New Biography on "Bewitched" Star!

New Biography on "Bewitched" Star!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christian Book Critic Salvador SeBasco Gives TWITCH Five Star Review

"Herbie J Pilato’s TWITCH UPON A STAR is as perfect a book as could be in honor of a star’s legacy (Elizabeth Montgomery). Through this book, the recognition of her influence on a culture and memories of her impact live on. Pilato gives readers insight about just how really human Television’s most popular fictional witch of all time was. TWITCH UPON A STAR shines bright at a rating of 5 Stars (out of five).

Elizabeth Montgomery life, her trials of self-realization, and the chain of events that led her to entertain others is what first resonated after reading TWITCH UPON A STAR. I read it twice. Afterwards I watched re-runs of Bewitched− knowing what I learned from TWITCH UPON A STAR –and what stirred me most were the questions that came to mind which I feel TWITCH UPON A STAR answered.  What does a person’s life mean to others?  Does a meaningful life mean one’s influence on other’s after one has gone? Does it mean an undeniable mark on others? A lasting fondness?  By Pilato reminding us of Elizabeth Montgomery life, he reminds us that to live is to have meaning to others. In the era Elizabeth Montgomery lived, the onset of woman’s lib placed her unsuspecting role as the role of Samantha Stephens on a (sweet little) television show called Bewitched.

It also showed viewers that an extraordinary extent of privacy is possible in one’s own home. After all, if a witch could be hidden from recognition and within the walls of a home was one’s own business, there was a great value to owning a home. The show also conveyed a woman knows best and that her dabbling in her husband’s business affairs brought unexpected gains. That was something unheard of in that era.

TWITCH UPON A STAR is as no other book. And while my being Christian sides me with the direction of thought that us being “perfect” is not attainable (because the only perfect is the Lord) TWITCH UPON A STAR is as perfect as perfect a book can get on this earth. Between the lines we are reminded that to realize (with television) we are watching a place in history made is not what we realize when we watch the best entertainers of our time. After we are affected by what we experience, we just know they took us to a place (in our own hearts) and to that a moment in time that relieved us from our own expectations on ourselves and others. We get to tune out all but what we are watching. In a world where anticipation is half the fun, the best entertainers (as was Elizabeth Montgomery) get us to anticipate and stay in a steady-state of anticipation that detracts us from those levels of expectations from everyday life. Some call it escapism−that being entertained provides−but it is more. Every now and far in between then a person (entertainer) comes along, as Elizabeth Montgomery had, that brings a sheer joy to watch; because we did not know what to expect next out of that person; a humbling experience in observance of what is genuine about a person.

When our values of past have been bruised by the present world we live in, and we’ve evolved away from certain mainstay values in entertainment, the preservation of television’s history and the efforts to preserve, brings us back to the foundational values of being entertained; to bring forth appeal, and all that is unexpected and not anticipated. TWITCH UPON A STAR more than takes us back to a time when. It moves readers forward with hope of what (in similar fashion and form or spiritedness) can be achieved in entertainment; and who better than Herbie J Pilato to bring that message forward to this and the next generation. He is the founder and Executive Director of The Classic TV Preservation Society, a nonprofit organization that seeks to close the gap between popular culture and education.

Thank you, Herbie J Pilato for giving it your all (in this book). TWITCH UPON A STAR is a blessing in disguise; a reminder of the passion, perseverance, devotion, and diligence partook by entertainers. In between the lines of TWITCH UPON A STAR readers are likely to gain a sense that Elizabeth Montgomery lived her legacy while she was alive, and that by her genuine nature, left a mark on society, influenced others beyond her widest imagination, and in what we see of her work in reruns and by Pilato’s artful mastery of the craft of writing, we (readers) get to relive the reasons we have the fondness for the way Elizabeth Montgomery entertained us.

