Dick Sargent

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Dick Sargent
Dick Sargent headshot.jpg
Born Richard Stanford Cox
(1930-04-19)April 19, 1930
Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, U.S.
Died July 8, 1994(1994-07-08) (aged 64)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Other names Richard Sargent, Richard Cox, Dick Cox
Occupation Actor
Years active 1954–1993
Partner(s) Albert Williams (1986–1994; Sargent's death)

Richard Stanford Cox (April 19, 1930 – July 8, 1994), known professionally as Dick Sargent, was an American actor, notable as the second actor to portray Darrin Stephens on the ABC's fantasy situation comedy Bewitched. He took the name Dick Sargent from a Saturday Evening Post illustrator/artist of the same name.

Early life and career[edit]

Born Richard Stanford Cox in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, on April 19, 1930, to Ruth McNaughton, daughter of John McNaughton who founded Los Angeles' famed Union Stockyards. She appeared under the 'nom-de-arte' (stage name) of Ruth Powell, and had important supporting bit roles in such films as The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and Hearts and Trumps with the great Nazimova. Sargent's father, Colonel Elmer Cox, who served in World War I, later became a business manager to such Hollywood alumni as Douglas Fairbanks and Erich von Stroheim. Sargent attended the San Rafael Military Academy in Menlo Park, California before majoring in drama at Stanford University.

He had appeared in feature films following his debut in Prisoner of War (1954). He appeared in The Great Locomotive Chase (1956) starring Fess Parker. In the 1957 movie Bernardine, the little-known Sargent had his most important role to date, as lovesick teenager Sanford "Fofo" Wilson. The character was the main focus of the story, but Sargent's work was overshadowed by the presence of several famous names in the cast, including Hollywood legend Janet Gaynor, sitcom star Ronnie Burns and Pat Boone, who had just become a singing sensation and was making his film debut. (Two of the songs that Boone performed in "Bernardine" became No. 1 recordings.)

Sargent appeared in the 1959 feature film Operation Petticoat starring Cary Grant and The Ghost and Mr. Chicken starring Don Knotts in 1966. He was a regular on three short-lived television comedies, One Happy Family in 1961, Broadside in 1964, [1][2] and The Tammy Grimes Show, a four episode ABC flop in 1966. For three seasons, from 1969 to 1972, he played Darrin Stephens on Bewitched replacing ailing actor Dick York. His later movies included the crime drama Hardcore (1979) as Jake Van Dorn's straight-laced brother-in-law, Wes DeJong, and as Dr. Jameson in the sci-fi horror film Parts: The Clonus Horror (1979). He also played Sheriff Grady Byrd on two 1979–1980 season episodes of The Dukes of Hazzard.

Sargent continued to work in film roles such as playing Harry in Live a Little, Love a Little (1968) starring opposite Elvis Presley and Michele Carey and made numerous guest appearances on various television series such as Navy Log, The West Point Story, Ripcord, The Rat Patrol, I Dream of Jeannie, Hazel, Three's Company, The Waltons, Charlie's Angels, Knots Landing, Family Ties, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Adam-12, The Streets of San Francisco, Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law, Ellery Queen, The Tony Randall Show, The Devlin Connection, Baretta, Switch, The Six Million Dollar Man, Marcus Welby, M.D., Trapper John, M.D., Matt Houston, Alice, Taxi, Benson, Vega$, Diff'rent Strokes, Here's Lucy, Love American Style, The Yellow Rose, The Commish, Murder, She Wrote and L.A. Law. In 1990, he also portrayed himself on an episode of Columbo.[3] In the mid-1980s, he landed the steady role of Richard Preston, the widowed father, in the TBS sitcom Down to Earth. He also appeared in the fantasy comedy Teen Witch (1989).

Throughout the 1980s, he joined actress Sally Struthers as an advocate for Christian Children's Fund, which brought relief to developing nations' children.

Personal life[edit]

On National Coming Out Day in 1991, Sargent publicly declared his homosexuality and supported gay rights issues.[4] The high rate of suicide among young gay people was the main reason; he jokingly referring to himself as a "retroactive role model." Sargent recognized that his ill health from prostate cancer may have led people to assume he suffered from AIDS.[5] He lived with his domestic partner, Albert Williams, until his death.[6]

In June 1992, Sargent was a Grand Marshal of the Los Angeles Gay Pride parade along with Elizabeth Montgomery.[4]

Death[edit]

Sargent was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1989. Doctors were initially optimistic that it could be treated. However, the disease continued to spread and, by early 1994, he had become seriously ill.[7] Sargent died from the disease on July 8, 1994, at age 64.[6] His body was cremated.

Former Bewitched co-star Elizabeth Montgomery commented, "He was a great friend, and I will miss his love, his sense of humor and his remarkable courage."[5] Montgomery herself died of colon cancer a year later.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sargent Replaces Bewitched Costar". Los Angeles Times. January 31, 1969. p. G14. (Subscription required (help)). 
  2. ^ Keehnen, Owen. "Interview with Dick Sargent, 1992". Chicago Outlines. Retrieved August 16, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Columbo: Uneasy Lies the Crown: Cast and Crew". TV.com. Retrieved April 27, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c "Elizabeth Montgomery Dies Of Cancer". The Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. May 19, 1995. Retrieved May 16, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Actor Dick Sargent, Long-Suffering Husband On Television's 'Bewitched'". The Seattle Times. July 9, 1994. Retrieved September 26, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Meyer, Jeff (July 8, 1994). "Bewitched Star Sargent Dead At 64". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved August 16, 2011. 
  7. ^ Brady, David E. (July 9, 1994). "Dick Sargent, 64; 'Bewitched' TV Actor". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 26, 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

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