Lisa Loring, the Original Wednesday Addams, Dies at 64

Loring originated the television version of Wednesday Addams, the braided daughter of a spooky family.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Gael Cooper
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Lisa Loring played Wednesday Addams on the original Addams Family TV series.


Lisa Loring, who played goth girl icon Wednesday Addams on the original version of TV show The Addams Family, died Saturday of a stroke, her agent confirmed to multiple press outlets. Loring was 64. 

She was just 6 years old when she began playing Wednesday, a morbid little girl fascinated with death, in the show based on spooky characters created by New Yorker cartoonist Charles Addams. Her pale skin and long dark braids created an iconic image. The character of Wednesday has been played by numerous actors in the years since Loring's show went off the air. 

Jenna Ortega plays the character as a teen in the hit Netflix streaming show Wednesday, which has already been renewed for a second season. Ortega told Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show in December that she paid tribute to Loring in a famous dance scene in the new series, but that unfortunately, that part of her dance was cut.

"She is embedded in the tapestry that is pop culture and in our hearts always as Wednesday Addams," Loring's friend Laurie Jacobson wrote on Facebook. "Beautiful, kind, a loving mother, Lisa's legacy in the world of entertainment is huge. And the legacy for her family and friends -- a wealth of humor, affection and love will long play in our memories. RIP, Lisa. Damn, girl... you were a ton of fun."

Butch Patrick, who played Eddie Munster on The Munsters, another 1960s family sitcom with a horror-monster theme, remembered Loring in a Facebook post.

"Very sorry to hear of my dear friend Lisa Loring's passing," Patrick wrote. "We were very close and worked together often. I know she was very weak. I was in her company just a few weeks ago. Godspeed my friend."

Actor Ken Weatherwax, who played Wednesday's brother, Pugsley, on The Addams Family, died at 59 in 2014 of a heart attack. He and Loring reportedly had remained lifelong friends after playing siblings on the show.

Loring began modeling at age 3, taking the Wednesday role just 3 years after that. She married for the first time at 15, although that marriage lasted just one year. She married three more times and had two daughters, both of whom were with her when she died.

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