Back to our earlier questions, questions that stirred in me as I read TWITCH UPON A STAR: What does a person’s life mean to others?  What would be at stake had that person never existed? Pilato shows readers in more ways than one that one person can make a great difference in the world and that Elizabeth Montgomery did so by not setting out to do so; but by serving to the best of one’s ability.  To be given the gift that TWITCH UPON A STAR is proves that a life well lived is not about what you take but what you give.

Bravo to Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group. For me, a person who thinks he’s read the best of the best books, you put a twinkle in my eyes with Herbie J Pilato’s mastery of the craft of writing. To relive television’s greatest times is to travel into the depth of one’s own heart and TWITCH UPON A STAR did that for me. Thank you.”


Salvador SeBasco
Book Critic
Literary Director
on staff with CNN affiliate station, KNLE

December 5, 2012

Saturday, November 24, 2012


On October 25, 1963, Elizabeth Montgomery made a TV-guest star appearance on an episode of 77 Sunset Strip, titled, “White Lie,” in which she portrayed the conflicted half-white, half-black granddaughter of a character played by Juanita Moore.  It was a monumental premise that Moore had explored with her Oscar-winning performance in the 1959 ground-breaking feature film Imitation of Life.  It was also an historic theme that Montgomery would revisit in playing Samantha - the witch-with-a-twitch - Stephens on Bewitched, which began rehearsals on November 22, 1963 - the day President Kennedy was assassinated.  The core message of both “White Lie” and Bewitched was prejudice, against which JFK (who was friends with Montgomery) had fought in an era which became increasingly volatile with race rioting, the Vietnam War, and future assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., each also bold endorsers of human rights.

On Bewitched, Montgomery’s other-worldly Samantha loved her mortal husband Darrin (first played by Dick York then Dick Sargent) despite their “differences,” which they ignored to concentrate on what made them the same: their humanity.

No episode of the show more clearly brought this message home than the Christmas segment “Sisters At Heart,” which debuted on Christmas Eve, 1970, during the show’s seventh season.

Here, Samantha and Darrin’s supernatural daughter Tabitha (played by twins Erin and Diane Murphy) befriends Lisa, a young African-American girl (played by Venetta Rogers).  The two children get along so well, they want to be sisters.  But after a bully in the park tells them that’s impossible because of their disparate physical appearances, Tabitha employs “wishcraft” (whatever she wishes comes true), and seeks to make both she and Lisa the same color.  But the magic goes awry: white polka dots appear on Lisa, and black polka dots appear on Tabitha.  Samantha of course is confounded and calls witch-doctor Dr. Bombay (Bernard Fox) for a remedy, though not before espousing to Tabitha and Lisa that,  “All men are brothers, even if they’re girls.”

It’s a touching message that Montgomery believed represented the core message of Bewitched; and one to which she clung off-screen and talked in-depth about with author Herbie J Pilato (Bewitched Forever, The Kung Fu Book of Wisdom).

Pilato shares those talks and more insight from Montgomery in his new book, TWITCH UPON A STAR: THE BEWITCHED LIFE AND CAREER OF ELIZABETH MONTGOMERY, which is based on his exclusive interviews with the actress (who died of cancer in 1995).

Other topics covered: include Montgomery’s generous support of the Peace Movement and the disabled community; how she became one of the first celebrities to help those suffering from AIDS; and her many other charitable efforts.

This book also includes never-before-published commentary about Montgomery from other TV icons like: Florence Henderson (The Brady Bunch), June Lockhart (Lost in Space), Lydia Cornell (Too Close For Comfort), Ed Asner (The Mary Tyler Moore Show), Eric Scott (The Waltons), as well Montgomery’s childhood best friend Sally Kemp, the Oscar-winning actor Cliff Robertson (in his final interview!), actor Ronny Cox (her co-star from A Case of Rape, one of her historic, ground-breaking TV-movies), and many others. 

With an expansive perspective on her free spirit, intelligence and wit; her strong sense of politics, family, work ethic and general life priorities, Herbie J Pilato’s TWITCH UPON A STAR: THE BEWITCHED LIFE AND CAREER OF ELIZABETH MONTGOMERY offers a compelling chronicle of a legendary, charitable and very complex actress.  Or as Shannen Devereau Sanford, of New York’s WTBQ Radio said it, “Wonderful book…terrific author . . .”

