struck while watching her work. This caused Elizabeth to become uncomfortable, a feeling she expressed to producer (and hubby) William Asher. Many people speculate that this tension only expedited York’s departure from the show. We’ll never really know!

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4 responses to “Why Did Dick York Leave Bewitched?”

  1. […] along with his buddy Ed Norton, was a member of The Loyal Order of Raccoons. If you pay close attention in a few episodes, you can see on the blackboard behind him that his dues are in […]

  2. […] After reading the original script for All in the Family, Carroll was so convinced that the show would fail that he asked producers for a round trip plane ticket back to Italy where he was working on other acting projects […]

  3. […] for the plot of Bewitched with the concept of a “mixed marriage”. A mere mortal “Darren” and a heavenly witch named “Samantha” showed just how “mixed” the […]

  4. […] and make lovesick faces at her while she was filming. Moreover, this caused Montgomery to become uncomfortable, and may have contributed to another Dick taking over (Dick […]

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