When it was released in 1991, The Addams Family continued a long line of success for the Charles Addams creation. The clan started life in a series of single-panel cartoons that launched all the way back in 1938. In 1964, they got their own TV series that ran for two seasons on ABC. It was a short run, but the show endured in syndication, eventually becoming iconic. An animated version ran on Saturday mornings starting in 1973. There was something about this creepy, kooky, mysterious, spooky family that held the public’s interest for decades, through various incarnations.
Given that fact, a feature-length movie was a no-brainer, and a series of very smart choices helped to ensure its success. The screenplay by Caroline Thompson and Larry Wilson was sharp and funny. Barry Sonnenfeld brought a creative sense of direction. Production and set designs were impeccably done. The M.C. Hammer-performed theme song, “Addams Groove,” was a catchy chart hit. The movie also benefited from a series of inspired casting choices. It really was one of those occasions where everything came together in just the right way. The Addams Family earned a whopping $131 million, making it a certified blockbuster.
This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the film, so we thought it would be fun to see where the cast members are today. Sit back and get ready to catch up with the actors who did wonderfully kooky work in this comedy smash. Here’s Where Are They Now? The Cast of The Addams Family.
12. Christopher Lloyd – Uncle Fester
Christopher Lloyd was arguably the biggest star coming into The Addams Family, having previously played Doc Brown in the Back to the Future series and Rev. Jim Ignatowki on TV’s Taxi, among many other roles. His expertise in creating offbeat, quirky characters made him the perfect choice for Uncle Fester, the hairless electricity magnet who often gets the most laughs in any version of the franchise. Lloyd delivers a wonderfully weird performance, and the movie lights up (pun intended) whenever he’s on screen.
Post-Addams, Lloyd has continued to act constantly in a wide range of TV and movie projects. Among his more notable recent films are Piranha 3D and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. His less notable work includes playing a character named “Lero Sombrero” in the infamously disastrous children’s picture The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure. Lloyd currently has several promising movies in the can, including Zach Braff’s remake of the 1979 heist comedy Going in Style, in which he will appear alongside Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine.
11. John Franklin – Cousin It
Cousin It may well be the strangest character in The Addams Family, and that’s saying a lot. (He wasn’t created by Charles Addams, but fits into the world perfectly nonetheless.) It is a short person – or at least we think he’s a person – completely draped in long, flowing hair. No one can see what’s under that mane. Apparently, It is a sexual being, as the movie finds him having an affair with the wife of a corrupt lawyer intent on snatching the Addams family’s money.
Portraying Cousin It was Chicago native John Franklin, who grew up with a growth hormone deficiency that kept him from growing beyond 4’10”. Prior to The Addams Family, he played Isaac in 1984’s Children of the Corn and frequently worked in commercials. Franklin has had a few minor movie roles subsequently, a bit part in Wag the Dog being the most prominent of them. In 2003, he decided to retire from acting to teach screenwriting and English. Today, he teaches at Golden Valley High School in Santa Clarita, California, under his real name, John Salapatek.
10. Judith Malina – Granny
Judith Malina was a German actress who co-founded The Living Theater, an avant-garde political acting troupe that achieved notoriety in the ’50s and ’60s for promoting things like marijuana use and nudity, both onstage and in the audience. Upon coming to Hollywood, she secured jobs working for major directors, including Sidney Lumet in Dog Day Afternoon, Woody Allen in Radio Days, and Paul Mazursky in Enemies: A Love Story. Appearing in a goofball comedy like The Addams Family was a real change of pace for Malina, but she approached the role of Granny with the same seriousness that she brought to dramatic roles.
Malina kept working in theater after the movie, co-directing Living Theater productions. Her later screen credits include episodes of ER and The Sopranos, plus a role in the 2010 Kristen Bell romantic comedy When in Rome. A two-time widow with two children by her first husband, Malina herself passed away on April 10, 2015 from lung disease, reported to have been brought on by years of smoking.
9. Dan Hedaya – Tully Alford
Dan Hedaya is one of those quintessential “That Guy” actors. Not everyone knows his name, but everyone recognizes his face, thanks to an extensive filmography that stretches back to 1970. Key roles on Cheers and Hill Street Blues helped introduce audiences to his expressive face and unusual voice. Those qualities made him a natural for playing seedy characters, and The Addams Family shrewdly cast him as Tully Alford, a dishonest lawyer who hatches a plan to get inside the clan’s home and raid the vault where they keep all their money. As always, Hedaya earns laughs with slow-burn reactions and droll delivery of lines.
