Character.

One of my favorite scenes in the later seasons of “Bewitched” takes place at the beginning of season seven.

During the hiatus between seasons six and seven, much of the “Bewitched” had burned down in a fire. Most everything had to be rebuilt, and to keep production moving, six or so shows were filmed on location in Salem, Mass. When the sets were rebuilt, a couple of teaser episodes were filmed on the new set, and these episodes centered around whether Darrin should accompany Samantha to Salem for the Witches’ Convention. Samantha’s decision enrages High Priestess Hepzibah, who pops in to create chaos for the Stephens.

Hepzibah was played by Jane Connell, a Broadway actress who had played a few other parts on the series over the years and also appeared here and there in television shows of the time. She also played Gooch in the 1974 film version of “Mame” starring Lucille Ball. I’ve always enjoyed the intensity Mrs. Connell uses to portray Hepzibah, and I was surprised to learn that she was only in her mid 40s when she played the role.

I found an interview with Jane Connell from 1985 on YouTube, and she’s definitely a character actress, looking and sounding like none of the roles she played on “Bewitched”. I enjoy these old interviews, and I enjoyed her look into Broadway and her role at the time in the mid 1980s.

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