A Look into the Life of 'Bewitched' Star Dick Sargent and How He Came out as Gay
Dick Sargent was an American actor, famous for his role in the ABC's comedy, "Bewitched," as the second actor to assume the Darrin Stephens' character.
Before his death in 1994, the "Bewitched" star, Richard Standford Cox, popularly known as Dick Sargent (a name he adopted from an artist who was the original bearer,) lived his life as a retroactive role model to the American gay population.
His life and activism, as well as his extraordinary role as an actor, made him one of the world's most renowned personalities.
DICK SARGENT'S CAREER PATH
Dick Sargent was born on April 19, 1930, to the notable family of actress Ruth McNaughton and her husband, Colonel Elmer Cox, a former US army and business mogul.
It is no surprise then that the icon first attended a Menlo Park's Military Academy before his venture into the arts.
For the most part, the legend spent his best years in the movie industry, acting his way to fame from 1954 following a role in "Prisoner Of War."
However, his first major role came in 1957's "Bernardine," where he starred as Stanford Wilson, a lovesick teenage boy.
Following his big break, the late gay rights activist took more acting roles, making appearances in "Operation Petticoat," The Ghost and Mr. Chicken," "Hardcore," "The Clonus Horror," among others.
In 1969, he landed the role of Darrin Stevens in the ABC's fantasy comedy show, "Bewitched," taking the place of the initial star, Dick York, who suffered a terminal illness at the time.
SARGENT BECAME THE SECOND DARRIN ON "BEWITCHED"
During its last three year run, the late Hollywood idol was cast as a replacement for the ABC comedy's hero.
He took up the role of Darrin in the last three seasons of the eight seasons series, playing the part so well, he became a fan favorite.
Darrin was a mortal, who fell in love and married a long-lived witch, Samantha Stevens.
The love pair decided to make it work despite the seemingly different roots, to the dismay of Samantha's people who tried all they could to break them apart.
Darrin was mostly the victim of one spell or the other, cast upon him by the witches and warlocks of his wife's coven in a bid to separate the lovebirds.
SARGENT'S LIFE AS A GAY RIGHTS ACTIVIST
The movie legend made the first public declaration of his sexual status in 1991, on National Coming Out Day. After coming out as gay, he became an active supporter of gay rights causes.
During his time, suicide among young homosexuals was prominent, leading the idol to fortify his support of gay and lesbian issues, while referring to himself as "a retroactive role model."
Sargent's involvement in the gay movement earned him the place of Grand Marshall at the Los Angeles Orange County Gay Pride Parade, alongside Elizabeth Montgomery.
THE TABLOID'S FIRST REVELATION OF SARGENT'S SEXUALITY
Before summoning the courage to declare his sexual preferences, the late star lived in bondage, imprisoned by his secrets, and the thought of the would-be repercussions if people got to find out he was not straight.
So he assumed a "straight" outward persona while sustaining a relationship with his longtime sweetheart and gay partner. Before his big reveal, he was first outed by The Star.
The outlet claimed the actor was gay and had been involved with his gay boyfriend for months.
As part of the publication, it was revealed that the icon got a car for his partner with whom he indulged his pornography addiction, and the two were once evicted from a West Hollywood Bungalow.
While the late icon admitted the former, he solely declared that the latter allegations were false, causing him to sue the outlet.
The legendary actor died of prostate cancer in 1994 when he was 64. He was first diagnosed with the condition in 1989, but his prognosis was known to only close relatives and friends.
The condition was considered benign at first, but after several failed attempts to control the illness, he became terminally ill.
It was at this time that words of his illness got out, leading to rumors that the gay activist was down with AIDS, a disease that plagued most of the gay population.
To date, many still speculate that the legend died of the Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome.
UNTOLD TALES OF THE "BEWITCHED" ICON
Unknown to many who refer to the idol as the second Derrin, Sargent was cast first on the show, even before his counterpart, but his active role on another series led him to reject the fixture at the time.
As fate would have it, he got the opportunity about four years later and killed the Darrin part.
During his run on the eight seasons series, the activist was admittedly in a relationship with a gay lover, who later died of cerebral hemorrhage years before his grand outing.
His last known partner was Albert Williams, whom he spent the final moments of his life with.
In addition to his massive contribution to gay rights, he also partook in outreach programs that brought relief to children in developing countries, while acting as an advocate for the Christian Children's Fund.
Sargent's life was indeed a proactive one, worthy of a recognition other than being "the second Darrin."