HERBIE J PILATO is the author of several pop-culture books, including “Life” Story – The Book of “Life Goes On”: TV‘s First and Best Family of Challenge.  Pilato is also the founder of The Classic TV Preservation Society (a nonprofit that seeks to close the gap between popular culture and education), and writes the Classic TV Corner blog for Jack Myers’

Sandy Trupp at Media Connect  *   202.974.5022   *

Kalen Landow   *   Taylor Trade Publishing   *


Twitch Upon a Star: The Bewitched Life and Career of Elizabeth Montgomery by Herbie J Pilato

November 2012 · ISBN 978-1-58979-749-9 · 456 pages ·  6 x 9  · $24.95 · Hardcover · 40 B&W and Color Photos · Biography/Entertainment

Taylor Trade Publishing | An Imprint of the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group

Distributed by National Book Network · 1-800-462-6420

Tuesday, November 20, 2012



The Bewitched Life and Career of Elizabeth Montgomery

(Taylor Trade Publishing, November 2012)

By Herbie J Pilato

The first major biography on the legendary actress!

 One of Edwards Picks at!

A top-tier seller at!


“…all about Bewitched, the magical 1960s-and-1970s sitcom,
and other triumphs enjoyed by the talented and beautiful Montgomery.”

-       The Village Voice

How did Elizabeth Montgomery twitch her nose as Samantha on Bewitched?
How are JFK and Marilyn Monroe related to Bewitched?
Why did Elizabeth view prejudice as the core message of Bewitched?
Why was she such a recluse in real life?
Why didn’t Elizabeth get along with her father Robert Montgomery?
Was she really related to ax-murderess Lizzie Borden (who she played in the 1975 TV-movie)?
Did she have romances with Gary Cooper, Dean Martin and Elvis Presley?
Just exactly how abusive was her marriage to alcoholic actor Gig Young (her second of four husbands)?

What does Ronald Reagan have to do with Elizabeth?

What does the Pan Am Incident over Lockerbie have to do with Bewitched?

What does the Iran/Contra Affair have to do with Bewitched?
Did Darrin really love Samantha behind the Bewitched scenes?  Is THAT why there were two Darrins?
Did Samantha and Endora battle behind the witch cameras?
Other topics covered:
·         Elizabeth’s generous support of the Peace Movement and the disabled community!
·         How she became one of the first celebrities to help those suffering from AIDS!


“…all about Bewitched, the magical 1960s-and-'70s sitcom, and other triumphs enjoyed by the talented and beautiful Montgomery.”
                                                        -          The Village Voice

"Life's journey is never simple. Twitch Upon A a biography from Herbie J Pilato as he tells the Bewitched star's life story that spanned much of Hollywood, forming friendships, romances, enemies, and everything in between. An advocate with her own problems, her story is one of who tried to make a difference with her stardom. Twitch Upon A Star is a strongly recommended addition to Hollywood and television history biography collections...highly recommended."

 -          Midwest Book Review

“No matter how big your twitch-itch, this book will scratch it!”

 -          Ventura County Star


“Fans of classic television or of well-written biographies should seek this out… Herbie J Pilato presents a comprehensive and touching biography of Montgomery's life…the book focuses on a beautiful, gracious woman who made people smile and understand it was okay to be quirky….
        …an insightful read about an amazing woman!”

-          Journeys in Classic Film


“…an engrossing look at a strong-willed actress whose career spanned five decades.  It will satisfy Elizabeth Montgomery fans, as well as Bewitched buffs interested in learning more about that series’ leading lady – and even how the famous twitch was invented.”

-          Classic Film and TV CafĂ©


"Elizabeth Montgomery's life is beautifully portrayed by author Herbie Pilato
          in this loving new biography......a marvelous book filled with great stories and inside info
          from  the beloved star."

-          Frontiers,


“…blockbuster book!”

