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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Rest in Peace William Asher, My Uncle Bill!

Yesterday morning I received a call from my dear friend Rebecca Asher. I was expecting her call, since I'd just contacted her about getting her dad the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Television Academy this year. Over the last 10 days, I'd had conversations with two of my friends at the Academy about honoring Bill & I was eternally optimistic that he'd somehow be able to attend. Sadly Rebecca's call was to tell me that her dad, my beloved Uncle Bill, had just passed away. The news wasn't entirely unexpected, he was 90 years old and had been extremely ill for well over a year. My emotions were raw and overwhelming. It's nearly impossible to put into words the loss I feel for a man who changed my life so completely, a man I met when I was a baby and respected and loved like a parent. I think sometimes actors lose contact with coworkers and move on to the next show with simply a glance over their shoulder. That wasn't the case with my relationship with Bill Asher. In the eighties and nineties, I went to pool parties and barbecues at his Malibu beach house. We had talks about him creating a remake television series of the film Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, with his wife Joyce Bulifant playing my mom. We also met several times at hs office with photographers and illustrators since he wanted to create an animated/ live action Bewitched series with me. I thought the idea was silly, but I gladly would have done it for him. Over one lunch, I mentioned that I'd just gone to Magic Mountain with his sons Billy & John. His face lit up, 'Are you and Billy an item? I'd love that!' no offense to Billy, whom I adore, but my response was , 'NO! EWWWW! He's like my brother!'. He gave me a hug and told me that I was already part of his family. Over the last ten years, Uncle Bill and I had the pleasure of seeing each other dozens of times, at events like the TVLand Awards and when Lizzie got her Star on the Walk of fame.
We both attended the Bewitched feature film premiere in New York and were on hand for the unveiling of TVLand's Bewitched statue in Salem. Darren and I drove out to the desert when he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Palm Springs Walk of Stars.
I was also there (pictured here with Rebecca and Billy Asher) when the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences honored him with his contribution to 50 years of television. In turn, he and his wife Meredith completely surprised me at an event where I was modelling the famous Joan Collins Playboy gown. One of the last conversations we had, Uncle Bill looked in my eyes and told me that he "knew I'd grow up to be a beauty and that I looked so much like 'his' Lizzie". As I drove home, I cried. Hollywod has lost a true Legend who will forever be remembered for his contributions to the entertainment world, including Bewitched, I Love Lucy, Gidget, The Patty Duke Show, etc. etc. I in turn feel like a sad little girl who lost my Uncle Bill; but feel very lucky to be part of his family.

11 comments:

Jeannette said...

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

alex said...

Erin, your tribute to Grandpa is beautiful. I know you meant a lot to him. xoxo alex.

alex said...

Erin, your tribute to Grandpa was beautiful. I know you meant so much to him. xoxo alex

Patty Joynes said...

My heart goes out to you and his family.

Patty Joynes said...

My heart goes out to you and his family.

Flavia said...

Nice homage, Erin! May he rest in peace, indeed! I admire the bonds you´ve kept with the Bewitched people over the years! I´m grateful for the opportunity of all updates, the good ones and the sad ones, like this!
May God comfort you and his family!
Best regards from a Brazilian fan, Flavia.

GaryB said...

A beautiful tribute to a wonderful man. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts Erin.

Tracy M. said...

I'm very sorry to hear of Mr. Asher's passing. He is a television legend. I have always wanted to have a chance to talk with Rebecca. I could talk to her for hours, I'm sure. How is she holding up? May she, Billy, Robert and you, Erin have peace during this difficult time. Thank you, Mr. Asher for all of your life's work. Television is better because you were a part of it!

Rose Camara said...

I am a Brazilian fan of the sitcom Bewitched, and also of I love Lucy I miss good shows television as was that .I hope God provide us someone as Mr. Bill Asher, and I'd like to say Lord thanks for had provide a man like he once in our lifes. Yes, although so far away from him, and of I didn't had knew him personaly, he interfered positively in my life.

Josie said...

What beautiful memories you shared! Thank you! My deepest condolences for your loss.

I have always been a huge fan of Bewitched, Elizabeth Montgomery, and the entire cast. May he rest in peace!

Glitter said...

I was a fan of Bewitched when it was first run and I remember seeing William Asher's name on the episodes. I'm glad he got to live a long life.