Monday, May 18, 2015

Book Spotlight: Twitch Upon A Star by: Herbie J. Pilato

The Bewitched Life and Career of Elizabeth Montgomery

(Taylor Trade Publishing, Paperback, Fall 2014)
(Taylor Trade Publishing, Original Hardcover, 2012)

By Herbie J Pilato


Top-Selling Book celebrates Bewitched star’s memory!

Elizabeth Montgomery’s Samantha named Classic TV’s NUMBER ONE Hottest Housewife
[see link below ]

TWITCH UPON A STAR is the first major biography on the legendary actress…
…one of Edwards Picks at…a top-tier seller at…one of Huffington Post’s Top Books of 2012…Emmy Magazine  excerpt in April 2013!

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

  • The Village Voice

“…blockbuster book!”

  • The National Enquirer

“Pilato expertly captures the life of this wonderful actress who
died in 1995 from colon cancer.”

  • The Daytona News Journal
(which in December rated TWITCH UPON A STAR as No. 4 on its Top 10 list of holiday picks)


Her Politics  

  • Elizabeth was a liberal Democrat who had major father issues with her dad conservative Republican Robert Montgomery. 
  • She protested against the Vietnam War.  
  • She despised President Reagan (who was friends with her father). 
  • She narrated the controversial Cover Up/Panama Deception feature film documentaries (that dealt with the Iran/Contra Affair). 
  • Her Bewitched co-star David White (Larry Tate) lost his son in the Pan Am incident over Lockerbie and that infuriated her (at one point, she and David were interviewed together for the book).  
Her Charitable Work

  • Elizabeth reached out to those with AIDS (one of the first celebrities to do so)

  • She supported the Peace Movement

  • She supported the disabled community (recorded books for the visually-impaired; and more)

Her Cult-Classic Feature Films

  • The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell (1955, with Gary Cooper)

  • Who’s Been Sleeping In My Bed? (1963, with Dean Martin and Carol Burnett)

  • Johnny Cool (1963, directed by future husband and Bewitched producer William Asher)

Her Ground-Breaking TV-Movies

  • A Case of Rape (1974)

  • The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975)

  • The Awakening Land (1977)
Her Battles with Bewitched Co-Stars

  • She didn’t get along with Agnes Moorehead, who played her mother Endora, who was not pleased when Dick Sargent replaced Dick York as Darrin.

  • Dick York (the first Darrin) was in love with Elizabeth, which caused her a great deal of stress.

  • She got along better with Dick Sargent (who just so happened to be gay)

Her Alleged Romantic Liaisons

  • With Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, Gary Cooper, and Bewitched producer/director Richard Michaels (which lead to her divorce from Bewitched producer/director William Asher, who was Michaels’ mentor).
  • Her four marriages:      In addition to Bill Asher, she was married to New York high-roller Fred Cammann, alcoholic actor Gig Young (more than twenty years her senior; who later died in double murder/suicide); and Robert Foxworth, who she met on the set of Mrs. Sundance (in 1974) and after twenty years of living together, finally married – only 18 months before she died (in 1995).
Her Issues with I Dream of Jeannie  

  • Although Elizabeth never had anything personal against I Dream of Jeannie stars Barbara Eden or Larry Hagman (who just passed away), she was not at all pleased when their show hit the air on NBC one year after Bewitched debuted on ABC.  
  • Both shows were about beautiful magical blond women who fell in love with mortal men.  Sol Saks, the creator of Bewitched, was originally approached about doing another witch show for NBC.  But when he turned them down, the network went to Sidney Sheldon, and he created I Dream of Jeannie.  
  • Sheldon and Bewitched producer/director William Asher (then married to Montgomery) were friends who had worked together years before on The Patty Duke Show.  
  • Asher wasn’t concerned with Sheldon’s Jeannie, plans, even if they included cloning Samantha’s witch nose-twitch in the form of Jeannie’s eye blink to manifest the genie magic.  
  • But it all bothered Montgomery…especially when I Dream of Jeannie started producing similar scripts to Bewitched, and when Jeannie’s dark-haired twin-sister Jeannie II character was created in near mimic to Samantha’s raven-haired twin cousin Serena on Bewitched.  Then Elizabeth hit the roof!  

