You might know that TV show Bewitched
famously switched its Dicks mid-run--replacing Dick York
with Dick Sargent
in the role of put-upon husband Darrin Stephens. The switch was convincing enough, the actors sharing strikingly similar facial features. And in fact, Dick Sargent was the network
's first choice for the role (he had to turn it down at the time due to commitment to another show which turned out to be a short-lived one). York was well-received in the part, but chronic back pain forced his withdrawal from it.
But what you might not have known is that Dick York died comparatively young -- in 1992, aged only 63; and his replacement followed this dire path even more quickly than he had followed York on the show -- Dick Sargent died in 1994, aged 64. Not only that, but the starring actress, Elizabeth Montgomery
who played Samantha, herself died in 1995, less than a year after Sargent, aged only 62. And for all three, the cause was cancer
Could this be a curse
? Could the show's fictional machinations with arts considered "dark"
in some circles have karmically redounded on its leads? This, in fact, seems like an unfair possibility, since the Dicks played about the most nonmagical character on the show. Still, the notion is chilling when one recalls that there is, in fact a third Darrin (and second Samantha) out there -- Will Ferrell
, who took the role in the 2005 film version of Bewitched
(though, strictly speaking, Ferrell here is playing an actor named Jack Wyatt, who is in turn being cast in an in-Universe TV revival of the original show). Nicole Kidman
played the Samantha of this film. At this writing, Ferrell and Kidman are both 48, so perhaps we won't know if the tragic pattern will hold for another decade and a half.