Hedaya remains a very in-demand actor. Since 1991, he has worked in dozens of television and movie productions, both comedy and drama. One of his most famous roles is playing Alicia Silverstone’s father in Clueless. He has also worked for top directors like Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects), Ron Howard (Ransom), and David Lynch (Mulholland Drive). The actor memorably portrayed a comic version of Richard Nixon in the comedy Dick, alongside Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams. Hedaya’s most recent credits include last year’s Al Pacino drama The Humbling, as well as episodes of Blue Bloods and The Mindy Project. His next film, Douglas Brown, is slated for release later this year.
8. Dana Ivey – Margaret Alford
As with many Addams Family cast members, Dana Ivey has extensive stage experience. The actress, who played Tully’s wife/Cousin It’s fling, achieved the rare feat of being nominated for two Tony Awards in the same season, for 1984’s Sunday in the Park with George and Heartbreak House. Onscreen, she brought her dependable talent to projects as diverse as The Color Purple, Postcards from the Edge, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
Ivey kept on making all kinds of films in the years after playing Margaret Alford, establishing herself as a versatile character actress who could adapt to virtually any genre. Among her credits are Home Alone 2, Sleepless in Seattle, and Rush Hour 3. Her workload has slowed down slightly in the last few years, but you may have seen her in The Help or on a few episodes of Boardwalk Empire. She has no current screen projects in the pipeline, although hopefully that will soon change.
7. Elizabeth Wilson – Abigail Craven
Veteran actress Elizabeth Wilson began her screen career back in 1946 with a bit part in Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious. From there, she amassed dozens of credits. She was a Tony Award winner for the play Sticks and Stones in 1972, plus a favorite of director Mike Nichols, who cast her in The Graduate, Catch-22, and Regarding Henry. She had notable roles in 9 to 5 and The Incredible Shrinking Woman, as well. In The Addams Family, Wilson was cast as Abigail Craven, a woman who conspires with Alford to rob the clan. She poses as a psychiatrist named Dr. Pinder-Schloss to dupe Gomez.
There were a few more juicy roles in Elizabeth Wilson’s future, including one in Robert Redford’s Quiz Show and one on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Largely, though, she returned to the stage. Her final screen appearance was in 2012’s Hyde Park on Hudson, in which Bill Murray played Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The actress died on May 9, 2015, at the age of 94.
6. Carel Struycken – Lurch
An Addams Family movie might never have come together if the filmmakers hadn’t been able to find an actor to play Lurch, the massive manservant to the group. They not only needed someone tall, but also someone who could match the droll wit Ted Cassidy famously brought to the role on the ’60s TV series. Thankfully, they found seven-foot Dutch actor Carel Struycken. Whereas co-star John Franklin had a growth hormone deficiency, Struycken was born with acromegaly, a syndrome in which the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone. The actor used this to his advantage, snagging roles that required extremely large men, such as “the Giant” on Twin Peaks.
Struycken was a standout as Lurch, but the simple fact is that there aren’t a whole lot of parts for people of his height. Intermittent film and TV work followed, most notably in Barry Sonnenfeld’s 1987 smash Men in Black and, more recently, NBC’s The Blacklist. The actor fills his time by pursuing other interests. He is an avid photographer and runs a website dedicated to “spherical panoramas,” 360-degree pictures that give viewers a sense that they are in a fixed position but can look around.
5. Christopher Hart – Thing
Of everyone in the cast, Christopher Hart has the shortest resume. That’s because acting was never his primary vocation. At the tender young age of eight, he became interested in magic and decided to pursue it, later gaining acceptance into the legendary Magic Castle’s junior program and eventually working for illusionist David Copperfield. Hart also performed slight-of-hand tricks in commercials for McDonald’s and other well-known companies. His talent in manipulating his hands led to him being cast as Thing, a character who is nothing more than a disembodied hand that crawls around and occasionally perches itself on Fester’s head.
Hart reprised the role for Addams Family Values, and also played a hand in the 1999 Seth Green horror-comedy Idle Hands. (Do you see a trend emerging here?) By and large, though, he has stuck to the magic business, where he is known as “the man with the movie star hand.” Hart travels the world, astounding audiences with his skills.
