John Astin fought the good fight to keep Gomez from being bald

He convinced the network that Gomez needed to be more attractive to win over Morticia — and the audience.

One of the funniest episodes of the first season of The Addams Family is called "The Winning of Morticia Addams."

The premise finds Uncle Fester certain that his overly romantic brother and his smitten wife were actually harboring deep resentment for one another.

He felt it was natural for couples to fight and was worried the fact that Morticia and Gomez never found a single flaw in one another meant that they would soon explode in rage.

For actor John Astin, the romance between Gomez and Morticia was serious business, though.

He did see them as an impossible ideal, as Fester suggests, but it was actually at the actor's fervent urging that the couple became as romantic as they were.

"I thought that the romance between Gomez and Morticia should be on the grand scale," Astin told the Television Academy. "They would have a relationship of great passion."

Astin told producer David Levy his idea and together they made sure the magic between Gomez and Morticia was written to seem continually charged.

At this point in the show's development, the role of Morticia had not yet been cast. Astin was only basing his idea off the romantic nature of the Charles Addams cartoons featuring the famous goth couple.

As part of his development of Gomez, Astin studied these cartoons, but he put his foot down when the network told him they expected him to shave his head to appear bald like the cartoon.

He wasn't doing it to be vain, he said. He was doing it out of his love for Morticia.

"I had arguments with the network," Astin said. "They wanted to shave my head to resemble the cartoon, and I wanted to look more attractive. I thought that would work better. And it turns out that's one of the strongest elements of the show is the Gomez-Morticia relationship."

Finding the right Morticia took time, and Astin even had some of his closest friends audition for the role. Nobody fit.

"I mean, some beautiful women tested for it, too," Astin said. "Just no one, not even our friends, seemed quite right for it."

Desperate for the right romantic interest for his super-romantic characterization of Gomez, Astin was thrilled when the idea was floated to offer the part to Carolyn Jones.

And she was into it. She just had one problem with her future husband Gomez that she needed to resolve before she became his TV bride.

"Carolyn loved the idea," Astin said. "The only thing was she wanted to be billed first."

Since Astin got signed first, his contract had already guaranteed that he would have top billing.

However, Astin's heart already belonged to Carolyn for the role, so he acted as gentlemanly as Gomez, crossing the line out of his contract and elevating his bride to the pedestal she expected to be put on.

"My contract said first billing, but I said no problem," Astin said, emphasizing that this was no sacrifice. "I’m glad I did. We couldn't have found anybody better."

Once Jones was signed, Astin was fully committed to keeping the heat turned up between his character — looking debonair with a head full of hair — and Carolyn's. He said he could tell that she was all in, too.

"We liked each other, and we both had a sense of humor," Astin said. "Our senses of humor were different, but they meshed very nicely."

Their bond was so strong, Astin said they became friends for life and after she passed away, he still missed her. Especially her laugh, he said, as if recalling his real-life soulmate.

"Carolyn had a great laugh," Astin said. "Just working with her, when she laughed, it was a wonderful thing. She had humor just in her."

 
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CouchPotato19 11 months ago
I always wondered why he didn't speak with a Spanish accent, seeing as his name was Gomez and the cartoon character appeared to be of Spanish or Mexican descent.
bewitched64 12 months ago
John Astin delivered the eulogy at Carolyn Jones' funeral.
Coldnorth 12 months ago
My favorite character is uncle fester. He always was the most interesting to me and always made me laugh. All of the characters had a unique way of being funny.
KitKat67 12 months ago
As a kid seeing these shows in reruns, the most romantic and "real" TV marriages to me were always the Munsters' and the Addams'. Lily and Herman had arguments and misunderstandings, but there was a deep affection at the core, plus they were the only TV couple sharing the same bed.
The Addams', on the other hand, always acted like they were going to run off for a passionate interlude at a moment's notice, or had been interrupted in the middle of one.
Both couple's relationships were rock solid, and the weirdness of their lifestyles seemed normal compared to the Cleaver's or the family of "Father Knows Best", which always struck me as phony and antiseptic.
Pacificsun KitKat67 12 months ago
How old a kid were you?
MikefromJersey 12 months ago
I recall reading in Parade - perhaps as long ago as the 1980's - that Astin was quite the Ladies Man.
Patty Duke would get irate at all the women who made passes at him. That surprised me, I thought
of him as just another regular schnook. Maybe one of the ladies here could enlighten me, did Astin
have that 'certain something' as the French say?
My favorite Astin TV role was when he guest starred on Bonanza, he stole that episode with ease
from the regular cast. It seemed like a potential pilot to me, the way it was written.
And it seems to me that his Evil Roy Slade(1972) was an inspiration for Mel Brooks
Blazing Saddles, the vibe is unmistakable.
KitKat67 MikefromJersey 12 months ago
I always thought he was cute in a quirky way, and he made me laugh, which means a lot in a relationship.
"Je ne sais quois" means literally "I don't know what" in French for that special indefinable "something".
Yes, I know...I wrote in French.
😘
Pacificsun MikefromJersey 12 months ago
There are some actors who act and get the job done. And there are some actors who believe in the role so much they do more than act. That is John Astin. Don't think he could do anything half-heartedly, or just for the check. So in answer to the question of attraction, that's what people sense when it's genuine. That the ladies sought after him, unquestionably. How did he respond is another, and if not behind anyone's back, then perhaps it was reciprocal flirtation. Patty Duke had some other issues going on, and trust might've been part of it. Also "Rags" of the day (like Parade and others) needed to catch the reader's interest. Buy hunch is that Mr. Astin was (and is) an above board guy. He seems to have plenty of depth.
justjeff 12 months ago
...and yet...
justjeff justjeff 12 months ago
Here's an early picture of John. It's somewhat obvious that by the time he started on The Addams Family his hair was starting to thin out. Later pictures show many comb-overs and even some unflattering toupees... I'm glad that in later years, Astin became secure with himself about his balness - like Sean Connery, Willard Scott, etc.
CouchPotato19 justjeff 11 months ago
Quite a proboscis!
justjeff CouchPotato19 11 months ago
As Jimmy Durante used to say... "The nose knows what the nose knows!"
tsgabel 12 months ago
I just LOVED this show! I was 14 when it began and loved the quirky sweetness of the characters - except for Lurch however, but he was great too. He didn't have to say much, but his size, his actions and his "growl" made him very funny. Even now, at age 70, I watch the show and laugh. It's very nostalgic for me and I'm glad it was only ever filmed in black & white. Not everyone had color TV back then (we didn't) and anyway, color would have ruined the ambiance.
CoreyC tsgabel 12 months ago
Look what color did to The Andy Griffith Show. It sucked.
JHP 12 months ago
John Astin - top notch tv actor - I wish I had his vim and vigor
sputnik_57 12 months ago
OK, I have to admit the Gomez-Morticia thing is the main reason I like the show. It would have been cool if he had an odd haircut...for those days...his hair like the cartoon character.
I wonder if Astin really was standing on his head or if it was a camera trick...?
MrsPhilHarris 12 months ago
Why would they want him bald when the cartoon wasn’t? 🤔
harlow1313 MrsPhilHarris 12 months ago
A haircut like the cartoon would have added a nice touch to the show's absurdity.

