Who was Irene Vernon?
Irene Vernon was an American actress who was best known for playing Louise Tate, the wife of Larry Tate, on the hit TV series Bewitched from 1964 to 1966. She was born as Irene Vergauwen on January 16, 1922, in Mishawaka, Indiana. She moved to New York to pursue an acting career after graduating from high school. She appeared in several movies and TV shows in the 1940s and 1950s, such as The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Pirate, A Song Is Born, The Sound of Fury, The Lone Ranger, and The Donna Reed Show. She also performed on Broadway in The Lady in Ermine.
Why did she leave Bewitched?
Vernon was cast as Louise Tate, the sophisticated and supportive friend of Samantha Stephens, the witch protagonist of Bewitched, in 1964. She played the role for two seasons, until she was fired in 1966. According to IMDb, the official reason given was that Vernon’s husband was ill and she wanted to spend more time with him. However, some sources claim that the real reason was that Vernon was close friends with Danny Arnold, the writer and producer of Bewitched, who had just quit the show due to creative differences with Elizabeth Montgomery and William Asher, the star and director of the show, respectively. Vernon was allegedly pressured to leave the show by Montgomery and Asher, who wanted to replace her with someone more loyal to them. The role of Louise Tate was then taken over by Kasey Rogers, who played it until the end of the series in 1972.
How did she die?
Irene Vernon died on April 21, 1998, in South Bend, Indiana, at the age of 76. According to Wikipedia, her death certificate indicated that she died from congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease. She was survived by her second husband, Emanuel Rosenberg, whom she married in 1993. Her first husband, Edward Duryea Dowling, a director of musical shows, died in 1987. She was buried at Saint Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Mishawaka, Indiana.
What is her legacy?
Irene Vernon is remembered by many fans of Bewitched as the original and beloved Louise Tate, who added charm and humor to the show. She was also a talented and versatile actress who had a long and varied career in film, TV, and theater. She was one of the pioneers of women in comedy, who paved the way for future generations of female comedians. She is also honored by her hometown of Mishawaka, Indiana, where a park was named after her in 2008.