Actress Erin Murphy shares her thoughts on everything from beauty & fashion to alpaca ranching!
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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.