David White is a name that may not be familiar to many, but to fans of the classic TV show “Bewitched,” he is known as Larry Tate, the often exasperated boss of Darrin Stephens. While White’s portrayal of the character is well remembered, there is a darker side to his life that many are unaware of.
Born in 1916 in Denver, Colorado, White’s early years were spent studying acting and performing in theater productions. He eventually made his way to New York City and found success on Broadway, appearing in several plays and musicals throughout the 1940s and 1950s.
White’s first major break in television came in 1953, when he landed a recurring role on the popular show “The Guiding Light.” He would go on to appear in several other TV shows and movies throughout the 1950s and 1960s, but it was his role as Larry Tate that would make him a household name.
“Bewitched” aired from 1964 to 1972 and followed the story of a witch named Samantha who tries to live a normal life with her mortal husband Darrin. White’s character, Larry Tate, was Darrin’s boss and the head of an advertising agency. He was often portrayed as a bumbling, yet lovable character who provided comic relief on the show.
However, behind the scenes, White’s life was not as cheerful. In 1962, his wife Mary Welch White died suddenly of a heart attack, leaving him to raise their two children alone. White struggled to cope with the loss and turned to alcohol to ease his pain. His drinking problem began to affect his work on “Bewitched,” and his behavior on set became erratic.
White’s struggles with alcoholism eventually led to his departure from “Bewitched” in 1969, and he was replaced by another actor for the final season of the show. He continued to work in Hollywood, but his career never quite recovered from his personal issues.
In 1988, at the age of 72, White died of a heart attack in North Hollywood, California. He had been sober for several years leading up to his death, but the damage done by his alcoholism had already taken its toll on his health.
Despite the struggles he faced in his personal life, David White’s portrayal of Larry Tate remains a beloved part of television history. He brought humor and heart to the role, and his chemistry with co-star Dick Sargent (who played Darrin in the later seasons of the show) was a highlight of the series.
While White’s life may have been overshadowed by his battles with addiction, his legacy as an actor and performer lives on. His contributions to “Bewitched” and other TV shows of his era are still enjoyed by fans today, and his talent and dedication to his craft are a testament to his lasting impact on the entertainment industry.