The Addams Family began as nothing more than the focus of comics from the strange mind of Charles Addams and transformed over time into one of the most iconic families in pop culture. Every member is unique, but the matriarch Morticia is one of the most beloved.
The role isn’t easy to play because it requires a balance of sensuality, comedy, and compassion. Several actresses have stepped up to the challenge as the franchise continues to grow and fans continue to call for new entries.
Like and subscribe to FactsVerse for more on the creepy, kooky, mysterious, and spooky family. Watch our video to learn more about every actress who played Morticia Addams.
Carolyn Jones was born on April 28, 1930, in Amarillo, Texas. Her acting career took off quickly, and she earned an Academy Award for her role in The Bachelor Party in 1957.
The original Addams Family TV show premiered on ABC on September 18, 1964, and aired 64 episodes over the course of 2 years. Carolyn chosen to play Morticia and reprised her role in 1977 for the TV movie The Addams Family: It’s Party Time. She’s given freedom to play the character in her own way. And brought her to life with elegance enhanced by her long, dark wig and all-black clothing.
Carolyn went on to perform in other projects after the Addams Family ended. They included the Batman and Wonder Woman TV shows. She diagnosed with colon cancer in 1981 and appeared in the 80s sitcom Capital in a wheelchair.
Carolyn Jones fell into a coma and died days later at the age of 50, on August 3, 1983.
The next entries into the Addams family franchise animated series, and excellent actresses used their voices to bring Morticia to life again.
Janet Waldo was born on February 14, 1919, in Grandview, Washington. She began using her talent in church plays but was encouraged by her mother to take things further. She went to the University of Washington and earned parts in plays where she discovered by Bing Crosby. He invited her to try out for a talent contest, and lo and behold, she won. After that, she and her mother moved to California, where a Paramount talent scout earned her parts in films such as Sing, You Sinners in 1938 and The Star Maker in 1939. She also earned parts in westerns such as The Bandit Trail in 1941. And Land of the Open Range in 1942 before moving to radio in 1943. Her voice proved to be a valuable asset on shows such as Meet Corliss Archer.
These radio roles and appearances in movies and TV shows led to voice acting for cartoons. She played Judy Jetson in The Jetsons and earned hundreds of other voice roles. This included Morticia Addams in the first animated Addams Family cartoon that began in 1973.
Janet had two children, Jonathan and Lucy, with her husband Robert E. Lee, whom she married to until his death in 1994. She was diagnosed with a benign, inoperable brain tumor in 2011.
Janet Waldo succumbed to cancer and died at the age of 97 on June 12, 2016.
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Anjelica Houston was born on July 8, 1951, in Santa Monica, California. She spent most of her childhood in Ireland and England and took her first film role in her father John Huston’s 1969 film A Walk with Love and Death. She moved back to the United States after her mother died and modeled for several years. She cameoed in several films but decided to make acting her official career in the 80s. Her work in the 1985 film Prizzi’s Honor earned her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. And she was the first actress to ever win an Oscar when her father and grandfather had already won one.
Anjelica’s portrayal of Morticia Addams remains one of the most well-known and highly praised. It began when director Barry Sonnenfeld decided to make movies about the macabre family 30 years after the success of their original series. She had to contend against musical icon Cher for the role but ultimately won.
Becoming Morticia required a more drastic transformation this time. She had to have her cheekbones stretched with tape and wear intense makeup, a wig, and false eyelashes.
Anjelica appeared in all of Barry Sonnenfeld’s live-action Addams Family movies, including The Addams Family in 1991 and Addams Family Values in 1993.
Another Addams Family animated series was greenlit in 1992. Nancy Linari, a comedian who was born on January 14, 1955, provided Morticia’s voice this time.
Nancy began her career as part of the improv group The Second City. Then continued to work as a stage, film, TV, and voice actress. Her iconic voice not only gave life to Morticia in the 2nd Addams Family cartoon but also made her an award-winning audiobook narrator and earned her roles in hundreds of commercials. It even earned her the honor of announcing Prince Harry and First Lady Michelle Obama as the announcer of the opening ceremonies for the Invictus Games Orlando in 2016.
One of the least known entries in the Addams Family franchise is the Broadway show simply titled The Addams Family. It opened in April of 2010. Too few theatergoers got to see the talent that Nathan Lane showed off as Gomez and Bebe Neuwirth demonstrated as Morticia.
