The Addams Family cast
We knew her best as Morticia Addams, on the fantastic show The Addams Family. Her role in the 3-D House of Wax is worth mentioning as well. She was also cast as a "ruthless, filthy rich, old broad" (her words, not mine) on the show Capitol, but had to drop out after the first season, because of her illness.
Carolyn had been diagnosed with colon cancer in March of 1981. She had vomited blood, and when doctors did tests, they discovered that cancer had ravaged her colon, and spread to her liver. Surgeons removed two thirds of her colon, and Carolyn continued on, the best she could. She told friends that she was having treatments for ulcers.
In the meantime, Carolyn quietly went through treatment. She worked during the day, and went to the hospital for chemo at night. No one knew. She kept her illness a complete secret.
It seemed that the cancer had gone into remission, but in late 1982 - it returned and spread like, well, cancer. Doctors retaliated with massive injections of drugs, to no avail.
Seeing that the end was near, in July of 1983 - Carolyn wed her boyfriend, actor Peter Bailey-Britton. She wore a lace and ribbon cap to hide the fact that she lost her hair to chemo. The wedding was attended by Jim Backus, June Allyson, Sally Struthers and Red Buttons.
I have no funeral details, but I thank Findadeath.com friend Bob Siler for the information supplied in the text of this story. Cheers Bob.
Trivia: She was married to Aaron Spelling for 13 years, until 1964.
John Astin played Gomez Addams. He's been pretty much typecast (as all the good ones are) as Gomez, and pretty much lives up to it. I've seen him around at autograph shows, and in theatre productions here and there. I met him once, no comments on the picture. Faggin' hard, as usual. Me, not him. Keep in mind, it was 1992.
Jackie Coogan played Uncle Fester. His daughter once said that it was the only character part he ever really loved. Thats pretty all right, eh? He was once married to Betty Grable. Thats pretty amazing, isn't it? Jackie lived in Palm Springs, and I have a promise that those photos should be arriving some time in the near future. Here is a more recent picture of him.
From Findadeath.com friend Kelly: Hello Scott - I just discovered your website two weeks ago, and am totally addicted. Keep up the great work! Here is a link to a picture that I found to satisfy my curiosity about the Uncle Fester/Pin-Up Queen marriage.
Findadeath.com friend Joe Tanner sent me this very interesting tidbit. Check it out! "It was in 1942, in Burma where Jackie was arrested at a cathouse. All military personal were ordered to stay out of these homes off ill repute. My father was an MP and was called to a scene that had many service men at the site. One of these men was Jackie Coogan. He was already known from his films, and my father was one of the men who arrested him. Jackie was given some time to serve and according to my Mom's version (of what she remembers my father telling her) was that Jackie was demoted a couple of notches in rank. "
How really interesting, Joe. Thank you for sending that!
In March of 1984, Jackie was visiting his daughter Leslie, in Malibu, when he suffered a heart attack. At noon on March 1, 1984 - he was admitted to the Santa Monica Hospital, and he died there at 1:37 in the afternoon. He had been suffering from heart disease and hypertension for quite a while. He was 69 years old.
His funeral was held in the mausoleum of Holy Cross cemetery.
Findadeath.com friend Bob
Siler attended the event, and told me that John Astin read the eulogy, going on
about his friendship with Jackie, and that the cast of the show saw him as their
own uncle. Others in attendance were Don Stroud , Hank Worden, and Dead
End Kids Huntz Hall (who was passing out autographs. Tacky.) and
Gabe Holzer who snapped this
fantastic picture of his casket. Bob also told me that it was open
casket. Bob remembers, "Now, when they opened the coffin lid, I turned to Greg and said "They should have had a light bulb in his mouth".
Thanks again to Findadeath.com friend Steve Goldstein of www.beneathlosangeles.com for his link. Check out his page. Great stuff there.
UPDATE December 2004, from Findadeath friend Mark:
This just in, February 2005, from Findadeath friend Michael:
Here's a little trivia that not everyone knows regarding Jackie Coogan. A federal law (The Coogan Law) was named after him.
The Coogan Law was enacted in 1939, to assure that child actors receive a portion of their earnings when they reach majority age.
Coogan had filed suit against his parents to recover the $4 million fortune he had made as a popular child star.
