December 6, 1900
Clinton, Massachusetts, United States
April 30, 1974
Rochester, Michigan, United States
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Best known for her role as Endora on the TV series "Bewitched" (ABC, 1964-1972), Agnes Moorehead had a career that spanned the mediums of stage, screen and radio. Born in Clinton, Massachusetts, her family relocated to St. Louis, Missouri when Moorehead was a child. During childhood Moorehead began to show a talent for mimicry and expressed a desire to become an actress. Moorehead graduated from Muskingum College in 1923, with a major in biology. During her time at college she appeared in several plays, after which she taught public school for 5 years and earned a master's in public speaking and English at University of Wisconsin-Madison. When her career began after a course of study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, things were shaky for a while. She struggled with unemployment until she got a start in radio, a medium where she excelled. She struggled to breakthrough in film, however, and spent years working in Orson Welles Mercury Players, and her film debut came in "Citizen Kane" (1941) when she played the mother of Welles's character. She appeared the following year in "The Magnificent Ambersons", and the following year in "Journey Into Fear" (1943). Moorehead went on to play significantly more noticeable roles in films like "The Big Street" (1942), "Mrs. Parkington" (1944) and "The Youngest Profession" (1944). Moorehead was soon under contract to MGM with an atypical clause stipulating that she appear in any radio projects that the studio was working on. Moorehead appeared in a number of television series throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s, but nothing resonated with audiences more than her portrayal of Endora, the witch mother of Elizabeth Montgomery's character Samantha. She was recognized for her work on the show a number of times but always claimed that she felt trapped by the role. Agnes Moorehead died in 1974 from uterine cancer in Rochester, Minnesota.