1928 Birth of the First Darrin
Richard “Dick” York was an Indiana lad who became a juvenile radio and film star in the 1940s. He appeared in numerous productions including Inherit the Wind, The Twilight Zone, and The Untouchables before winning television immortality as Darrin Stevens in Bewitched. For five seasons, starting in 1964, he played the hapless mortal suburban husband alongside the gorgeous Elizabeth Montgomery as his witch wife Samantha and the less than gorgeous Agnes Moorhead as his irritating mother-in-law Endora.
In 1959 while filming the western They Came to Cordura with Gary Cooper and Rita Hayworth, York had suffered a permanent and painful back injury, which he treated with ever-higher doses of prescription painkillers. York lived with the pain during the production of the first few seasons of Bewitched with the studio building him a slanted wall that he could lean against between takes but by the fourth season he could scarcely stand and had to be filmed seated or in bed. During filming in 1969 he collapsed and decided that he could no longer continue. He was replaced by Dick Sargent (always known as “the second Darrin”).
York battled pain, addiction, and emphysema, managing a brief comeback in 1983 and establishing Acting for Life, a charity for the homeless. He died in 1992.