Remember little Tabitha Stephens from Bewitched, the popular series of the 1960s and 1970s? Samantha’s daughter arrived in the second season of the show, which followed a witch who marries an unsuspecting normal, everyday mortal and keeps using her magic without his knowledge (and later against his protests). Tabitha’s first appearance in the episode "And Then There Were Three" was a pivotal turning point in the series (marking the first time Darrin embraced his mother-in-law as well as the first time he met Samantha’s lookalike cousin).
Tabitha was thereafter a main character with her own plot-driven episodes, all the way to the last season in 1972. But what happened to the girl best-known for playing Tabitha in 103 of the episodes? Buckle up — here’s what little Tabitha Stephens, known in real life as Erin Murphy, looks like and is up to now.
A bewitching early life as Tabitha Stephens
Erin Murphy was born in Encino, Calif. in 1964, and she landed quickly in the spotlight. As an infant, Murphy booked a gig in a Folgers coffee commercial and did a laundry detergent commercial with Ronald Reagan. But Murphy was meant for more than commercials.
When she was 2 years old, she and her fraternal twin, Diane, got the role of Tabitha Stephens. Even though Erin Murphy shared the part at first, it was her who was used for all of the close-ups while her sister was used for cutaway shots. "From the time I was a baby, I love it," Murphy told ABC News. Noting her sister would cry on set, she shared, "I liked the lights and loved being on my set."
As the girls got older and started looking less alike, Murphy was the obvious choice to keep the character going. Because she was with the show for so many seasons, the cast became like a second family for her. She told ABC News, "I always called her ‘Mantha Mommy, because I couldn’t say Samantha, and I called Dick Sargent, Darren Daddy. … They really were like parents to me."
She kept busy after playing Tabitha Stephens on Bewitched
When Bewitched ended and its final episode aired on March 25, 1972, Murphy wasn’t yet 9 years old. While most kids that age don’t know what it’s like to have a job, much less be out of one, Murphy was the perfect age to take on new work. In 1973, she made a guest appearance as Molly Craig on the Season 19 episode of Lassie called "The Visitor" and then quickly made her way back to more commercials. In an interview with Life After 50 magazine, Murphy said, "I did over 80 commercials up until I was in junior high. By then, I kind of lost interest, because I was into things like cheerleading and school activities." In the photo above, Murphy can be seen in one of her many commercials, this one for Barbie.
Just your "normal" teenager
Erin Murphy attended El Toro High School in Lake Forest, Calif., as reported by The Tolucan Times, and she’s insisted that her high school experience was relatively normal. However, she’s acknowledged that what she calls normal might be just a little bit different from what other people call normal. Strictly from the outside, though, it does seem pretty normal, full of accomplishments and activities.
Not only was the real-life Tabitha Stephens a cheerleader (good thing since that’s one of the things she gave up acting in commercials for), she was also in her high school dance production and was crowned Homecoming Queen. Murphy graduated from El Toro in 1981, but, according to all the odd jobs she did afterwards, it’d seems she wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do next.
She had a lot of odd jobs
For someone with as many talents as Erin Murphy, it should come as no surprise that she was able to take on a variety of odd jobs, from selling cosmetics at the Mission Viejo Mall to working as a makeup artist, and, according to her Facebook page, earning experience as a casting director, fashion stylist, acting teacher, Karaoke club hostess (yes, really!), and motivational speaker.
"I’m a big believer that life is short and you’ve got to throw yourself into it," Murphy told The Tolucan Times. "It’s a good thing to push yourself and maybe do things that are a little scary. It keeps life interesting."
Still, working in retail and behind the camera apparently wasn’t what Murphy was meant to do, and, soon enough, she found herself back in front of the camera and back inside our living rooms on TV. She worked not only as a stunt double for Virginia Madsen, but she eventually landed her very own role.
She was a reality TV correspondent
Reality TV seems like a rite of passage, not only for former child stars but for just about everyone. Erin Murphy was no exception. She got her first taste of reality TV as a correspondent for Fox Reality Channel and told Life After 50 magazine that it was a good fit for her at the time. "I had worked with Fox Reality Channel and loved it," she said. "With Fox, I could make lunches and take my kids to school, work for a few hours, and still be home before school let out." While Murphy said in the same interview that her true acting interests, should she act again, lie in the sitcom realm, she first spent more time in the reality TV realm.
She was a wrestler (sort of)
In 2008, Erin Murphy appeared on Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling, competing alongside stars like famed basketball player Dennis Rodman, Saved by the Bell‘s Dustin Diamond, pop singer Tiffany, and The Partridge Family actor Danny Bonaduce, as announced by CMT. But if you can’t imagine Bewitched’s little Tabitha Stephens as a wrestler, that’s okay. Neither could Murphy, who was ultimately the third to be eliminated. "I had never even watched wrestling before I did the wrestling show," she told The Tolucan Times. "It was scary and wonderful and awful and kind of everything you would imagine and I’m really glad I did it."
To The Tolucan Times, Murphy revealed that she created an identity for herself in the ring. "I even came up with my own wrestling persona," she shared. "I was the Mistress of Mayhem, otherwise known as M.O.M."