-          The National Enquirer

“…a fine biography of a fine lady”
                     -          Peter Ackerman, son of Harry Ackerman, Bewitched executive producer


“…my (new) favorite book…”

 -          Salvadore SeBasco, The Inside View Show


"Heavily researched, expertly executed, and handled with reverence, Twitch Upon A Star is a magical revelation about one of the most popular and endearing performers of all time. It's clear that Herbie J Pilato not only knows what he's talking about, but that he also cares very deeply about his subject, from a personal, yet objective perspective...No two ways about it, this book is a class act about a classic actress."

-          Danny Gold, film and television producer


"I encourage everyone to read Pilato's astounding, loving, riveting, eye-opening book."

-          Lydia Cornell, star of classic TV's Too Close For Comfort,
                                              comedienne, and women and child's advocate


                      "The way Herbie J Pilato tells it, Elizabeth Montgomery just didn't have guts, she had balls. She was kind to those she felt deserved it but had no qualms about setting others straight. Who'd'a thunk that sweet little Samantha had such chutzpah?"

 -          Larry Brody, TV writer and producer
                                        (Baretta, Diagnosis: Murder, The Fall Guy, and more)

“Intricately revealing, well written and hard to put down, Herbie J Pilato’s Twitch Upon a Star captures the essence and life of Elizabeth Montgomery. He leads readers on an intriguing journey into the loves, politics and performances of this multi-talented actor - a very magical journey, yet based in the real emotion of love.  I heartily recommend this well rounded read for fans, friends and all who value the life of a gifted, complex and bewitching woman.

-          Kathy Garver, film, TV and stage star (Cissy on the classic Family Affair TV series);
                 author, The Family Affair Cookbook and Surviving Cissy; speaker.

Twitch Upon A Star is astounding.  Herbie J Pilato does a wonderful job of mixing
hard info with his personal relationship with Elizabeth Montgomery.  His approach makes
the book very unique. This is one of the best biographies I've read in years. It is a real classic…a brilliant work.  In fact…a masterpiece!”

 -          Rick Lertzman, media historian, and author, Codename: Dr. Feelgood


“…wonderful book…terrific author”

-          Shannon Devereau Sanford, WTBQ Radio, New York


“Not only has Bewitched’s Samantha Stephens influenced hundreds of female TV characters and the actresses who portrayed them, but Elizabeth Montgomery’s lasting influence on Hollywood and society has been far greater than the TV series that made her a legend. Herbie J Pilato, one of the great students of classic TV, spins a compelling narrative that brings to life a magical TV series and it’s even more magical star.  It’s a true Hollywood story, and more than any book I’ve read Twitch Upon a Star goes behind-the-scenes to capture a fascinating period in history when television was coming of age.”

-          Jack Myers, media ecologist, author and producer


"Much more than just a celebrity biography Twitch Upon A Star relays a spiritual quest that can speak to anyone.  Retelling the story and work of a life can activate an awareness of the beauty and purpose in our own unfoldment.  Pilato accomplishes this masterfully and magically, uncovering such depth and absorbing reflection with authenticity and vigorous charm to reveal Elizabeth Montgomery's journey as a true cultural treasure.  This book is magnificent!"

-          Thomas Warfield, performing artist, founder of PeaceArt International













For a review copy or to schedule an interview with the author, contact Sandy Trupp at Media Connect (202.974.5022/, or Kalen Landow at Taylor Trade Publishing (



Jason Allen Ashlock
President | Movable Type Management | TW: @jasonashlock
PO Box 1220 * New York, NY * 10185
Office: (917) 289-1089 * Mobile: (646) 573-9866



Twitch Upon a Star: The Bewitched Life and Career of Elizabeth Montgomery by Herbie J Pilato

November 2012 · ISBN 978-1-58979-749-9 · 456 pages ·  6 x 9  · $24.95 · Hardcover · 40 B&W and Color Photos · Biography/Entertainment

Taylor Trade Publishing | An Imprint of the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group

Distributed by National Book Network · 1-800-462-6420