Lurch helped Ted Cassidy embrace his massive height

At the age of 11, the actor was already 6 feet tall. It wasn’t until he entered the Addams Family mansion that he got over his towering insecurities.

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We're used to seeing Lurch on The Addams Family opening doors, uttering "Uhhh" and declaring in a booming tone, "You rang?"

"My mother can't believe it's my voice," Ted Cassidy told The Daily News in 1965. "But it is. I just deepen it a bit."

But in The Addams Family episode "Lurch's Grand Romance," we watched the six-foot-nine butler attempt to woo one of Morticia's friends Tiny Trivia, and this showed a different side of Lurch.

Here, instead of lumbering from door to door as ordered, he’s attempting to learn modern dance and even spend a scene serenading the apple of his eye.

For Cassidy, playing Lurch could almost be described as an impulse. He'd moved his family to Hollywood to try acting, thinking he'd make a good heavy, and he was so green, he made his own film reel on his own to audition for The Addams Family.

"It's all like a wild fairy story to me, the way I am suddenly on a national show, when I had almost no acting experience," Cassidy told the Oakland Tribune in 1964.

As a boy growing up, Cassidy didn't love being the tallest kid on his block.

In fact, he said he was ashamed of his great height and had no idea how he got to be so tall. His dad was 5'9" and his mom 5'8"!

He felt very alone, and he began walking about with his head in the clouds.

"I even hated to go to school," Cassidy said. "I was actually ashamed of being so much bigger than the other kids. And I was awkward. At the age of 11, I was a six-footer and tripping over my own feet. I had a miserable, unhappy childhood and wouldn’t go through it again for anything in the world."

By the time he got cast as Lurch, Cassidy had come to terms with his freakish stature, and of course, he credited his extraordinary height for landing him the role.

"They were looking for someone to play the butler’s role who was hulking and ungainly," Cassidy said. "I guess they figured I measured up to the description."

When playing the towering butler, Cassidy naturally had his own perspective on the character.

"I tried to arrive at an intellectual concept of Lurch," Cassidy said. "Inside, he's a gentle man. Like Frankenstein was gentle. As our director said, the Addams all have navels. That means we're not monsters, you know — we don't crawl out from under a fog. We're just a peaceful family, and we don't seem peculiar to ourselves."

But that didn't mean fans saw Lurch the same way, and it made meeting fans in the real world slightly uncomfortable for Cassidy, who was forever seen as Lurch from that point on, one and the same person.

"I can see it in their eyes that they think I'm dim-witted and sluggish," Cassidy said. "They look at me as if I were a circus giant and talk to me in condescending tones. It makes me very antagonistic toward them right at the start."

At home, though, Cassidy's kids could certainly tell the difference between Lurch the Butler and Cassidy the father.

"When they watch The Addams Family, my kids look on Lurch as something made of celluloid," Cassidy said. "He’s make-believe. My daughter, Cameron, will say to me, 'Look! Lurch is doing so-and-so.' To her, Lurch is strictly a TV character; I’m her Daddy."

It took him more than half his life to accept that being 6'9" was a positive quality after all. That didn’t mean he wouldn't shave off a couple of inches if given the chance, though.

"I'm extremely pleased about my height," Cassidy said in 1965. "Though if I took a hardnosed view of the matter, the ideal size would be 6'6"."

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warmvanilla 34 months ago
Why we got do all this just to see the shows on metv
RB 35 months ago
I can relate, not completely, but to a large extent. As a girl, I matured early. From third grade onward, I was the tallest and most physically developed child in my age group, until high school when the other kids started to catch up. Today I'm of average height, but consider that I've been this height since elementary school. Back then, taller than all of my classmates and even some of my teachers, I was considered a big, giant, freakish-looking galoot. And treated accordingly. The worst part about it, I think, was that it was open season on me, and I was never allowed to defend myself. They could pick on me all they wanted. If anyone saw me fighting back, *I* was considered the bully and given the "pick on someone your own size" speech.
MichaelPowers 35 months ago
Ted was an intelligent gent and a fine actor. Unfortunately he was usually typecast by unimaginative Hollywood in roles as characters who were dull witted.
Gene Roddenberry cast him in the futuristic science-fiction TV pilot movies "Genesis II," which was followed by "Planet Earth." GII garnered interest by the network but they wanted to see a second pilot of the same concept of a post-apocalyptic earth that was starting to revive from war.

The pilot was not picked up which was a shame as it had tremendous potential.

Ted would have been a regular cast member; an American-Indian named Isiah.

Even then Ted was somewhat typecast. Isiah was played just like Indians were in countless western films and television series. He was stoic, talked little, and had a serious & grim expression.

I always wondered why? Why couldn't he have played as a regular person who spoke with the best of 'em, was expressive, had humor?
Ric 35 months ago
Greetings .Consider the wisdom of Lurch. He would quietly peruse the goings on around him and say nothing. He missed nothing and always acted accordingly. Discretion is the better part of valor. Bravo, Mr. Cassidy!
tootsieg 35 months ago
Ted Cassidy was also in the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”. He played one of the guys in the Hole-In-the-wall gang. Was on TCM a few weeks ago.
PhoneJoe 35 months ago
And my personal opinion the taller the hotter you are!!

And the bigger the brain the larger the intelligence!!

