Ted Cassidy a film and television actor best known for portraying the character of Lurch on the 1960s sitcom The Addams Family. Ted Cassidy’s staggering stature is what got him his signature role. But it’s also what resulted in his tragic and untimely death at the age of only 46. Join Facts Verse as we explore how Ted Cassidy’s cause of death is what made him the perfect Lurch.
Ted Cassidy Was Always Different
Ted Cassidy was born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, on July 31, 1932. Early on, Ted’s parents noticed that there was something unusual about the boy. Ted grew to an immense height at a young age, and 6’ 9” by the time that he’s an adult. He also had a booming, bass-filled voice that would help him get radio work early in his career. Before that, Ted’s immense height helped him get noticed as a high-school athlete. And he went on to play basketball while attending college at Florida’s Stetson University.
The condition that gave Ted Cassidy his staggering height and booming voice is known as acromegaly. And it’s a condition that numerous stars with large physiques have suffered from. Another celebrity that suffered from acromegaly was Andre the Giant. And he ended up dying as a result of complications related to the condition. In the decades leading up to his death, Andre’s large physique helped him become a standout wrestler and eventually a bigger star, thanks to film appearances. Like Ted Cassidy, Andre’s large physique was granted to him as a result of his acromegaly. Acromegaly is a condition that causes strange, tumorous growths that only get worse over the course of a person’s lifetime. The condition can sometimes manifest itself differently, but the end results are typically the same. Join Facts Verse as we explore how Ted Cassidy’s cause of death is what made him the perfect Lurch.
Following his graduation from Stetson University in Florida, Ted Cassidy married a woman by the name of Margaret Helen Jesse. The two married in 1956, and would remain married for nearly two decades. Up until shortly before Ted’s tragic and untimely death. Ted’s booming voice helped him get work in radio. Where he went on to become one of the many reporters who helped inform the world of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. After being born in Philadelphia and attending college in Florida. Ted’s radio days saw him living in Dallas with his wife. It wouldn’t be until 1960 that Ted would begin working in filmed entertainment. Join Facts Verse as we explore how Ted Cassidy’s cause of death is what made him the perfect Lurch.
Ted’s Voice Got Him His First Film Work
Ted’s first gig on the screen actually came as a result of his booming voice instead of his looming physique. The actor’s first work on the screen was a voiceover gig that saw him voicing an alien in the film The Angry Red Planet. Only a handful of years later, Ted would receive the role that would make him a star. That would be the role of butler Lurch in The Addams Family, which premiered in 1964. As compared to Ted’s deep voice, The Addams Family aimed to take advantage of the actor’s gigantic height. The character of Lurch initially supposed to be totally mute. But Ted ended up improvising the character’s iconic catchphrase of “you rang?” early into filming, which was kept in.
The Addams Family also utilized Ted Cassidy as the disembodied hand that serves as the titular family’s pet. That pet’s name was Thing, and the hand belonged to none other than Ted Cassidy himself. That is, unless the character of Lurch was also on the screen! Ted Cassidy wasn’t the only actor on The Addams Family that utilized first and foremost for his unique physique. Felix Silla was an actor that was born with dwarfism. Contrasting with Ted, Felix used on The Addams Family for his miniature size. Felix played the character of Cousin Itt several times on the series as a guest star. Unlike Ted, Felix went on to live a long and healthy life after The Addams Family came to an end. With the actor only passing way in the past few years.
Despite the large impact that The Addams Family has had on popular culture over the years. The series wasn’t all that big of a hit at the time of it’s debut. After premiering in 1964, the series only lasted for two seasons before being cancelled in 1966. As the series grew more and more popular via reruns, the property would continue to be revived in various ways. Some of these revivals occurred while Ted Cassidy was still alive. And he was allowed the opportunity to reprise the role of Lurch.
Ted got to reprise the role physically in 1977’s Halloween with the New Addams Family. Which was a made-for-television feature that premiered only two years before Ted’s tragic passing. He also got to reprise the role physically via a fourth-wall-breaking cameo on 1966’s Batman. Which is another enduring television series that ended before it’s time. Meanwhile, the actor got to reprise the character of Lurch via voiceover on an animated series based upon The Addams Family before his death.
