Francine York was a film and television actress that only ever performed minor roles in the media, but she always left a big impression! Some of Francine’s most memorable roles were the ones she performed on television in the 1960s. This included a stint on Batman, as well as a turn on Bewitched. Francine made a particularly strong impression on Bewitched, where she wore only an apron! Join Facts Verse as we explore how Francine York wore nothing but an apron for her Bewitched scene.
Francine York Shocked Bewitched’s Audience
There were numerous memorable episodes of the hit sitcom Bewitched, but one of the most memorable episodes is undeniably the one that featured Francine York. The episode was the fifth episode of the show’s eighth season, and it was called “Bewitched, Bothered, and Baldoni”. In the episode, Samantha and Darrin are visiting Rome. Darrin has work to do with his boss Larry Tate, but that doesn’t stop him and Samantha from doing a little sightseeing while they’re in the venerable Italian city. One of the things they decide to do while sightseeing in Rome is visit the National Museum.
While Samantha and Darrin are visiting the National Museum in Rome, they get a rude interruption from Samantha’s reliably meddlesome mother, Endora. Over the course of Bewitched, Endora had a habit of sticking her nose in where in didn’t belong. One thing Endora was always worrying about was whether or not Darrin was as faithful to her daughter as it always seemed he was. In “Bewitched, Bothered, and Baldoni”, Endora is particularly worried about Darrin’s fidelity because she feels that her daughter is no match for the bombshell Italian women that he is being confronted with during his trip to Rome. Endora is adamant about proving to her daughter that Darrin has wandering eyes, and so she performs a little magic trick.
At the National Museum, Endora finds a statue that’s meant to depict Venus, the Roman Goddess of Love. Endora uses her magic to turn the statue of life, and she then sets the now-human Venus on Darrin. Darrin may have no intention of being unfaithful to his supernatural wife, but that doesn’t stop him from falling under the spell of Venus’ otherworldly charm. In human form, Venus goes by the name of Vanessa. After she turns on the charm, Darrin invites the woman back to his and Samantha’s villa under the pretense that she can work as their maid. This comes in spite of the fact that the villa at which the couple is staying at is fully staffed.
Samantha Knew Vanessa Was Up to No Good
When Darrin brings Vanessa back to his and Samantha’s villa, Samantha can immediately sense that there’s foul play afoot. She knows that Vanessa has something to do with her mother, but she isn’t sure exactly what. She humors Darrin’s wishes to keep Vanessa on as a maid, understanding that whatever magic is messing with her husband’s head is beyond his control. However, she does continue to point out all of the ways in which Vanessa fails at her maid duties.
The most famous scene from “Bewitched, Bothered, and Baldoni” would be the scene wherein Samantha and Darrin call their new maid Vanessa into the room, and she’s wearing nothing but an apron! The two are certainly incredibly shocked to see the sight, and so was the television audience of the time! The scene still stands out as one of the sultriest moments from Bewitched’s run, if not one of the sultriest moments from any television series of the era. Samantha believes that the sight will prove to Darrin that Vanessa isn’t cut out to be a maid. Darrin chalks their new maid’s strange wardrobe choice up to experience, to which Samantha replies she’s “anything but inexperienced”.
Samantha eventually figures out what’s going on between Darrin, Endora, and Vanessa, and she manages to put a stop to the hijinks by the time of the episode’s end. Just a few months later, another eight-season Bewitched episode would feature a very similar plot. The next episode we’ll be talking about is the 12th episode of Bewitched eighth season, which was called “The Eight-Year Itch Witch”. Once again, Endora is worried that Darrin has wandering eyes when it comes to her daughter. In this episode, the worry stems from Endora finding a bunch of pictures of bikini-clad women in Darrin’s business briefcase. Given that Darrin is an advertising executive looking for a sexy new woman to work on a campaign, the presence of the pictures was innocent.
Darrin Was Later Seduced By Julie Newmar
In the episode, Darrin is looking for a beautiful model to play the part of a “Catwoman” for a new advertising campaign involving a tractor company by the name of “Tom Cat Tractor”. Catching wind of the fact that Darrin is looking for a woman with cat-like charms, Endora knows just to turn to. As a witch, Endora was a feline familiar. This feline familiar can also happen to transform into a human! The feline is named Ophelia, and none other than Batman’s Julie Newmar played her human form in the episode. Julie Newmar played Catwoman on the 1960s Batman series, making this Bewitched episode a perfect crossover between the shows.