Case closed
UTZAAKE 35 months ago
Article reminded me of this Miller Lite commercial featuring a Stetson Hatter and a Kansas Jayhawk.
FrankCollins 35 months ago
Of course, Ted Cassidy reached the absolute heights, when he appeared in a Star Trek episode, because now he will figuratively live forever.
cseeley90 FrankCollins 35 months ago
He played Ruk in "What Are Little Girls Made Of?".
Mannixishot 35 months ago
"I can see it in their eyes that they think I'm dim-witted and sluggish," Cassidy said. "They look at me as if I were a circus giant and talk to me in condescending tones. It makes me very antagonistic toward them right at the start."

That quote's pretty sad. I could maybe understand a very young child not knowing the difference between an actor and a fictional character. If you're older and you still approach the actor and think he's going to be exactly like his tv character, yeah, that's just sad you can't tell real from fiction. I hope he met some fans that could tell the difference between real and fake.
Zip Mannixishot 35 months ago
"I could maybe understand a very young child not knowing the difference between an actor and a fictional character. If you're older and you still approach the actor and think he's going to be exactly like his tv character, yeah, that's just sad you can't tell real from fiction."

Happens to a lot of actors, unfortunately. Of course, with his size being such a big part of not only his characters but also his real life, it was probably doubly harder if not impossible to distance himself from the characters he played. Other actors could change their hairstyle, their clothes, etc. You can't change your height.
WGH 35 months ago
I am a 6'7" adult who was 6 feet tall by 12 years of age, so I get what he says about insecurities. People do assume that you're lower intellect because you're bigger.

I have an MD and a Masters of public health and I'm one of the top public health physicians in the state.

Here in West Virginia, we celebrate "Lurch Fest" in Princeton West Virginia every single year. We are proud to call him a fellow West Virginia.

And him wanting to be a few inches shorter is no surprise. We don't fit into sports cars. We don't even fit into regular cars very well. I pretty much have to own a pick up truck.

My son just turned 13 and is 6 feet tall. he's going to have to face some of the same stuff.

LoveMETV22 WGH 35 months ago
I had an uncle that was if not a little taller than Ted Cassidy was. He had a few issues but none that all public info reports TC had. He was very intelligent and successful in his career and life and never showed any insecurities. It's good TC came to terms with his personal issues as he should. What others thought of him showed their lack of knowledge or compassion. But their are many other afflictions/disorders (not just height) or what ever you choose to call them that famous or just ordinary people face and conquer all the time that may not receive the same amount of attention.
OVkid WGH 35 months ago
There is a "Lurch Fest" in Phillipi where Ted Cassidy lived for a while when he was a kid.
RB WGH 35 months ago
"People do assume that you're lower intellect because you're bigger." I agree. It was my experience too. I was treated like a complete idiot even though I was making straight A's and winning spelling bees. I think the stereotype comes from assuming that because you're bigger than your classmates, you must have been left back a year or two.
JohnnyBoyohBoy 35 months ago
I did some research on Cassidy a couple years back and posted it on Youtube. He was a gifted child and at age 6 he was promoted to the third grade. He was bullied a lot as a kid by the older kids. As an actor, his pet peeve was being confused with another actor Ted Kiel (Jaws in the Bond films) because he felt Kiel was a poor actor and he felt insulted by that. He said that if people can't tell the difference he was thinking of quitting acting. He was extremely smart and it really bothered him that many people saw him as a big, stupid thug. It would have been nice to see him in some roles that didn't focus just on his size.
Tresix JohnnyBoyohBoy 35 months ago
The actor who played Jaws was named RICHARD Kiel. He died in 2014.
JohnnyBoyohBoy Tresix 35 months ago
You're right, that was an accident because I'd been writing about Cassidy. TED Cassidy would not be pleased.
Zip 35 months ago
I can't imagine a giant like Cassidy having insecurities. But then, you can't judge a book by its cover.
I understand he also had a giant heart as well.
justjeff Zip 35 months ago
He had a giant heart that [unfortunately] dkid him in at a young age. From Wikipedia:

"Cassidy underwent surgery at St. Vincent Joseph Medical Center in Los Angeles to have a benign tumor removed from his heart. The tumor had formed as a result of the long-term effects of the condition acromegaly, which was also responsible for his iconic deep voice, facial structure, and overall tall stature. Complications arose several days later while he was recuperating at home. He was readmitted to the same hospital, where he died on January 16, 1979, at age 46. He was cremated and his ashes were buried in his backyard."
WGH justjeff 35 months ago
As a 6'7" physician, it seems more likely that he had gigantism and not acromegaly. You can Google the difference if you're curious.

And not everyone over 6'5" has a genetic/medical condition.

I will say that a kindhearted six-foot 10 inch orthopedic surgeon did something for me in med school I'll never forget. He went into his personal collection and got me some extra extra tall scrubs to wear in the hospital. He said something like… "Us tall guys have to stick together" , and then smiled. I'd never met the guy before.
justjeff WGH 35 months ago
Great story. As for what I'd posted, I'm no medical expert... I'd simply cut-and-pasted that portion of the Wikipedia article. As for me, I'm 6'2" tall, and feel like a shrimp next to you... "Eh.... What's *UP*, Doc?"
justjeff 35 months ago
I remember reading much the same thing about actor Rondo Hatten and "Andre the Giant." Such brave men.
harlow1313 35 months ago
I love the misfits and oddballs. I have a loose screw.
WGH harlow1313 35 months ago
You're a terrible person. Seek attention somewhere else you child. From all accounts, Cassidy with a far better man than you.
harlow1313 WGH 35 months ago
Your comment strikes me as somewhat disconnected.
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