Lisa Loring, who played the original Wednesday Addams on “The Addams Family” from 1964 to 1966, died Saturday. She was 64 years old. She died from complications from a stroke caused by high blood pressure, per media reports.
Loring is best known for her role in AMC’s macabre comedy, “The Addams Family,” in which she played the adorable-but-morbid Wednesday Addams. Though she only played the creepy pet-collecting, headless doll carrying-character for two years, she set the mold for live-action portrayals of Wednesday for decades to come. Most recently, Jenna Ortega, who plays Wednesday Addams in the Netflix series “Wednesday,” was inspired by Loring’s portrayal of the character, particularly her shimmying dance called “The Drew,” which gained renewed attention when Ortega redid it for the Netflix show.
Loring was born in the Marshall Islands to parents who had served in the Navy. She lived in Hawaii before coming to Los Angeles with her mother. She started modeling at age three and then was cast in an episode of medical drama “Dr. Kildare” in 1964, making it her first television appearance.
After “The Addams Family” ended after two seasons, Loring joined Phyllis Diller’s sitcom “The Pruitts of Southampton.” It wasn’t the last time she’d visit Wednesday, though; most of the original “Addams Family” cast reunited in 1977 for the NBC telefilm “Halloween With the New Addams Family.”
Loring went on to make appearances on several series, including “The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.,” “Fantasy Island” and “Barnaby Jones,” before securing a recurring role as Cricket Montgomery on “As the World Turns” from 1980 to 1983.
Loring then appeared in a few slasher films in the late 1980s, including “Bloody Frenzy” and “Savage Harbor” in 1987 and “Iced” in 1988. She also worked as a makeup artist on adult films under the name “Maxine Factor.”
Butch Patrick, who played Eddie Munster on “The Munsters,” remembered the actress on Facebook, writing, “Very sorry to hear of my dear friend Lisa Loring’s passing. 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.”
She is survived by two daughters, Marianne and Vanessa, and her grandchildren, Charles and Emiliano.