Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA
Place of Death
Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
Cause of Death
Claim to Fame
Darrin Stephens #1 on Bewitched
Brown - Light
Profile Bio Text
Richard Allen York (September 4, 1928 – February 20, 1992) was an American actor in radio, Broadway stage, and television. Born Richard Allen York in Fort Wayne, Indiana, York grew up in Chicago, where a Catholic nun first recognized his vocal promise. He began his career at age 15 as the star of the CBS radio program That Brewster Boy. He also appeared in hundreds of other radio shows and instructional films before heading to New York City, where he acted on Broadway in Tea and Sympathy and Bus Stop. He performed with stars including Paul Muni and Joanne Woodward in live television broadcasts and with Janet Leigh, Jack Lemmon, and Gary Cooper in movies, including My Sister Eileen, Cowboy, and They Came to Cordura. He played the role of Bertram Cates (John Scopes), the young teacher charged with teaching the theory of evolution, in the 1960 classic Inherit the Wind starring Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, and Gene Kelly. He went on to star with Kelly as Tom Colwell in the ABC television comedy/drama Going My Way, and to appear in dozens of episodes of now-classic TV shows, including Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Wagon Train, The Twilight Zone, and Route 66. York is best known as the first actor to play Darrin Stephens in the 1960s sitcom Bewitched. The show was a huge success and York was nominated for an Emmy in 1968, but a debilitating back injury he had suffered on the set of They Came to Cordura caused him increasing pain. In some of his final episodes on the show, the script was written around his being in bed or on the couch for the entire episode because of his real-life back problems. During the fifth season on the sitcom, he collapsed on the Bewitched set and was rushed to a hospital. From his hospital bed, he resigned from the show to devote himself to recovery. For the 1969-70 season, he was replaced in the TV series by actor Dick Sargent, who held the role until the series ended in 1972.
Largely bedridden, York battled not only his back pain but an addiction to prescription pain pills. In his memoir, The Seesaw Girl and Me, published posthumously, he describes the struggle to break his addiction and to come to grips with the loss of his career. The book is in large part a love letter to his wife, Joan, the seesaw girl of the title, who stuck with him through the hard times. York eventually beat his addiction and tried to revive his career. He appeared on several prime-time TV shows including Simon and Simon and Fantasy Island. York, once a heavy smoker, spent his final years battling emphysema. While bedridden in his Rockford, Michigan home, he founded Acting for Life, a private charity to help the homeless and others in need. Using his telephone as his pulpit, York motivated politicians, business people, and regular people to contribute supplies and money. York is buried in Plainfield Cemetery in Rockford, Michigan.
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Full Name at Birth
Richard Allen York
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David White (actor)
Richard Allen "Dick" York (September 4, 1928 – February 20, 1992) was an American actor. He is best remembered for his role as the first Darrin Stephens on the ABC television fantasy sitcom Bewitched. His best known motion picture role was as teacher Bertram Cates in the 1960 film Inherit the Wind.
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