“If you’re a young person who
grew up watching Bewitched as a little kid, it left a sweet
little flavor in your mouth,” York said. His Bewitched
stardom led to York’s guest appearance [tonight] on the summer series
for baby boomers Our Time (KNBC-Channel 4, at 8
York said the taping was “the most fun I’ve had
in a long time.” York also has appeared on an episode of Simon and
Simon and a couple of other shows in his determined, sometimes
frustrating quest to re-establish himself as an actor.
Acting was not something he wanted to do for a
long time, he said; his memories of Bewitched, of working
through searing back pain and eventually paying the price for it, were
He also weighed more than 300 pounds. But
through an act of will and the Air Force diet, York conquered that
obstacle of flesh.
“One day you look at yourself and say, hey, you
want to go back into show business,” York said. “I lost all interest in
food, because food was just uninteresting. It’s a frame of mind.”
He may have been a tad too zealous, for now
York is gaunt. “I’m a guy who looks on the verge of death. If they ever
do the John Carradine story, I’m ready for it,” York joked. “People are
going to have to get used to the fact that that young flashy kid is an
old character actor now.”
Other things about York haven’t changed. He
still has the same distinctive, lively voice, the same large, brown,
soulful eyes, and the same preoccupation with the philosophical and
religious undercurrents of life that often irritated less spiritual
That voice was his first ticket out of the
Chicago slums where his parents toiled to survive and maintain dignity
during the Depression. Luckily for York, Chicago was the early
headquarters for radio broadcasts, and he landed high-profile roles,
including that of Billy Fairfield, the best friend of Jack Armstrong,
the All-American Boy.
When radio moved to New York City, York did,
too. More radio, television, and Broadway roles followed. He appeared
on live broadcasts such as Playhouse 90 and guested such
now-classic shows as Alfred Hitchcock and Twilight Zone.
On Broadway his supporting role in Tea and
Sympathy garnered a Drama Critics Award nomination. He appeared in
the classic Inherit the Wind film with Spencer Tracy.
It was earlier, during filming of 1959’s They
Came to Cordura with Gary Cooper and Rita Hayworth, that York
sustained the injury that later brought his career to a halt. He “tore
all the muscles loose from my spine,” he said. But he was “bulletproof
and young” and the injury seemed a minor annoyance in a rising career.