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Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Here's Why Dick Sargent of 'Bewitched' Called Himself a 'Retroactive Role Model' When He Came out as Gay

Odette Odendaal
May 29, 2019
07:01 A.M.

Dick Sargent, made a name for himself as “the second Darrin” in the iconic 1960s television show “Bewitched,” but few gay celebrities ever came out of the closet quite like the handsome actor.

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The hugely successful show ran from 1964 until 1972, during show’s last four years, Dick replaced Elizabeth Montgomery’s husband as Darrin on the ABC network’s sitcom “Bewitched.”

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At first, Dick feared that revealing his actual sexual orientation could irreparably damage his career. So he added a fake failed marriage to his publicity boi and posed with buxom actresses for magazine spreads.

But in 1991, Dick grew tired of the facade and fueled by his anger against Gov. Pete Wilson’s decision to veto California’s gay-rights bill; he decided to declare his sexuality with great fanfare.

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On National Coming Out Day, and in front of a large Hollywood gathering, he made the announcement. “It was such a relief. It was like healing,” Dick said afterward. “Now, I’m a retroactive role model,” he joked.

Born Richard Cox to a silent-film actress and a World War I hero turned Hollywood publicist in Carmel, California; he struggled through his days at university. Dick made, he admitted long after, “a couple of good college tries at suicide” while at Stanford.

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Dick went into acting after he attended university and got his big break in the sitcom “Bewitched.”

After Dick got diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1989, he continued his involvement in gay-rights issues. As Dick’s time on earth grew less and less, Albert Williams, his partner since 1985 said he “faced death like a champion” as he tried to keep everyone’s spirits up in spite of his grim prognosis after his cancer spread.

Sadly, on July 8, 1994, Dick lost his battle with cancer while at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.

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His co-star on “Bewitched,” Elizabeth Montgomery visited him regularly throughout his illness. “He was a great friend,” she said. “I will miss his love, his sense of humor, and his courage.”

The late actor showed a fair amount of courage as he stepped into the show as “Darrin number 2.” The comedy series had by then become a raging success as rating hit at #11, but fans didn’t take to the switch in actors, and the show’s ratings plummeted.

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The show eventually got canceled in 1969 after ratings dropped to the #24 spot as Dick didn’t catch on among the show’s loyal viewers.

While some fans might have fond memories of the show, others might need a reminder of the witch, Samantha Stephens and how she tried to fit in with mortals.

However, we have a few fun facts about the "Bewitched" that would jog even the most stubborn of memories, while others might find them bewitching.

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