Agnes Moorehead

(1900 - 1974)

Studio Portrait
WebMania! Early Years and Education
Stage and Radio Career
Television Career
Film Career

Miss Morehead's Early Years and Education

Muskingum alumnus Agnes Moorehead achieved stardom in television, radio, motion pictures and the legitimate stage. She has been an Academy Award nominee five times and Emmy Award nominee four times in her role as the witch-mother-in-law, Endora, in the ScreenTV sit-com, "Bewitched". She won an Emmy for a guest appearance on the "Wild,Wild, West" show.

Miss Moorehead was born Born on December 6, 1900 in Clinton, Mass., the daughter of the Presbyterian Reverand and Mrs. John R. Moorehead. At an early age Agnes moved with her family to St. Louis, Missouri where she received her early schooling. At the age of 10 she spent her summers performing in the theater. She also worked acted in stage productions, danced with the St. Louis Municipal Opera Company for four years, and debuted as a radio singer on station KMOX.

Miss Moorehead earned a liberal arts degree from Muskingum College. young agnesShe performed in the College's Little Theater which still stands on Depot Street in the College's East campus.Little Theater She loved the area and later built a home in the nearby countryside. She went on to earn her Master's degree in English and public speaking at the University of Wisconsin and then to New York and earned a degree from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Miss Moorehead soon began appearing on Broadway and in radio roles, starring in hundreds of programs including "March of Time", "Cavalcade of America", and "Mayor of the Town". Her comedy show credits include the Fred Allen, Phil Baker, Bob Hope and Jack Benny Shows.

She became a co-founder and charter member of the famed Mercury Theater Players with Joseph Cotton and Orson Welles. Following the national panic over their infamous 1938 broadcast of "The War of the Worlds", the troup went to Hollywood. When Welles made his first film "Citizen Kane" in 1941, Agnes Moorehead made her screen debut as Kane's mother. This was followed by Well's "The Magnificent Ambersons", which brought her the New York Critics Award for 'Best Actress of the Year' and her first Academy Award nomination. From then on, she always worked, either acting or lecturing and teaching at universities. In her long career she made over 60 films and also received Oscar nominations for "Johnny Belinda", "Mrs. Parkington", "All That Heaven Allows", and "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte". Her acting skills have brought her kudos galore, including several honorary doctorates. She frequent served as a campus lecturer, taught drama at the University of Southern California and made "one woman show " concert appearances throughout the United States and abroad. With her film career in high gear, Ms. Moorehead moved to Hollywood. In 1948 she bought a luxurious Beverly Hills mansion, complete with fabulous gardens, swimming pool and extensive libraries. Soon after, she and her then husband Jack Lee, a TV-radio actor, adopted two year old son, Sean, Ms. Moorehead's only child. When her son remarked to her that he was not interested in a theatrical career, Agnes was delighted. She always felt that the theatrical life created terrible demands on the artist, making a satisfactory personal life difficult. An actress is always traveling, always working, and there just isn't enough time to make close friends or raise a family. Her marriage to Lee ended in divorce, as did her subsequent marriage to TV director Robert Gist. Mom & DaughterOften with her mother, she traveled the world and earned fame and fortune, yet she remained drawn to the rural Muskingum community and divided her time between her homes in Beverly Hills and the hills of Southeastern Ohio.

Miss Moorehead died from cancer in Rochester, Minnesota, on April 30, 1974. She was a brilliant, charming woman and an actress of uncommon talent who had achieved a truly exceptional and sustained career.

Miss Moorehead's Radio and Stage Career

With Charles Boyer, Sir Cedric Hardwicke and Charles Laughton, Miss Moorehead appeared in a concert recital of George Bernard Shaw's "Don Juan In Hell" in the United States and Europe.adAgnes Moorehead started her radio career in the mid '20s. One of her earlier appearances was with Orson Welles' Mercury Theater on the Air, OTR fans heard her voice in many shows, including the following: •The Shadow (Margo Lane) •Aldrich Family (Homer Brown's Mother) •Terry and the Pirates (The Dragon Lady) •Suspense (Mrs Smythe-Stevenson, in "Sorry, Wrong Number") •CBS Radio Mystery Theater (1st show). She was popular and was often used to endorse products. "I was in Jack Benny's first radio show," she recalls, and I was a foil for just about every comedian - Bob Hope, Bert Lahr, Ed Wynn, Fred Allen, Phil Baker, Joe Cook, Victor Moore, Bea Lillie, Milton Berle. In the 30's, she recalls fondly, her assignments were more varied. she shuttled from stints in comedy shows to Welles' "Mercury Theater" drama and to "March of Time" news recreations. "I did as many as six shows a day. Sometimes I'd be up at 7 and by noon., with repeats, I'd have done five."