That absurdity is what I like most about the show. I feel the same about "Green Acres."
KJExpress MrsPhilHarris 12 months ago
I was thinking the same thing about the cartoon character not being bald. Unless they wanted him to shave the sides of his head and just have that little bit on top? 🤷‍♀️
MrsPhilHarris KJExpress 12 months ago
Oh maybe that’s it. Shaved on the sides.
KitKat67 KJExpress 12 months ago
That haircut is actually popular now with skateboarders. The extra hair on top helps cushion the head and makes the helmet fit better, while the shaved sides are supposed to be aerodynamic and cut wind resistance.
madvincent 12 months ago
Good for him
He had the best gig at the time ,up close with Morticia, most guys in ‘65 wished they had that chance
JHP madvincent 12 months ago
amen - a - roni
RobertM 12 months ago
A woman with top billing over a man?
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LoveMETV22 justjeff 12 months ago
Your opinion is as important as anyone's. There are *some* great actors today. But there are great actors then there are "legendary" actors. Perhaps some of todays greats will be the "legends of tomorrow". It's all a matter of opinion.
ETristanBooth justjeff 12 months ago
"Bette Davis is a prime example of a female lead who commanded top billing - and got it..."

And deserved it.
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 12 months ago
Check out Cleopatra. At the time Ms. Taylor earned the most money for any starring movie role.
LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 12 months ago
How true. She is a legend among legends.
harlow1313 12 months ago
The show was fraught with handsome fellows; Itt. Lurch, Fester, and even young Pugsley. Lots of pin-up boys for the ladies and gay chaps.
harlow1313 12 months ago
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harlow1313 stephaniestavr5 12 months ago
Well, I am mostly being silly. They're not the best looking fellows. Thank you for mentioning the show's ladies.

I, of course, am opposed to the act of pedophilia, but I am forced to appreciate those burdened with the desire, but never act on it, realizing the terrible harm it would cause. Fortunately, I am not cursed with such a burden.
JHP harlow1313 12 months ago
all I want to say is

thank you Me-Tv for broadcasting the show - it is a rose plant in a weed field
Pacificsun stephaniestavr5 12 months ago
Alright let’s give this a little different twist. Harlow1313 has been known to mix things up with a bit of humor sometimes. So let’s ask who exactly would be lusting after Lurch. Male or Female. I thought his makeup was very successful. Fester was comedy rolled into a ball of fun (pun intended) and I don’t think the intention of the character was to promote his GQ model worthy attraction. Even young Pugsley would appeal to a select set of admirers but I don’t think he would be the darling of just anyone.

In so painting the picture of who’s pinning up their personal heartthrobs, what's the point of defining male or female interests, nor does the gender division matter or need a comment. Particularly regarding the Addams Family which is already beyond the bounds. Anyway I noticed no mention of Grandmama (Blossom Rock) on behalf of the older crowd, should we be attributing that oversight to ageism. My point is, that it’s sad to see the reference to pedophilia in there at all since whatever is perceived is always in the eye of the beholder and that can't be fixed. Let’s let this wonderful little fantasy Show continue being an experience of sheer escapism!
Pacificsun harlow1313 12 months ago
"but I am forced to *appreciate those burdened with the desire."

*oops ...
harlow1313 Pacificsun 12 months ago
I likely have an unnecessary comma. It might read better: "but I am forced to appreciate those burdened with the desire but never act on it,"
LoveMETV22 12 months ago
Well that was gentlemanly of Astin to step aside and allow Jone's top billing. The two of them really had a good working relationship on the show.
LoveMETV22 12 months ago
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Pacificsun LoveMETV22 12 months ago
I believe Carolyn Jones already had a bit more prestige regarding her movie career although I welcome corrections. Character actors would fall below Guest starring actors and probably be working in the role of supporting. But I haven't read the Billing and Emmy classifications for a long time.
LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 12 months ago
Astin had top billing for the program and allowed Carolyn her wish as it says in the article. It is mentioned in several bios on the show and them , so as far as I can tell the info is correct.
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