TWITCH UPON A STAR 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!), aactor 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 . . .”

Chapter 1 from TWITCH UPON A STAR

One-hour radio interview with author Herbie J Pilato


"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 children'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, veteran TV writer and producer (Baretta, Diagnosis: Murder, The Fall Guy, and more)

"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

"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.

"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 and founder of PeaceArt International

"Elizabeth Montgomery's life is beautifully portrayed by author Herbie J Pilato in [this] loving new biography."

  • FrontiersLA

"[A] comprehensive and touching biography of Montgomery's life. . . .Fans of classic television or of well-written biographies should seek this out . . . an insightful read about an amazing woman!"

  • Journeys in Classic Film

"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!"

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

"Wonderful book and terrific author . . ."

  • Shannon Devereaux Sanford, Shannon's Corner, WTBQ radio

". . . Twitch Upon a Star is an engrossing look at a strong-willed actress whose career spanned five decades. It will satisfy Elizabeth Montgomery's 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©

"Life's journey is never simple. Twitch Upon a Star: The Bewitched Life and Career of Elizabeth Montgomery is a biography from Herbie J Pilato [in which] he tells the `Bewitched' star's story . . . forming friendships, romances, enemies, and everything in between. An advocate with her own problems, [Montgomery's] story is one of [an individual] 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

" . . . [I]t's like meeting [Elizabeth Montgomery] all over again for the very first time…. 
If you've ever enjoyed an episode of Bewitched, come meet her for yourself." 

  • BookSteve's Library Blog

"This biography covers it all . . . Fans will love the three sections of photos and Pilato's respectful, yet truthful, portrait of the woman who will forever be remembered for as the beautiful witch Samantha Stephens."

  • SheKnows Book Lounge

"Twitch Upon a Star is as perfect a book could be . . . [it] shines bright at a rating of 5 Stars 
(out of five). 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. Twitch Upon a Star is as no other book... 
For me, a person who thinks he's read the best of the best books, [this] put a twinkle in my
eyes [from] Herbie J Pilato's mastery of the craft of writing." 

  • Salvador SeBasco, Christian book critic; host of The Inside View Show

"Twitch Upon a Star is based on Pilato's exclusive interviews prior to Montgomery's 1995 death. . . . The book follows her career before, during and after "Bewitched," and goes behind the scenes chronicling her political activism [and] reveals behind-the-scenes anecdotes about the show and Montgomery's life."

  • Long Beach Press-Telegram

"[Herbie J Pilato is] the master of all things Bewitched . . .[Twitch Upon a Star is an] amazing new book."  

  • NewNowNext on Logo Online

"For anyone who only recalls Elizabeth Montgomery from her most memorable role, on
the 1960s sitcom Bewitched, this thoroughly researched, extensively detailed, and wholly fascinating biography will load you up with everything you've been missing. It's a delicious, detailed look at her life and remarkable career before, during and after that magical, life-changing show; her crusading and often controversial activism for the causes close to her 
heart; her often turbulent relationship with her father, actor Robert Montgomery; her rocky marital history; and the many other facets of the woman who played Samantha Stephens,
TV's `witch with the twitch' at the end of her nose."

  • american Profile

"Fans of Elizabeth Montgomery and Bewitched will love this book."

  • Living in the Kitchen with Puppies

"Herbie J Pilato, a long-time fan and later friend of the actress uses his extensive interviews with the actress, plus meticulous research to get to the bottom of what the real Elizabeth Montgomery was like."

  • Soap World Magazine


Writer/producer HERBIE J PILATO is the author of several media tie-in books, including Glamour, Gidgets and the Girl Next Door and Retro Active Television (both to be published in the fall of 2014), and The Essential Elizabeth Montgomery: A Guide to Her Magical Performances (Taylor Trade, 2013).   Pilato has worked for A&E, TLC, Bravo, Syfy, The TV Guide Network, Sony, Warner Bros. and NBCUniversal, and is the founder of The Classic TV Preservation Society (a nonprofit that seeks to close the gap between popular culture and education).

Article in The Daily Mail

“The Industrious Light and Magic of Herbie J Pilato”

“Who Is Herbie J Pilato?”

CONTACT Herbie J Pilato
Television, Ink.
(310) 480-0067

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