Twiki from Buck Rogers and Cousin Itt of The Addams Family were played by the same actor

From hair to eternity.

He may have been little more than wig speaking gibberish, but Cousin Itt dreamed of being an actor. At least, that was the plot to "My Fair Cousin Itt," the 1965 season two premiere of The Addams Family. In the episode, Gomez has written a play and hired a prestigious Broadway director to helm the production. The only catch — the big hairball is cast in the lead role.

The Addams Family began as a comic strip in the pages of The New Yorker, but Cousin Itt made his debut on the television series. Writers specifically came up with the Gomez's shaggy cousin as a comedic supporting character, who appeared in 19 episodes. The hairy, diminutive relative sported a bowler hat and sunglasses. Only the Addams could understand the rapid-fire gobbledegook coming out of his… mouth? 

"A producer dreamed it up in some nightmare," explained Felix Silla, the actor underneath all that hair. "It was hot and heavy. Like wearing a brick."

The 3'11" actor did not even have to audition for the role. He simply turned up at casting. The two men behind the casting table took one look at him and gave him the gig. Show up on Monday, they told him.

Silla portrayed Itt for most of the series — another actor portrayed the characters in Itt's last two appearances. He was the only original cast member to returned for a 1973 variety-show pilot called The Addams Family Fun-House (which, interestingly enough, featured Butch Patrick, a.k.a. Eddie Munster, as Pugsley).

Later that decade, Silla landed another iconic supporting role that kept him in total anonymity. He played the robot Twiki on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. Partnered with the brilliant computer Dr. Theopolis, a sort of Lite Brite-meets-emoji that hung around Twiki's neck like a rapper's medallion, the two robots became the R2-D2 and C-3PO of television.

Though Silla did the dirty work of performing the characters on set, he did not voice Cousin Itt or Twiki. A sound editor provided the voice for the Addams character, while cartoon legend Mel Blanc gave the "biddi-biddi-biddi" to Twiki. You best know Blanc as the voice of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. Which means, yes, the voice of Daffy Duck's alter-ego "Duck Dodgers" worked on Buck Rogers.

You can catch Silla himself on MeTV. He romped around with Hoss on Bonanza in the wild St. Patrick's Day episode called "Hoss and the Leprechauns." That's him with Dan Blocker below, on the far left. The Italian-born performer also played an Ewok in Return of the Jedi. Dive deeper into his career at felixsilla.com.

The Everett Collection


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