Lisa Loring, the original Wednesday Addams who played the spooky scion in the 1960s sitcom The Addams Family, has died at the age of 64.
The news of Lisa Loring’s death was announced by friends on social media, who said she had slipped into a coma and died Jan. 28.
Close friend Laurie Jacobson announced the news Sunday night via Facebook, and described how Loring “suffered a massive stroke brought on by smoking and high blood pressure” four days ago. She was on life support for three days until her family “made the difficult decision to remove it and she passed last night.”
“She is embedded in the tapestry that is pop culture and in our hearts always as Wednesday Addams,” Jacobson wrote.
“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.”
Loring’s death comes on the heels of a resurgence in popularity for the young Addams, thanks to Jenna Ortega’s portrayal in the hit Netflix series. Ortega had made no comment by the time of publication.
Despite a number of variations over the years—including the iconic ’90s films starring Christina Ricci as Wednesday—Loring was the first to play the character in the TV adaptation of Charles Addams’ New Yorker cartoons. The show ran for two seasons between 1964-1966. Ricci also had not commented by the time of publication.
Loring, who was 8 at the time she filmed the end of the series, was ultimately picked because of her likeness to Carolyn Jones, who played the matriarch Morticia Addams in the series. According to entertainment publicist Danny Deraney, her ability to memorize her lines quickly helped nail her the part.
John Astin, who played patriarch Gomez Addams, is now the only surviving cast member from the original series.
“We were very close and worked together often. I know she was very weak,” said Butch Patrick, who writes a blog on another iconic ’60s sitcom, The Munsters. “I was in her company just a few weeks ago. Godspeed my friend.”
Larry Thomas, who played the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld, wrote that the pair had been friends since they were teenagers. “I am a little too shaken and saddened to make many calls and I know you’d want to know.”
School friend Geoffrey Mark described how he knew Loring as she filmed the series, and revealed she was his first kiss.
“I met Lisa Loring in September of 1965. She used her real name of Lisa DeCinces when we attended Dixie Canyon Elementary School together in Sherman Oaks, CA,” he wrote.
“We were in the same class. She became done with being Wednesday on The Addams Family during that time and was starting to appear on The Pruitts of Southampton with my friend Phyllis Diller. I used to do her homework for her because she had trouble concentrating and was in jeopardy of being held back due to poor grades.
“Her wardrobe was wild – paper dresses, plastic dresses, mini-skirts and go-go boots. She was coquettish and very confused at handling the public actress and the private little girl. I don't think that she ever figured it out.
“She gave me my first kiss on the lips. We were eight. Decades later, I interviewed her on-camera for a documentary that I was writing and producing with Robert Corsini about The Addams Family.
“She was still coquettish, but a hard life filled with bad choices showed on her face. It made me very sad. Lisa has left the building. This makes me even sadder.”
Loring also starred on shows including The Phyllis Diller Show, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. and Fantasy Island, to name a few. She reprised her role as Wednesday in 1977 in the made-for-TV Addams Family movie, Halloween with the New Addams Family.
She last appeared on screen in 2015 as part of the film Doctor Spine.