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“Lurch” Of The Addams Family!
Shared By Chloe Sylvers
Theodore Crawford Cassidy (July 31, 1932 – January 16, 1979) was an American actor of radio, television and film and voice artist. Noted for his tall stature at 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) and his deep bass voice, he tended to play unusual characters in offbeat or science-fiction series such as Star Trek and I Dream of Jeannie, and is best known for the role of Lurch on The Addams Family in the mid-1960s. He is also known for narrating The Incredible Hulk TV series.
Cassidy was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but raised in Philippi, West Virginia. In his youth, Cassidy was an academically gifted individual and attended third grade at age six. During his freshman year of high school, at age 11, Cassidy was on the football and basketball teams. Despite this, he was a frequent target of bullying by his much older peers, having already reached a height of 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) by then.
After graduating from high school, Cassidy attended West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, where he was a member of the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity. He transferred to Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, where he played college basketball for the Hatters and was active in the student government.
Cassidy’s notable height gave him an advantage in auditioning for unusual character roles. His most famous role was Lurch on The Addams Family (in which he feigned playing the harpsichord). He also played the character named Thing (associate producer Jack Voglin would take over the “Thing” role in scenes with both characters). Though the character of Lurch was intended to be mute, Cassidy ad-libbed his signature line, “You rang?”. The subtle humor and the deepness of his voice was immediately a hit. Thereafter, it was a recurring phrase written into the script.
Cassidy would reprise the role of Lurch in later appearances. In the Batman episode “The Penguin’s Nest” (1966), he appears during Batman and Robin’s familiar climb scene up the side of a building, as a tenant who is playing the harpsichord prior to sticking his head out of the window and speaking to Batman and Robin. He also voiced this character in an episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies (1972), which featured the family, as well as in the 1973 animated series adaptation of The Addams Family.
In addition to The Addams Family, Cassidy found steady work in a variety of other television shows. He had a prominent role on NBC’s The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as Injun Joe, the blood-foe of Tom Sawyer and Huck. In the 1967 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode “The Napoleon’s Tomb Affair”, Cassidy played a henchman, Edgar, who kidnaps, tortures, and repeatedly tries to kill Napoleon and Illya.
Cassidy underwent surgery at St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles to have a non-malignant tumor removed from his heart. While recovering at home, complications arose several days later and he was readmitted. On January 16, 1979, Cassidy died at age 46 at St. Vincent Medical Center.