Actress Erin Murphy will always be remembered as Tabitha Stephens on the hit television show Bewitched. For all eight seasons, Murphy played the daughter of a witch, although she shared the role with her twin sister at the beginning.
Murphy has appeared in more than 100 commercials including a detergent commercial with President Ronald Reagan before he was in office. She did a sportscasting appearance in Chicago and has hosted many television shows on TVLand and E!
She appeared on RuPaul's Drag U, during which she was made into a drag queen. Also, Murphy has been a longtime friend to LGBT community.
Windy City talked to her about her new role as a lesbian at a recent red-carpet appearance in Los Angeles.
Windy City Times: Hi, Erin. I read you have been a gay supporter for a long time.
Erin Murphy: My whole life. Even in my 20s, I toured with the Village People. When Elizabeth Montgomery [who played Murphy's mother, Samantha, on Bewitched] passed away, she asked that her clothes be donated to AIDS healthcare here in L.A. I participated with her family to make sure that was done. We did a fashion show and all of her clothing was auction off with the proceeds going to that charity.
WCT: You were surrounded by gay people very young. Did you know Paul Lynde was gay?
EM: As a kid I didn't even know what sex was, so I had no idea. It was just something growing up that I was always open minded about. I have always thought that people should love who they love. I don't know if it is because I was exposed to so much on the set or because of where I grew up but it has always been something I have been comfortable with.
I know there is a big LGBT following for Bewitched, maybe because of the colorful and flamboyant characters. Samantha as a witch was living in the closet because she could not be who she truly was. That is the metaphor I always take from the show.
WCT: What memories do you have of the cast on Bewitched?
EM: So many memories. I started when I was one and a half but I stayed on until I was 8. The show was on for eight seasons. People say you have memories of things that are memorable when you are young. I remember when they walked on the moon. I was 5.
WCT: What about Agnes Moorehead?
EM: It is hard to say now but she was my favorite. She was like my grandma. She was wonderful, beautiful, and I loved her.
WCT: Are there any plans for more Bewitched?
EM: We talk about it all the time. Even when I was a teenager they talked about bringing me back in. Elizabeth Montgomery really didn't want to. We did some press. Dick Sargent [who played Darrin, Murphy's father, on the show] said he would do it and I did also but the scripts weren't that good. At the last minute we pulled out of it.
WCT: What did you work on after Bewitched?
EM: Lots of stuff. Right after Bewitched I kept doing commercials and things like Lassie, shows that were on back then. I took a break from Los Angeles and moved down to Orange County. I was trying to figure out as a teenager what I wanted to do as a career. Everything kept leading me back to entertainment. I worked as a casting director, as a stunt woman, and everything that would bring me back into acting.
WCT: How did the RuPaul's Drag U appearance happen?
EM: First of all, I love Ru, who I met years ago, way before RuPaul's Drag Race. I did a show in New York at the Limelight, it was a nightclub and they did a big, amazing, gay Halloween party around 1990 so I have always been exposed to drag queens. I have been a fan of RuPaul's since her show years ago.
With Drag U they were trying to get celebrities to do an episode. Shockingly everyone said no. They asked Erin Moran from Happy Days and had a wish board on the wall. It said, "Erin M." for Erin Moran but then someone said, "How about Erin Murphy?" Then there was a controversy with production explaining that I didn't need a makeover, so that was a good thing. When they asked me, out of the three, I was the only one that had seen every episode of Drag Race. Before Drag U there was Drag Race so I watched that. I told them I would do the show. They told me I would have to make my own clothes but I told them that I was in and they didn't need to say more!
It was during the time that Drag Race was airing and Pandora Boxxx had been eliminated. They let me choose my queen because I knew the show and I told them I wanted Pandora so that is why we were paired together.
It was the best experience and so much fun!
WCT: What are you working on now?
EM: I shot a pilot where I play a lesbian and an Upper East Side gallery owner. Alison Arngrim, who played Nellie on Little House on the Prairie, is my wife. She was married to a former kid actor named Mason Reese and they divorce because she met me. It's called Life Interrupted. It's a sitcom and cute. Michael Learned, from The Waltons, plays my mom.
I have a million other things. I have shot three different pilots. In the last two years I decided to act again so I started doing local LA theater.
I said yes to Life Interrupted to play a lesbian. I say no to many things. I never did horror films or Playboy but was asked many times.
WCT: Do you ever come to Chicago?
EM: I came to Chicago when the Bewitched movie came out. I did a promotion there. They had just put in the Bean statue. I did the Oprah Show and several talk shows there. It is one of my favorite cities!