Ophelia manages to secure the job of being Darrin’s new Catwoman without much fuss. However, getting the advertising executive to be unfaithful to his wife ends up being a completely different story. At Endora’s behest, Ophelia tries her absolute best to woo Darrin. After she secures herself the gig as Tom Cat Tractor’s Catwoman, she demands that Darrin accompany her on the trip where she’ll perform the part. Darrin agrees to go, as it’s important that the whole thing goes off without a hitch. However, Darrin has no idea that the real reason Ophelia is inviting him is because she wants to seduce him away from his wife.
As all this is going on, Darrin is trying his best to make it home from the trip on time so that he can have an anniversary dinner with Samantha. Ophelia tries everything she can to keep Darrin from going home, but Samantha ends up catching wind of what’s going on. Just like in the aforementioned episode with a similar plot, Samantha ends up turning the tables on her mother. The eighth season of Bewitched ended up being it’s last, and the show was relying pretty heavily on guest stars by it’s end. Francine York and Julie Newmar were two pretty faces that helped keep audiences tuned in, and Francine’s apron also didn’t hurt!
Francine York Had an Interesting Life
Francine York’s turn on Bewitched ended up being one of the most memorable roles of her career. However, there’s plenty more to the actress’s story. Francine was born in Minnesota in 1936. Her family moved to Cleveland while she was still young, and it was in Cleveland that Francine first became interested in the art. It was at the age of nine that Francine made her acting debut in a production of Cinderella that was being put on at her school. Francine played one of the evil stepsisters, named Griselda. Francine performed incredibly well in the role, and she allegedly told her parents immediately afterwards that she wanted to be an actress.
When Francine was 12 years old, her family moved back to Minnesota. As a teenager, Francine became increasingly involved in dramatic productions at school. She even wrote and directed her own school play during high school! Around the time of her coming of age, Francine performed well in a variety of local beauty pageants, increasing her confidence.
Francine’s success in the beauty-pageant circuit led to her securing some work as a model, and this is how she first ended up in California. The future star’s modeling work saw her arrive in San Francisco, where she also secured a gig as a showgirl at a popular nightclub. All the while, it was Francine’s ambition to become a Hollywood star. When she wasn’t performing on the stage as a showgirl or modeling in front of the camera, Francine was going to acting lessons. In the early 1960s, she appeared in a small film production. This production was called Secret File: Hollywood.
How Francine York Wound Up on Bewitched
After securing her first role in a small film production, Francine York caught her big break when comedic performer Jerry Lewis cast her to appear in the film It’s Only Money. Jerry enjoyed Francine’s performance in the film so much that he went on to cast her several more times in a variety of other features, including 1963’s The Nutty Professor. Around the same time, Francine also got to grace the screen alongside Marlon Brando in 1964’s Bedtime Story, as well as none other than Elvis Presley himself in 1965’s Tickle Me. In 1973, Francine appeared in a film called The Doll Squad. The film is considered a cult classic nowadays, and stands as the actress’s most memorable work on the big screen.
Though Francine York aimed to be a star on the silver screen, she ended up finding the majority of her success on television. Besides Batman and Bewitched, other notable television series that Francine showed up on during the height of her career include My Favorite Martian, Burke’s Law, Perry Mason, Lost in Space, Green Acres, The Wild Wild West, I Dream of Jeanie, Mission: Impossible, Kojak, Columbo, and Matlock. She also had a pretty big role on Days of Our Lives. Francine continued working up until her passing. In her later years, she appeared on television series such as The King of Queens. She also had a memorable role on the big screen in the new millennium, playing the mother of Nicholas Cage’s character in the movie The Family Man. Tragically, she passed away of cancer in 2017.
Though Francine York is no longer with us, she will always be remembered for her sultry appearance on Bewitched. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Francine York appeared almost naked in an episode of Bewitched, and that her appearance still wasn’t enough to convince Darrin to cheat on Samantha? Comment down below!