Miss Moorehead's TV Career

Her many TV credits include guest roles on "Wagon Train", "Playhouse 90", "Shirley Temple Theater", "The Rebel", "Studio One", "Twilight Zone", "The Rifleman", and "Wild, Wild West". For the latter performance, she won a coveted TV Academy Emmy.TV castAlthough she tried not to accept the role, fans remember her most fondly as Endora, Samantha's mother, on "Bewitched". She preferred not to work on a regular series. She did the "Bewitched" pilot, after having rejected numerous comedy and drama series, because she felt the basic idea was so way-out it would never get on the air. Even today, there are legions of fans of the program which is still in sindication. Magnificent AmbersonsIn 1969, having played the sophisticated mother witch Endora on the TV show "Bewitched" for several years, she was invited by NASA to participate in the launching of Apollo 12, on its way to the moon. Her TV character often visited the moon and her popularity led to the invitation. Also, fellow Muskingum Alumnus John Glenn shared and kindled an interest in space exploration (They served together on the College Board of Trustees and Glenn still is an active participant).

Miss Moorehead's Film Career

Miss Moorehead's created a unique body of work in film that include some of the greatest ever made. And, she successfully maintained an active career throughout her life, a feat that only some men and very few women actors achieve. Her "star" is included in the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame and is shown below. Among her 60 movies, the most notable include:

*** CHARLOTTE'S WEB, 1973 *** *** DEAR, DEAD DELILAH, 1972 *** *** WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH HELEN?, 1971 *** ***THE SINGING NUN, 1966 *** *** HUSH ... HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE, 1964 *** *** HOW THE WEST WAS WON, 1963 *** *** WHO'S MINDING THE STORE?, 1963 *** *** JESSICA, 1962 *** *** BACHELOR IN PARADISE, 1961 *** *** TWENTY PLUS TWO, 1961 *** *** POLLYANNA, 1960 *** *** BAT, THE, 1959 *** *** NIGHT OF THE QUARTER MOON, 1959 *** *** TEMPEST, 1959 *** *** JEANNE EAGELS, 1957 *** *** RAINTREE COUNTY, 1957 *** ***THE STORY OF MANKIND, 1957 *** ***THE TRUE STORY OF JESSE JAMES, 1957 *** *** CONQUEROR, THE, 1956 *** *** MEET ME IN LAS VEGAS, 1956 *** *** THE OPPOSITE SEX, 1956 *** *** PARDNERS, 1956Walk of FameTHE REVOLT OF MAMIE STOVER, 1956 *** *** THE SWAN, 1956 *** *** ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS, 1955 *** ***THE LEFT HAND OF GOD, 1955 *** *** UNTAMED, 1955 *** *** MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION, 1954 *** *** MAIN STREET TO BROADWAY, 1953 *** *** SCANDAL AT SCOURIE, 1953 *** *** STORY OF THREE LOVES, THE, 1953 *** *** THOSE REDHEADS FROM SEATTLE, 1953 *** *** THE BLAZING FOREST, 1952 *** *** ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN FABIAN, 1951 *** ***THE BLUE VEIL, 1951 *** *** FOURTEEN HOURS, 1951 *** *** SHOW BOAT, 1951 *** *** CAGED, 1950 *** *** CAPTAIN BLACK JACK, 1950 *** *** GREAT SINNER, THE, 1949 *** ***THE STRATTON STORY, 1949 *** *** WITHOUT HONOR, 1949 *** *** JOHNNY BELINDA, 1948 *** *** STATION WEST, 1948 *** *** SUMMER HOLIDAY, 1948 *** *** THE WOMAN IN WHITE, 1948 *** *** DARK PASSAGE, 1947 *** ***THE LOST MOMENT, 1947 *** *** HER HIGHNESS AND THE BELLBOY, 1945 *** *** KEEP YOUR POWDER DRY, 1945 *** *** OUR VINES HAVE TENDER GRAPES, 1945 *** *** DRAGON SEED, 1944 *** *** JANE EYRE, 1944 *** *** MRS. PARKINGTON, 1944 *** ***THE SEVENTH CROSS, 1944 *** *** SINCE YOU WENT AWAY, 1944 *** *** TOMORROW THE WORLD, 1944 *** *** GOVERNMENT GIRL, 1943 *** ***THE YOUNGEST PROFESSION, 1943 *** ***THE BIG STREET, 1942 *** *** JOURNEY INTO FEAR, 1942 *** ***THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS,1942 *** *** CITIZEN KANE, 1941 ***

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