Ken Weatherwax got bullied for playing Pugsley

The Army helped the child actor move past the tough time with high school bullies and come to embrace his famous character once again.

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"All that kid stuff is behind me now," Pugsley tells his parents at the start of The Addams Family episode "Pugsley’s Allowance."

He’s just given away his new toy, an "atomic reactor," to a friend, declaring what he needs more than toys is money.

The rest of the episode finds Pugsley job-hunting, to the horror of his parents who feel Addams family members are so wealthy, they do not need to work.

For actor Ken Weatherwax, this episode came near the end of The Addams Family’s original run, at a time when the child actor wasn’t sure if he wanted to keep on acting, so he quit.

Returning to school when the show ended, Weatherwax did not realize that his TV fame would lead many kids to pick on him out in the real world.

"It was after the show got cancelled that I began having problems, like going to public school and having to put up with the bullies and that type of thing," Weatherwax said in a 2001 interview.

Weatherwax was the type of kid who didn’t stand down to bullies, and that meant he got into scraps with a lot of other boys, all because he played Pugsley — a role he loved.

"I got kicked out of several high schools," Weatherwax said, explaining that he joined the Army when he was 17 years old because he felt he ran out of options.

"I was given a choice: go in the Army or go into the Young Offenders Program until I was 25," Weatherwax said. "So I chose the Army."

Weatherwax said he chose wisely. Not only did the Army help him fight back that combative side, but it also helped him realize the kind of job he really wanted to do: not in front of, but behind the camera.

"It matured me a bit," Weatherwax said of his time in the Army. "And then after I got out of the service, I went right back into the studios as a grip, behind the camera."

As an actor, Weatherwax appeared on The Addams Family and once on Wagon Train in the Sixties, and in the Seventies, he would occasionally return to voice Pugsley on rare projects.

By that point, Weatherwax had already discovered how much more he enjoyed working as a grip, finding creative ways to prop up the camera using tripods, dollies, cranes and rigs.

As a hands-on kind of guy building machinery to achieve desired camera effects like smooth glides or odd angles, Weatherwax fit the part just as well as a grip as he did playing Pugsley, the handy genius who built his own "toys" like guillotines and racks.

"I absolutely love my job," Weatherwax said of being a grip. "Love it. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do."

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OtherBill 30 months ago
Glad he found some happiness. He made the greatest faces as Pugsley. Not even trying, he just made these goofy faces in background.
OliviaK 33 months ago
This story makes it sound like Ken is alive and well. He passed away in 2014 at the age of 59. An acquaintance of mine from Dearly Departed Tours and Museum, Scott Michaels, raised the money to pay for Ken’s internment. He had a lonely end to his life. He was related to Ken Weatherwax, the trainer of Lassie, and Ruby Keeler, and classic Hollywood dancer and actress.
badmonkeys99 OliviaK 30 months ago
Rudd Weatherwax.
DZee 33 months ago
Unfortunately when he passed there wasn't any money for a proper burial site but thanks to friends and an on-line group, they purchased a cemetery niche for his remains. (You can find the ceremony on You-Tube.)
OliviaK DZee 33 months ago
Scott Michaels was the person who raised the money. He had Dearly Departed Tours and an artifact museum in Hollywood. They are now gone, Covid ended the business, but he still does interesting videos on YouTube. Scott has raised money for the burial or internment and/or grave markers for a few of Hollywood’s forgotten people.
MikefromJersey 33 months ago
One Halloween me and my 3 buddies(one a girl) went Trick or Treating down Elm street in Westfield
dressed as Pugsley. We went to the house that inspired the Addams mansion but no one was home.
We did go over to Charles Addams old house and scored. Charles was a weird kid, he usually
hung out in the graveyard downtown next to the park.
When he was a teen he was a wild child, stole cars, but the WPD won't release his mug shots
because it doesn't reflect well on the town and the annual Addams Fest, which attracts
scores of thousands of fans.
Arnied 33 months ago
For heaven sakes, Ken died in 2014. He’s gone.
BarnabyMannix Arnied 33 months ago
It's only John Astin & Lisa Loring now
JHP 33 months ago
just kidding - did Ken go into Demotions in the army?
VernCaldwell JHP 33 months ago
Did you mean Demolitions.
JHP VernCaldwell 33 months ago
yep - sorry

"ah Dear Pugsley:)" (BOOM!)
DonnaNMI 33 months ago
I’m guessing he was bullied for being overweight more than for the role he played. Kids are very mean about size and looks. Seems odd he would be bullied for being a well known character on a very popular show.
JHP DonnaNMI 33 months ago
kids are mean ONLY because mom and dad have those snippy two cent opinions
OliviaK DonnaNMI 33 months ago
“Pugsley” became such a taunt. I was a 60’s kid and remember a boy at school people teased and called Pugsley. I cannot imagine how difficult it was for
Ken to be on such an iconic show as a kid, have extra weight, and a name like Pugsley. The kids must have been cruel to him.
OliviaK JHP 33 months ago
I disagree. There were kids in my grade school with very nice parents who were horrible to other kids at school. Kids do plenty of bad behavior when mommy isn’t looking; especially if it gets them attention. We had a kid at my school who was always taunted and called either Pugsley or Larry Mondello, because of his similar body type to those characters. I’d bet the parents had no idea.
Runeshaper 33 months ago
I'm glad that Ken was able to overcome the issues he faced and that he was able to find a job that he loved. On a side note, bullies need to be educated and guided. It's just not cool to pick on people, regardless of the situation.
WGH Runeshaper 33 months ago
Bullies need to be beat.
JHP WGH 33 months ago
like a tom-tom
Coldnorth 33 months ago
Now bullies think they have greater power behind keyboards.
OldTVfanatic Coldnorth 33 months ago
Nothing I hate more than bullies.
Gahlok12 Coldnorth 33 months ago
So true
Zip 33 months ago
He should have had Ted Cassidy come with him in full Lurch makeup just one day to the school he was bullied in. And then just stare at them. They never would have bullied him again.

I am glad he found joy in being a grip around the studios.
JHP Zip 33 months ago
Zip-a-doodle so correct - Ill bet ted would have done it too:)
Pacificsun 33 months ago
This poor gentleman passed away in 2014!!

And yes he was related to Lassie's trainer.
I'm glad there was a link to the original interview though.
CoreyC Pacificsun 33 months ago
His older brother played Porky on Lassie.
bagandwallyfan52 33 months ago
Ken Westherwax (Pugsley)and
And Lisa Loring were perfect
Choices to play the children
On the Addams Family.
Wednesday and Pugsley
Had some of the funniest
Lines on this show.
Christina Ricci was also great
As Wednesday in the 2 Addams
Family movies.
Ken and Lisa reprised their
Roles as Pugsley and Wednesday
In the 1977 reunion movie called
Halloween With The Addams
Family.My favorite episode of the Addams Family isthe
Halloween Episode with
Don Rickles and Skip Homier
As bank robbers Marty and
Claude hiding from the police
At the Addams Family home.
I also like The Munsters seen
I would also like to see an
Article on Lisa Loring(Wednesday Addams).
Well they just had one in May 2021
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