Richard Stanford Cox
April 19, 1930
|Died||July 8, 1994 (aged 64)|
|Other names||Richard Sargent, Richard Cox, Dick Cox|
|Unknown (? - 1979; his death) Albert Williams (1986-1994; Sargent's death)|
Richard Stanford Cox (April 19, 1930 - July 8, 1994), known professionally as Dick Sargent, was an American actor, notable as the second actor to portray Darrin Stephens on ABC's fantasy situation comedy Bewitched. He took the name Dick Sargent from a Saturday Evening Post illustrator/artist of the same name.
Sargent was born Richard Stanford Cox in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, on April 19, 1930, to Ruth McNaughton, daughter of John McNaughton (who founded Los Angeles's famed Union Stockyards). She appeared under the 'nom-de-arte' (stage name) of Ruth Powell, and had important supporting bit roles in such films as The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and Hearts and Trumps with the great Nazimova. Sargent's father, Colonel Elmer Cox, who served in World War I, later became a business manager to such Hollywood alumni as Douglas Fairbanks and Erich von Stroheim. Sargent attended the San Rafael Military Academy in Menlo Park, California before majoring in drama at Stanford University.
Sargent appeared in feature films following his debut in Prisoner of War (1954). He appeared in The Great Locomotive Chase (1956) starring Fess Parker. In the 1957 movie Bernardine, the little-known Sargent had his most important role to date, as lovesick teenager Sanford "Fofo" Wilson. The character was the main focus of the story, but Sargent's work was overshadowed by the presence of several famous names in the cast, including Hollywood legend Janet Gaynor, sitcom star Ronnie Burns and Pat Boone, who had just become a singing sensation and was making his film debut.
Sargent appeared in the 1959 feature film Operation Petticoat starring Cary Grant and The Ghost and Mr. Chicken starring Don Knotts in 1966. He was a regular on three short-lived television comedies, One Happy Family in 1961, Broadside in 1964, and The Tammy Grimes Show, a four episode ABC flop in 1966. For three seasons, from 1969 to 1972, he played Darrin Stephens on Bewitched, replacing ailing actor Dick York. His later movies included the crime drama Hardcore (1979) as Jake Van Dorn's strait-laced brother-in-law, Wes DeJong, and as Dr. Jameson in the sci-fi horror film Parts: The Clonus Horror (1979). He also played Sheriff Grady Byrd on two 1979-1980 season episodes of The Dukes of Hazzard.
Sargent continued to work in film. He played Harry in Live a Little, Love a Little (1968) opposite Elvis Presley and Michele Carey and made guest appearances on television series such as Navy Log, The West Point Story, Medic, Code 3, Ripcord, Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, The Alaskans, Ozzie and Harriet, The Rat Patrol, I Dream of Jeannie, Hazel, Dr. Kildare, Daniel Boone, Kraft Mystery Theater, Three's Company, The Waltons, Charlie's Angels, Knots Landing, Family Ties, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Adam-12, The Streets of San Francisco, Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law, Ellery Queen, The Tony Randall Show, The Devlin Connection, Baretta, Switch, The Six Million Dollar Man, Marcus Welby, M.D., Trapper John, M.D., Matt Houston, Alice, Taxi, Benson, Vega$, Diff'rent Strokes, Here's Lucy, Love American Style, The Yellow Rose, The Commish, Finder of Lost Loves, Murder, She Wrote. L.A. Law and Harry and the Hendersons. In 1990, he also portrayed himself on an episode of Columbo. In the mid-1980s, he landed the steady role of Richard Preston, the widowed father, in the TBS sitcom Down to Earth. He also appeared in the fantasy comedy Teen Witch (1989).
On National Coming Out Day in 1991, Sargent publicly declared his homosexuality and supported gay rights issues. The high rate of suicide among young gay people was the main reason; he jokingly referred to himself as a "retroactive role model." Sargent recognised that his ill health from prostate cancer may have led people to assume he suffered from AIDS.
Sargent had a long-time companion with whom he lived for over 20 years, before the unidentified man died from a cerebral haemorrhage in 1979.  He later lived with his domestic partner, Albert Williams, until his death.
Sargent was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1989. Doctors were initially optimistic that it could be treated. However, the disease continued to spread and, by early 1994, he had become seriously ill. Sargent died from the disease on July 8, 1994, at age 64. His body was cremated.
Former Bewitched co-star Elizabeth Montgomery commented, "He was a great friend, and I will miss his love, his sense of humor and his remarkable courage." Montgomery herself died of colon cancer less than a year later.