Jul. 31, 1932 Pittsburgh Allegheny County Pennsylvania, USA
Jan. 16, 1979 Los Angeles Los Angeles County California, USA
Actor. He is best remembered for playing the part of 'Lurch', the butler on the ABC sitcom television series "The Addams Family" that ran from September 1964 to April 1966. Born Theodore Crawford Cassidy, he was raised in Philippi, West Virginia, graduating from Philippi High School where he played the center position on the basketball team and defensive tackle on the football team.. At 6 feet 9 inches tall, he was an imposing figure in both venues and was the tallest player in the school conference. After high school, he attended West Virginia Wesleyan College, in Buckhannon, West Virginia, and later attended Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, where he also played basketball for the Hatters, averaging 17 points and 10 rebounds in his three seasons as a player (1952 to 1955). After graduating with a degree in speech and drama, he moved to Dallas, Texas in 1956 and his acting career took off when he worked as a mid-day disc jockey on WFAA-AM in Dallas. He also occasionally appeared on WFAA-TV Channel 8, playing 'Creech', an outer space creature on the "Dialing for Dollars" segments on Ed Hogan's afternoon movies. He gave an in-studio report from WFAA radio station on November 22, 1963, the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and was among the first to interview two of the eyewitnesses, W.E. Newman, Jr. and Gayle Newman. An accomplished musician, he moonlighted at Luby's Cafeteria in the Lochwood, Dallas, Texas shopping center, playing the organ to entertain patrons. His height gave him an advantage in auditioning for unusual character roles. In The Addams Family," he originally ad-libbed the line, "You rang?" The subtle humor and the deepness of his voice, delivered more as a statement than a question, was immediately a hit and thereafter, it was regularly written into the script, and it became his signature line. In 1965 he released a seven inch vinyl record on Capitol Records with two songs on it, "The Lurch," written by Gary S. Paxton, and "Wesley," written by Cliffie Stone and Scott Turner. He introduced the dance and performed the song "The Lurch" on September 11, 1965 on Los Angeles-based music variety show "Shivaree!" and performed it again on Halloween of the same year on "Shindig!," along with Boris Karloff performing "Monster Mash". He had a regular role on the NBC children's television series "The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" (September 1968 until February 1969) as 'Injun Joe', the blood-foe of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. He voiced 'Lurch' character in an episode of the 1970s "The New Scooby-Doo Movies" which featured the family and he reprised this role in the 1973 animated series adaptation of "The Addams Family." He also appeared on the television shows "Daniel Boone," "I Dream of Jeannie," "The Beverly Hillbillies," "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," "Star Trek," and "The Six Million Dollar Man." He provided character voices on a recurring basis for the Hanna-Barbera Studios, culminating in the role of 'Frankenstein, Jr.' in "Frankenstein, Jr. and The Impossibles" series. He was the voice of the hero in the Chuck Menville pixillated short film "Blaze Glory," in which his already-deep voice was enhanced with reverb echo to give the character an exaggerated super-hero sound. He also voiced 'Ben Grimm' (a.k.a. "The Thing") in the 1978 animated "Fantastic Four" and performed the roars and growls for the 1979 cartoon series "Godzilla" and was also the voice of 'Montaro' in the "Jana of the Jungle" segments that accompanied "Godzilla" during its first network run. His was the basis for the sinister voice of "Black Manta", as well as 'Brainiac" and several others on the animated television series "Super Friends." In 1978 he narrated the opening of the CBS television series "The Incredible Hulk" and also provided the Hulk's growls and roars during the show's first two seasons. His other film work includes appearances in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969), "Mackenna's Gold" (1969), "Poor Pretty Eddie" (1975), "Harry and Walter Go to New York" (1976), "The Last Remake of Beau Geste" (1977), and "Goin' Coconuts' (1978). He also co-wrote the screenplay of 1973's "The Harrad Experiment," in which he made a brief appearance. In his last years, he suffered from health problems due to his size and he died from complications following open-heart surgery at the age of 46. (bio by: William Bjornstad)
Cause of death: Complications from open heart surgery
Burial: Cremated, Ashes scattered. Specifically: Ashes Buried in the backyard of his home.
Maintained by: Find A Grave Record added: Jan 01, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 1666