She got glammed up by drag queens
In 2010, Erin Murphy appeared as a contestant on another reality TV show — RuPaul’s Drag U. She revealed the experience even educated her a bit. "You kind of go in there and it’s all for good fun, but I have to say a lot of the drag tricks translate well to the red carpet, so I kind of got some posing pointers," she told Socialite Life. So, why did Murphy make the shift to reality TV? She went on to tell Socialite Life that it’s about her kids.
"I think the biggest influence having a big family has had on my career is that it’s made me rethink my job choices," she said. "I can’t do a sitcom or an hour-long drama — which is something I would be typically drawn to — but I’m not willing to be away from the family 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. I’ve made different career choices because I’m a mom." She added, "I mean, I love the reality genre and I love hosting but I don’t know that I would do as much of it if I didn’t have kids. I think I’d be on a sitcom."
She owns a company
With her children in school and doing a sitcom not really an option at the time, Erin Murphy wasn’t content to just sit at home. According to Murphy’s feature in Life After 50 magazine, she filled this void by helping to start a company. She is the co-owner of Slim Chillers, which makes low-calorie vodka popsicles. (Um, yum!)
"We started the company two years ago and are in many retailers including BevMo, and we also have an online store," she said. "Our signature products are four frozen pops that are flavored as an Appletini, a Cosmopolitan, a Lemon Drop, and a watermelon lemonade Martini." She’s also the spokesperson for the company, which makes a lot of sense given her celeb status. So, if you ever think you see her face on a truck, you might not be wrong.
She does theater
If there’s one thing Erin Murphy said she’d never ever do, it was theater. But as the saying goes, never say never. In 2016, the actress once known for her role as Tabitha Stephens on Bewitched told the Windy City Times, "In the last two years I decided to act again so I started doing local LA theater." By her own account, she started her fourth play in 2016 called "Dead Pilots Society" about TV comedy pilots that "never got air."
It may seem like Murphy will do just about anything, but she does draw the line. She told the Windy City Times, "I say no to many things. I never did horror films or Playboy but was asked many times."
She does a lot of charity events
For Erin Murphy, it isn’t all just about being in front of the camera or up on stage. According to A&U magazine, Murphy has been an AIDS activist for many years, volunteering, fundraising, and participating in events. Not only is she an AIDS activist, but she also delivers meals through Meals on Wheels, has raised money after Hurricane Katrina, has spoken out against bullying, is a Childhelp Celebrity Ambassador, and has raised money for cancer patients, as well as supporting many other very worthy causes. If only all celebrities — former child stars or otherwise — could spend as much time supporting charitable causes, the world would be much better off.
She’s an autism advocate
Erin Murphy is the mother of six children, one of whom was diagnosed with autism. Since then, she’s become even more involved in organizations, specifically those regarding in autism awareness. She’s done walks for autism, has done a PSA on behalf of Actors for Autism, and has been involved in a number of events and fundraisers. "I was involved with autism charities before Parker was born and then obviously once he was diagnosed, I put that as my focus," she told Fox News. "I go to board meetings, I volunteer. I speak at events. I think it’s important to be there for other parents who have questions. It’s one of those disorders that have become so prevalent."
She’s worked as an alpaca rancher
Don’t let the title fool you. Though Bewitched actress Erin Murphy has always wanted to be a rancher, the reason she became one was because it was yet another way to give back, which seems to be her modus operandi. "Our family first got involved with alpacas as a form of pet therapy for our little boy with autism," she said on her blog in 2012. "As parents of a child with special needs, we were also thinking of a long term career option for our son, since animals are his greatest love."
Her alpaca ranch called Tranquil Veranda Ranch seems to have been sold, according to Variety. The publication reported that the ranch was sold for $1.35 million in 2017. Still, there’s no doubt she was able to help people with her vision along the way.
She launched a Kickstarter for a clothing brand
If you were wondering what Erin Murphy did with all the fiber from her alpacas (No, just us?), well, she used it for good. In 2012, she launched a Kickstarter for Erin Murphy Knits, a company through which she planned to provide knitwear using the fiber from her alpacas. Murphy wrote on Kickstarter, "I was looking for a business that was kid-friendly & eco-friendly, utilized 100% renewable resources and would help support the local economy. This led me to alpacas."
The campaign, which was meant to help her launch a winter collection, was fully funded. A Kickstarter updateposted in November 2012 suggested that some items were shipped while she was working on the rest of the ordered products. While it appears that Erin Murphy Knits may now be defunct (or, at least, hasn’t had any updates in a while), we can’t help but admire Murphy’s willingness to give back in any way she can.
You may be seeing more of her on screen soon
Now that some of Erin Murphy’s sons are fully grown and the others are no longer small children, it may just be time for her to get back to her passion for acting. She was part of a 2017 short called I Might Be Famous, in which she played the character Erin alongside the main character Tabitha Briarwood who, according to IMDb, "discovers that she’s no longer famous, which begins her outrageous journey to become a celebrity again."
Also in 2017, she starred in the television movie Life Interrupted, in which she played Nina Woodworth, the woman for whom main character Mason’s wife Ally leaves him. While the TV movie didn’t garner much buzz, the project, along with Murphy’s 2017 short, might signal her return to acting which we’ve all been waiting for.
Regardless of whether the actress known for her role as Tabitha Stephens on Bewitched becomes a full-fledged sitcom star again, we’re certain to see her doing something in the near future. "I don’t ever want to be complacent," she told ABC News. We can’t wait to see what she has up her sleeve next!