4. Jimmy Workman – Pugsley
How’s this for a debut? The Addams Family marked Jimmy Workman’s first acting performance. That he held his own alongside some heavyweight actors showed what a natural he was. He got the part by accident. His older sister Shanelle was reading for the role of Wednesday, and he went with her to the audition. The casting directors saw Jimmy and, sensing something, had him read for Pugsley. He got hired. Shanelle didn’t. That must have made for some awkward evenings at home.
Workman didn’t really seem to have acting in his blood, despite the major role in a big film. He puttered around a little bit, popping up in As Good as It Gets in 1997 and doing an uncredited cameo in the Chris Farley/David Spade vehicle Black Sheep. He was also a production assistant on Star Trek: Insurrection. In 2004, he retired from acting permanently. Workman was in the news a couple years ago for some family drama involving guardianship of younger sister Ariel Winter (star of Modern Family) who accused their mother of abuse and subsequently was cared for by Shanelle. That finally seems to have been resolved. According to his Facebook page, he currently works for Teamsters Local 399.
3. Raul Julia – Gomez
Puerto Rican actor Raul Julia had a career that was about as diverse as one can get. Early on, he worked in the New York Shakespeare Festival and on the classic kids’ show Sesame Street. Nominated for multiple Tony Awards, Julia’s breakout movie role was playing Valentin in 1985’s critically acclaimed Kiss of the Spider Woman. He went on to co-star in films as varied as Tequila Sunrise, Frankenstein Unbound, and Clint Eastwood’s The Rookie. The actor cranked up the suave, darkly debonair side of Gomez Addams, turning him into a quirky sort of heartthrob. It was a fresh take on a familiar character, and it earned him rave reviews. Once again, it was shown how a good actor can bring depth to a fluffy “popcorn movie.”
Julia had career ups and downs after The Addams Family. He won a Golden Globe, an Emmy, and a SAG award for his work in the TV movie The Burning Season: The Chico Mendes Story, but the big screen video game adaptation Street Fighter was a notorious bomb. He looked a lot thinner in those two films because he’d had surgery for an infection in his stomach. Health issues persisted, and in October of 1994, Julia suffered a stroke. He fell into a coma and was put on life support. Four days later, the wildly talented star passed away at the age of 54.
2. Anjelica Huston – Morticia
Coming into The Addams Family, Anjelica Huston was already Hollywood royalty. Her father was director John Huston (The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen), and her grandfather was actor Walter Huston, who won an Oscar for his role in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Anjelica was an Oscar winner, too, having been named Best Supporting Actress of 1985 for Prizzi’s Honor, in which she starred alongside longtime on-again/off-again boyfriend Jack Nicholson. Her very presence in The Addams Family represented a major casting coup. Huston looked the part of Morticia, bringing a sultry-yet-smart quality to the character. Her scenes with Raul Julia gave off romantic vibes that provided a splash of humanity to the otherwise exaggerated nature of the movie.
Huston remains a busy actress. Recent years have found her appearing in multiple Wes Anderson films, including The Royal Tenenbaums and The Darjeeling Limited. The actress has also worked on the TV shows Smash and Bojack Horseman. She will next be seen in The Master Cleanse, an independent comedy about a man who attends a spiritual retreat and finds it doesn’t exactly provide what he expects. The film, which also stars Oliver Platt and Anna Friel, had its world premiere at the 2016 SXSW Film Festival.
1. Christina Ricci – Wednesday
From the time she made her screen debut as Cher’s daughter in 1990’s Mermaids, it was clear that Christina Ricci was a young actress with considerable talent. She was the ideal choice to play Wednesday, the darkest and most morbid of the Addamses. With a pitch-perfect deadpan delivery and a mischievous glimmer in her eyes, Ricci quickly solidified her stardom, earning accolades from critics and audiences alike. The following years saw the actress cast in a wide variety of films, including well-received dramas The Ice Storm, The Opposite of Sex, Sleepy Hollow, and Monster, plus light comedies such as John Waters’ Pecker and Woody Allen’s Anything Else.
Recently, Ricci provided the voices of Vexy in The Smurfs 2 and the Yellow Crayon in The Hero of Color City. She headlined a short-lived TV series on ABC called Pan Am, and played the lead role in the miniseries The Lizzie Borden Chronicles. Ricci will next be seen this May in the ensemble drama Mothers and Daughters, which also stars Susan Sarandon, Courteney Cox, Selma Blair, and Sharon Stone.
Sadly, some of the Addams Family stars are no longer with us. Those who are continue to be active in performing and, in a few cases, other equally meaningful work. Who was your favorite cast member? Let us know in the comments.
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