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Based on author Herbie J Pilato's exclusive interviews with Elizabeth Montgomery prior to her death in 1995, Twitch Upon a Star includes insider material and commentary from several individuals associated with her remarkable life and career before, during, and after Bewitched, including her classic feature films The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell (1955), Who's Been Sleeping In My Bed? (1963), and Johnny Cool (1963).
Two of Montgomery's many popular TV movies, A Case of Rape (which remains one of the highest-rated TV-movies of all time) and The Legend of Lizzie Borden (which will soon be remade as a feature film), were groundbreaking and remain classics. But Twitch Upon a Star also goes behind the scenes to explore Montgomery's political activism, including her early advocacy for AIDS sufferers and the peace movement; her support for all minorities, including the gay community and the disabled; and her controversial participation as narrator of the1988 feature film documentary Cover-Up and its 1991 Oscar-winning sequel, The Panama Deception (both of which chronicled the Iran/Contra scandal of the 1980s). The book also explores Montgomery's tumultuous relationships with her father, screen legend Robert Montgomery (she was a liberal; he was a staunch conservative), and her four husbands (including actor Gig Young, who later died in a murder/suicide). Through it all-and to family and friends such as fellow performers Ronny Cox, Sally Kemp, and Florence Henderson-she was just Lizzie: down-to-earth and unaffected, just like Samantha, the "witch-with-a-twitch" Stephens, her most famous role.
Herbie J Pilato is a writer, producer, actor, songwriter, and entertainment executive. The author of several media tie-in books (including Glamour, Gidgets, and the Girl Next Door, NBC & Me, The Bionic Book, and many more), Pilato has also produced for the A&E, Bravo, TLC, Syfy, and TV Guide channels, as well as Sony, Warner Bros., NBC Universal, and other television networks and film studios. He now has several TV shows, books, and films in development and resides in Burbank, California, where he established Television, Ink. (a production company geared toward family entertainment) and The Classic TV Preservation Society (a nonprofit organization that seeks to close the gap between popular culture and education).
Preface Introduction Part I. Prewitched Chapter 1: Once Upon a time Chapter 2: Grim Chapter 3: Elizabeth Montgomery Presents Chapter 4: Brush with Fame Chapter 5: The Equestrians Chapter 6: Training Days Chapter 7: The Europeans Chapter 8: Spirits and Demons Chapter 9: Two Plus Hundreds Part II. Bewitched Chapter 10: Lizmet Chapter 11: Remember the Mane Chapter 12: Double Double . . . Chapter 13: . . . Toil and Trouble Chapter 14: Public Broadcasting Part III. Disenchanted Chapter 15: To Twitch Or Not To Twitch Chapter 16: Temperatures Risingf Chapter 17: Post Serial Chapter 18: Awakenings Part IV. Reconciled Chapter 19: Spirits and Angels Chapter 20: Humanities Chapter 21: Political Science Chapter 22: Final Exams Chapter 23: Graduation Afterword Appendix Sources Bibliography Acknowledgments Suggested Reading Index About the Author
Elizabeth Montgomery's life is beautifully portrayed by author Herbie 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 . . . [T]ells you all about Bewitched, the magical 1960s-and-'70s sitcom, and other triumphs enjoyed by the talented and beautiful Montgomery. Village Voice 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 Cafe * [A] blockbuster new book. * The National Enquirer * 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 * . . . [A] love letter . . . 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 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 * Pilato expertly captures the life of [this] wonderful actress. * Daytona News-Journal * [Pilato is] the master of all things Bewitched. . . . [Twitch Upon a Star is an] amazing new book. * NewNowNext on Logo Online * Fans of Elizabeth Montgomery and Bewitched will love this book. * Living in the Kitchen with Puppies * 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'switch with the twitch' at the end of her nose. American Profile 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 Herbie J Pilato reveals the real Elizabeth Montgomery in Twitch Upon a Star. Her loves, her demons and even her politics are explored in this new biography of one of television's favorite stars. InMaricopa.com The research that went into this book is amazing. . . . We get the essence and life of Elizabeth Montgomery by embarking on a journey `into the loves, politics, and performances of this multi-talented actor-a very magical journey, yet based in the real emotion of love.' Reviews by Amos Lassen Twitch Upon a Star: The Bewitched Life and Career of Elizabeth Montgomery is based on the author's exclusive interviews with Montgomery before her death in 1995, and includes new, never-before-published material and commentary from many associated with her life and career before, during and after Bewitched. Any with an interest in the show or Montgomery will find this a definitive exploration that ranges from insights on her career to revelations about her personal life and relationships. The result is a lively read indeed, recommended for film and biography holdings in general and especially for any reader with prior affection for Bewitched. Midwest Book Review 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, book critic; host of The Inside View Show 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 its 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; and 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 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 If you love Liz, you'll adore this book. Pilato's biography of everyone's favorite witch is incredibly detailed. He draws from many sources, including Montgomery's friends and his own interviews with the star. . . .The book also contains wonderful photos that chronicle Montgomery's life. Getting to know this remarkable woman, you'll love her for far more than just her dramatic and comedic talents. Pop Culture Classics
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