Everyone knows the lovable and creepy cast of The Addams Family! The fictional family consists of Gomez and Morticia Addams, their children Wednesday and Pugsley, family members Uncle Fester and Grandmama, their butler Lurch, the disembodied hand Thing, and Gomez’s Cousin Itt. Wikipedia describes the family as a “satirical inversion of the ideal 20th-century American family: an odd wealthy aristocratic clan who delight in the macabre and are seemingly unaware, or do not care, that other people find them bizarre or frightening.”
The first adaptation of the family came in 1964 as a television series on ABC. From then on, the characters would go on to make animated appearances in shows like Scooby-Doo in the 1970s. It has also had several spinoffs including Halloween with the New Addams Family in 1977 and The New Addams Family in 1998.
Carolyn Jones – Morticia Addams
Morticia Addams, the matriarch of the family, is played by Carolyn Jones. This was undoubtedly her biggest role and would go on to take sporadic roles throughout the ’70s that were far less notable. Her chemistry with Gomez was infectious and set the mood for the entire show. Carolyn Jones as a child suffered from severe asthma that restricted her activities, she became an avid reader of Hollywood magazines and aspired to become an actress. Her first notable role was 1953’s House of Wax. That same year she married aspiring filmmaker Aaron Spelling, who helped develop Charlie’s Angels & Dynasty, among many. And, if you’re a fan of those, we have deep-dive videos to check out! She and Spelling would stay married for 11 years.
In 1958, Jones received an Oscar nomination for her work in The Bachelor Party. In 1964, using a long coal-black wig made of real hair, she became Morticia. It took Jones 2 hours of make-up to complete the look. When the show was canceled, the producers gifted her with Morticia’s oval-backed wicker chair, Jones kept it in her bedroom for the rest of her life. Following the Addams Family, Morticia, sorry, Carolyn became Marsha, Queen of Diamonds in Adam West’s Batman.
In 1981, Jones landed the power-driven matriarch Myrna Clegg in the CBS daytime soap Capitol. Shortly after Capitol debuted, she was diagnosed with cancer, and played many of her scenes in a wheelchair. Jones sadly died in 1983 after a battle with colon cancer, but will always be remembered as the Great Morticia!
John Astin – Gomez Addams
Gomez Addams would be played by John Astin. He would also reprise the role in future spinoffs, including the animated series of the show. Some of his other notable projects include West Side Story (1961), Freaky Friday (1976), and National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985). You might also remember John as Lt. Cmdr. Sherman from the 1977 show, Operation Petticoat.
Astin would also earn a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film for his directorial debut. He is now 89 years old and living with his wife in Baltimore, MD. It’s also notable to mention he was previously married to Patty Duke in which they shared two children, one adopted from Duke’s previous marriage. That adopted child was none other than Rudy himself! Rudy, played by Sean Astin, was John’s adopted son. Hollywood sure does trickle down the family lines!
Today John is 90 years old, and still acts on occasion, mostly with his voice. His last big-budget performance was as The Judge, the ghost of an Old West gunslinger, in Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners in 1997. He’s been married to his 3rd wife Valerie, since 1989 and lives in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland.
Ted Cassidy – Lurch
Cassidy is well known for his tall stature at 6 ft 9 in. and his deep, bass voice. Aside from his role as Lurch on The Addams Family, he would also become known for narrating The Incredible Hulk TV series. Cassidy’s big break was The Addams’ Family Role. Or Roles, actually. Because Ted’s hand portrayed Thing as well. Though the character of Lurch was intended to be mute, when Cassidy ad-libbed “You rang?” the subtle humor and sultry deepness to his voice was immediately a hit, and the character was expanded.
His voice was his golden ticket, and he voiced many cartoons including 1976’s Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, and Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels. If you remember Captain Caveman, you should check out along with 9 others in our Cheesiest Cartoons from the 70s list! His height allowed him amazing guest-roles, like in 1976 when he portrayed Bigfoot in a two-parter for The Six Million Dollar Man! He sadly passed away in 1979 from complications following a non-malignant tumor removal from his heart.
Jackie Coogan – Uncle Fester
We all know Jackie Coogan to be the lovable Uncle Fester! He began his movie career in silent films as a child actor. Aside from his acting work, he was known for his charity work as well. In 1924, he starts the “Children’s Crusade” as part of his fundraising drive. This would provide more than $1 million in clothing, food, and more. Additionally, Coogan would dabble in radio work and serve in the U.S. Army in WWII.
Coogan was taking chances like this at a young age. He was one of Hollywood’s first child stars, part of Charlie Chaplin’s classic The Kid in 1921. He was one of the first stars to be heavily merchandised. Peanut butter, whistles, and figurines were among the Coogan-themed merchandise. This helped fuel the lawsuit when he later sued his mother and stepfather over his squandered film earnings and provoked California to enact the first legal protection for the earnings of child performers. The law is widely known as the Coogan Act. He sadly died in 1984 after suffering from heart and kidney ailments.
Read onto the NEXT page to learn about the rest of the cast of The Addams Family!