Erin Murphy was Tabitha from “Bewitched” – But… Did You know that She was a Twin?
If you remember the sitcom, Bewitched, you know that Samantha was a (good) Witch and had swept Darrin off his feet. They soon fell in love and married. Soon after, Darrin realized that his new bride was a Witch with powers he couldn’t possibly conceive of. Darrin was married for better or for worse, so he ultimately accepted that his wife had magic powers, although he wasn’t happy about it. Samantha had given her “witches honor” that she would not use her powers from then on. Unbeknownst to Darrin, she genuinely meant it when she promised, but as we all know, rules were made to be broken.
You must also surely remember that cute, little, blond-haired girl that portrayed, Tabitha, the daughter of Darrin and Samantha Stephens. When Samantha became pregnant with their first child, Darrin hoped against hope that his child would be a mortal. Much to his dismay, after Tabitha was born, the couple discovered that she had been born with the gift of magic. The story played out from there.
The character of Tabitha was actually portrayed by twin girls, Erin and Diane Murphy. The girls were only 2 years old when they joined the show. Because of child labor laws at the time, the Murphy twins switched off playing Tabitha because of the amount of time a child was permitted to spend on camera. Although the girls were fraternal twins, they were hard to tell apart early on.
As the series continued and the girls got a little older, Erin Murphy eventually got the role all to herself. She was a natural and it was apparent that she loved being on the set. Her sister, Diane… not so much. Diane was very unhappy in the spotlight and often cried onset. Even now, she doesn’t like the limelight. The rest is television history.
Many child actors have been known to fall victim to the downside of stardom; often getting caught up in inappropriate behavior that landed them in trouble. Unlike other child actors, Erin Murphy counted herself lucky to have played a role on the popular television show. Murphy felt as if she had the best of both worlds. Some child actors, and children, in general, were lucky if they had one or two parents to look after their well-being. Murphy counted her biological parents as well as her television parents among those who loved and cared for her. That is 4 parents in all!
Murphy regarded Darrin and Samantha as surrogate parents. She loved the limelight and recalls the television set to have been, “a great place to grow up.” She called Elizabeth Montgomery, “Mantha Mommy” and both Darrins (Dick York and Dick Sargent), “Darren Daddy”. Murphy definitely loved them all and thought of them as parents.
Erin Murphy was very close to Elizabeth Montgomery. She surmises that it was because Montgomery was so nurturing and that they spent so much time together, on set. Make no mistake, though, Murphy was close with her biological (real) parents as well.
The Bewitched sitcom aired from 1964 to 1972. After the popular show ended, Erin Murphy continued with her acting career in various gigs including commercials and modeling jobs. She was offered many jobs that she turned down. Ultimately, Murphy resolved herself to be the girl next door and enjoyed what she described as a normal childhood. She eventually became a cheerleader and homecoming queen of her local high school.
Erin Murphy considers herself among those who are fortunate. She enjoyed what she called, “the best of both worlds.” She loves her life now and enjoys being a mother, charity volunteer and activist. Don’t worry about Tabitha… she is just fine!
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