Beatrice “Bebe” Neuwirth was born on December 31, 1958, in Newark, New Jersey. She began her career as a dancer, graduating with a major in dance from Juilliard. Her stage performances won her plenty of accolades, including a Tony in 1986 for playing Nikki in Sweet Charity and another in 1997 for Best Actress in a Musical for playing Velma Kelly in Chicago. She also won 2 Emmys for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for playing Lilith Sternin Crane in Cheers. She’s also won 2 Drama Desk and an LA Drama Critics Circle, Astaire, and Outer Critics Circle Award, among many others. She currently lives with her husband Chris Calkins who she married on May 4, 2009.
The Addams Family: The Reunion is another little-known entry in the franchise. It was a direct-to-video film but had Tim Curry as Gomez and Daryl Hannah as Morticia. Her portrayal is both sensual and comical.
Daryl Hannah was born on December 3, 1960, in Chicago, Illinois. She graduated from the University of Southern California School of Theater then went on to practice ballet with Maria Tallchief and study drama at the Goodman Theater. Her first small roles were The Fury in 1978 and Hard Country in 1981, but her breakout role was Blade Runner in 1982. That led to a string of other roles but, in addition to acting, she also works to write articles and deliver speeches to fight against human trafficking and encourage better world relations.
Ellie Harvie was born on April 7, 1965, in Belleville, Ontario. She earned a degree in political studies from the University of Manitoba but began a 2-year course in acting at the Vancouver Playhouse Theater School when her family moved to Vancouver in 1987. She fell in love with performing and continued to study and began touring British Columbia with Greenthumb Theatre. She won the Just for Laughs Improv Tournament in 1995 and CBC’s Improv Olympics in 1998. She earned roles in Cupid, The X-Files, Nightscream and the 6th Day, and more, and she was eventually given the honor of bringing Morticia to life.
The New Addams Family was released on Fox in 1998 and lasted for 1 season. John Astin, the original Gomez, returned, and Nicole Fugere from the 1997 movie returned as Wednesday. The filmmakers found a new Morticia in Ellie Harvie who delivered a more comedic performance for a younger target audience.
Charlize Theron was born in Benoni in Johannesburg, South Africa. She grew up on a farm outside of the city and was trained as a ballet dancer. She moved to Europe and the United States at a young age to start her career. And got a job at the Joffrey Ballet in New York and worked as a model. She kept dancing until injuring her knee.
In 1994, her mother gave her $500 and a ticket to Los Angeles. She visited agents on Hollywood Boulevard but faced rejection after rejection. She then tried to cash the check but wasn’t allowed to, and an agent gave her his card when she made a scene about it. His only condition was that she learn English, and she did by watching soap operas.
Her first performance was a 3-second non-speaking role in Children of the Corn II: Urban Harvest in 1995. That led to better, longer performances such as 2 Days in the Valley in 1996, The Devil’s Advocate in 1997, Mighty Joe Young in 1998, The Cider House Rules in 1999, The Legend of Bagger Vance in 2000, and The Italian Job in 2003. She won her first Academy Award on February 29, 2004, for her performance in Monster the year before.
Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan directed the most recent animated Addams film. Charlize played Morticia Addams and said her goal was to keep the classic aspects of the character intact while adding novelty and focusing on her youth and position as the head of the household. She was only one well-known member of the cast; it also had Oscar Issac as Gomez. It received negative reviews but grossed $180 million on a budget of only $24 million.
Although it’s not expected to drop until at least fall of next year, several cast members have been announced for an upcoming Addams Family Netflix series called Wednesday directed by Tim Burton. Luis Guzman will play Gomez, and Catherine Zeta-Jones will play Morticia.
Catherine was born on September 25, 1969, in Wales. She wanted to be an entertainer from an early age and appeared in stage shows such as Annie, Bugsy Malone, and The Pajama Game. She even earned the lead in the British revival of 42nd Street at the age of 15. Her work on The Darling Buds of May in 1991 made her one of the UK’s most popular TV actresses as well.
Catherine made a name for herself in movies such as Christopher Columbus: The Discovery in 1991, Catherine the Great in 1995, The Phantom in 1996, and The Mask of Zorro in 1998. Fans believe she should have won the Oscar for Traffic in 2000, but she did win an Academy Award for Chicago in 2002. She was even dubbed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in Queen Elizabeth’s Birthday Honours List. She lives with her Husband, Michael Douglas, whom she married on November 18, 2000. They have three children together; Cameron, Dylan, and Carys.
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