Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Dick Sargent

Actor Dick Sargent (1930-1994) was best known as the “second” Darrin on the 1960s TV sit-com, Bewitched. In a strange twist of fate, he was the original choice for the role when the show began, but a studio scheduling conflict prevented his taking the job when production began in 1964. Dick York played the character Darrin from the show’s inception until 1969, when Sargent took over the role, since a chronic back ailment prevented York from continuing the part. The network offered viewers no explanation for the different appearance of Darrin from 1969 through the show’s last season in 1972.

Sargent’s professional career began in the mid 1950s, and he worked until a year before his death from cancer in 1994. There was high drama in the last years of his life, when he openly declared his homosexuality. He called himself a “retroactive role model” in the battle for gay rights. Prior to his coming out in 1991, tabloids had written salacious items about Sargent’s relationship with a “young black guy.” Sargent commented on the tabloid outing at the time: “I'm not against outing in terms of being pegged as gay. I am gay, I always was. It can't really hurt me now, I mean professionally. But for them to reveal it as if they caught you, like some dirty little secret – that was despicable.” Sargent had a long-time male partner for 20 years before the man's death from a cerebral hemorrhage in 1979. From 1989 until his death, Sargent’s partner was African-American producer and writer Albert Williams.

Sargent gave an interview in which he talked about how so many Hollywood marriages are shams, especially those involving a gay actor  – “strategic moves” was the term he used. Dick also commented on the large percentage of gay actors among his Bewitched cast: “Now, whether George Tobias was gay or not, I couldn't say. But he never married, and his friends were always guys; he showed no interest whatsoever in women...”

OK, then. This statement inspired me to do a little Internet research, and I found this comment:

At the funeral of George Tobias, Bob Siler, working as a parking attendant, noticed that there were more World War II vets than anyone else in attendance. One mourner told him that it was “well known among servicemen that if they were in Los Angeles, they were more than welcome to stay at George's ranch instead of spending money on a hotel. Everything was on George, who ‘couldn't do enough’ for the men fighting for his country”. 

Guess that explains it.

Sargent’s take on being recognized as a celebrity: “Most of it is a pain in the ass. Sure, it can get you a theater ticket or a better seat in a restaurant, but a lot of times it's having your dinner interrupted or being asked for an autograph at the urinal.”

In June 1992, Sargent was Grand Marshal of the Los Angeles Gay Pride parade along with actress and former Bewitched co-star Elizabeth Montgomery.

He also spoke about what a gentleman Cary Grant was. The two went out on several dates, but there was no sexual activity, according to Sargent. “He hated being alone. He liked being around good-looking men. In fact, I heard all his secretaries were good-looking young men. He was indeed very closeted, but he didn't avoid you if you were a good-looking guy, the way some others will. I was just thrilled to be socializing with Cary Grant. It was the two of us, we'd go out together, then we'd talk, but nothing else.” Grant and Sargent made two movies together, but Sargent’s screen debut was in a 1954 film with Ronald Reagan (Prisoner of War). I’m not making this up.

When Sargent died after a 4-year struggle with prostate cancer at age 64, with his partner Albert Williams, age 37, at his side.

13 comments:

  1. I was about 8 yrs old when Sargent replaced York on Bewitched. Of course no one spoke of homosexuality then but I knew there was something different about Sargent when I watched that show. I think Dick was a good actor in other stuff but it seemed to me he tried too hard sometimes on Bewitched. York's indignation seemed more real. Or it might be just a bit of that oh too human tendency yo prefer what we see first. Anyway I also knew I was different from most other boys but that's another story. It would be nice to find a shirtless photo of Mr Sargent.
    looks like he had a nice hairy chest!

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  2. I thought that he seemed better in the part. Dick York played the role too quick tempered IMO.

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    1. Dick York was the better"Darrin"

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    2. Dick York was way too hot tempered for the part. Sargent rocked the part beautifully!

      Please refer all other objections to your local toilet.

      Sincerely-

      Jon

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  3. I think each of these fine actors, York and Sargent, brought something different to the role of Darrin, which may have helped the show's longevity. I Loved "Bewitched" so much, I had to keep watching...and I am now on DVD!

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    1. You're the one I agree with here, Anonymous-- I absolutely loved both of them equally. There was no reason to compare them; they were simply two guys (named Dick) who had two different approaches to the same role, that's all. No contest.

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    2. You're right, Anonymous. No need for comparison s; they were both great.

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  4. They were good people and good actors that's what matters.

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  5. Ultimately this is the truth! Yahushua bless them all!

    Thanks for your post.

    Jon.

    "Ain't it something how it goes; that you don't know what you've got until it's gone?" - Joni Mitchell

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  6. Dick Sargent was perfect for the role. Great actor and a great loss to this world.

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    1. Totally agree! Dick York was good, but too emotional. Dick Sargent nailed it to the wall! Great actor indeed! He shall be sorely missed.

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  7. Both York and Sergeant deserve a great deal of respect as people as well as actors. When York's back ailment led him to his final days in a wheelchair, he was still on the phone trying to get meals and shelter for homeless people! Sargent's biggest reason for coming out as gay was that he hoped he could be a positive role model. He was troubled by the rising number of young gay men that were committing suicide.

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    1. Wow. Already knew about Dick Sargent's reason for coming out, but Dick York helping others? Total respect for both of them! Yahushua bless them and us all!

      BRING BACK BEWITCHED!!!

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