The role of Lurch on The Addams Family wasn’t the only notable role that Ted Cassidy managed to secure for himself on the screen as a result of his immense height. However, the actor would only be around for a decade or so after The Addams Family came to an end. And his passing came as a result of the same thing that made him such a sought-after performer. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! Also, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!
Ted Continued Working on Television
From 1968 to 1969, Ted Cassidy could seen portraying the character of Injun Joe on the short-lived live-action television series The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The series was a rare live-action outing from Hanna-Barbera Productions. Which Ted worked with in a voiceover capacity many times over the course of his relatively short career. Not only did Ted work with Hanna-Barbera Productions via the aforementioned 1973 animated series based upon The Addams Family. But Ted also provided voices for other Hanna-Barbera works such as CBS’ 1966 animated series Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles.
Ted even provided the roar for Hanna-Barbera’s Godzilla in the 1978 animated series of the same name! All of these opportunities presented to Ted Cassidy as a result of his exceptionally deep voice, which, in turn, granted to the actor as a result of his acromegaly. Sadly, the negative effects of Ted’s acromegaly were worsening into the 1970s, and his work on Godzilla would end up being some of his very last work.
Besides the role of Lurch on The Addams Family, Ted is perhaps best known for a small role that he performed on the original Star Trek. As well as an antagonistic role that he performed in 1969’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Both of these roles took advantage of Ted’s intimidating physical stature. Of course, Star Trek took advantage of Ted’s stature by casting him as an alien, while Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid simply cast him as an exceptionally intimidating villainous figure.
Given the nature of Star Trek fans to obsess over every tiny detail, Ted Cassidy has remained a popular figure amongst fans of the series despite the relatively small role that he played. The only time that Star Trek ever showed Ted Cassidy on the screen was in a single episode. However, the series did use Ted’s voice in a couple of other episodes, and Ted also worked with creator Gene Roddenberry on a later pilot.
During the time that Ted Cassidy working on the set of The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, he crashed the set of Star Trek and interrupted a scene while he still dressed up as the character of Injun Joe. Ted walked into frame, picked up William Shatner mid-performance, and carried him off to the side. This resulted in one of the most memorable bloopers from the original series, and it’s perhaps one of the reasons that fans of Star Trek continue to remember Ted Cassidy so fondly. Ted’s character on Star Trek known as Ruk, and he appeared in the 1966 episode “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” Join Facts Verse as we explore how Ted Cassidy’s cause of death is what made him the perfect Lurch.
Ted Cassidy’s Final Years and Untimely Death
During the mid-1970s, around a decade after the end of The Addams Family and just around the time that the series was starting to gain some serious popularity via reruns, Ted Cassidy was one of several large actors vying for the role of the Incredible Hulk on the then-upcoming television series of the same name. Of course, the role ended up going to Lou Ferigno instead.
While Ted Cassidy’s large stature granted to the actor as a result of his acromegaly, Lou Ferigno proved a more sustainable choice for the Incredible Hulk because his stature came as a result of his naturally large size and his bodybuilding routine. Though Lou would play the role of the Hulk, some recordings of Ted Cassidy used for the character’s otherworldly roars over the course of the series, even after Ted’s 1979 passing. Join Facts Verse as we explore how Ted Cassidy’s cause of death is what made him the perfect Lurch.
By the end of the 1970s, Ted’s acromegaly was getting worse. While the actor had been able to live with the condition before, it was now beginning to affect his vital functions. It became clear that Ted was going to need to undergo heart surgery in order to live. Sadly, said surgery resulted in complications that ended up killing the actor anyways. These complications arose while the actor was at home recovering, and he passed away on January 16, 1979. At the time of his death, Ted was only 46 years old.
Although Ted Cassidy’s acromegaly-induced height made him the perfect stature to portray the character of butler Lurch on The Addams Family, the condition also sadly resulted in the actor’s untimely and tragic death. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Ted Cassidy kidnapped William Shatner during the filming of an episode of Star Trek, and that The Addams Family actor suffered from the same condition as Andre the Giant? As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!