Unfortunately for Coogan - and for hundreds of other child actors, a minorís earnings were legally the property of the parents or guardians. As a result, Coogan entered adulthood penniless, even though he had earned millions.
Also, current actor Keith Coogan is his grandson.
Thanks for a GREAT website!!!
Also February 2005, from Findadeath friend Matt:
Anyway, cut to 1972, when Chaplin was brought back to the US for an honorary Oscar. This is after years of living in seclusion after being in deported from the US essentially by J. Edgar Hoover.
Well, who should meet the 83 year old
actor at the airport, but Jackie Coogan. The two men reportedly broke down
crying, and Chaplin replied, "There is no else in the world I would
rather see than you."
Blossom Rock played Grandmama. In 1967, Blossom suffered a massive stroke, sold her home and moved into the Motion Picture Country Home. Thanks tons to Steve Goldstein for that photograph. A lot of people don't know that she was the older sister of Jeanette MacDonald. Thanks LP. Blossom missed the 1977 reunion movie, but she watched it on television. (Almost got away with missing it. Poor her. Must have been agony.) She died in the home on January 14th, 1978. She was 82.
The cronies at Forest Lawn Glendale buried her.
In late December 1978, Ted had open-heart surgery in the hospital, to remove a non-malignant tumor. Doctors had given him the all clear, and he was sent home. He went back into St. Vincent's Hospital, in LA. On the 16th of January, he went in to cardiac arrest. At 1:48 in the afternoon, he died there. He was only 46 years old.
He had a private funeral at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills the following Friday. After the service, he was cremated. Now it gets interesting. His children buried Ted's urn in the backyard of the home, then MOVED AWAY. I swear it's true. There is one unproven rumor that some gardeners stumbled upon it, and stole it, but I'm not sure I believe it. None the less, Lurch is missing in action. That's pathetic. Steve didn't chance getting busted photographing the yard, and I can't say I blame him. It's back here.
I just found your website, and am going thru it now. In '77 I lived in
Findadeath.com friend Grant Brenna writes in: I attended a Star Trek convention in Dallas some time in early 1977. Ted Cassidy was a featured speaker. He was in one Star Trek episode which everyone viewed before he spoke. Anyway, he stayed to sign autographs. One guy had a poster of the scene from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid where Butch (Paul Newman) kicks Cassidy in the crotch. The poster was a shot of the instant Newman's boot hit Cassidy's crotch. Cassidy was very kind and signed it right over the boot/crotch part of the picture. He said that he was often asked to autograph that shot and that is the spot he always signed.
February 20, 2001
Findadeath.com friend John Bowers writes in: I read somewhere in the early 80's, that Ted Cassidy (Lurch, Addams Family), did the growling sound for The Incredible Hulk (Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno).... I'm sure this info. can be found true somehow by your connections. I noticed this wasn't included in Ted's info. in your site, and thought it would be an interesting bit of history.
I just verified that it's TRUE! I didn't know that, John. Thanks tons for that.
UPDATE February 2005, from Findadeath friend Leroy:
I was browsing through your sight and started reading the articles on the deceased celebs I remembered on TV shows I watched as a child in the 70's and 80's.
I was reading Ted Cassidy's tribute and it made me remember he had a role in the Bionic Woman in the early 70's.
Wanna see Ted's mailbox? Big Findadeath.com thanks to Steve Goldstein again for those pics. Steve is a huge contributor, and I am very grateful.
Ken Weatherwax and Lisa Loring played Pugsley and Wednesday, the two Addams kids I was so jealous of, when I was a kid. Still am, actually. Ken works in the industry, and God knows what Lisa does now. I met her once a few years ago, and she was just as screwed up (drugs) as the rumors said she would be. Track marks and all. She was really nice, and signed this picture for me. Poor thing.
April 2002 - new Findadeath.com friend Annie writes us:
I saw the surviving cast of the Addams family on the CBS early show and it was just sad. Lisa Loring prattled on about her new project or something. I had a hard time listening after the "took 14 years off to raise a family" line. After reading your site it was really hard to swallow. I
copied their bios from the Early Morning show so you could see for yourself. I also included an Addams family website that actually shows some scenes from the show.