Ken Weatherwax: Child actor who found roles difficult to come by after playing Pugsley in the 1960s series 'The Addams Family'

 

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The Independent Online

Ken Weatherwax was a child actor who played Pugsley, the talented but devious son of the house, in The Addams Family television series in the 1960s.

He was the son of Gomez and Morticia, patriarch and matriarch of the family of macabre oddballs in the television series, which first went out in the US from 1964 to 1966 and was an instant hit with its familiar, finger-snapping theme song.

A nephew of Ruby Keeler, who partnered Dick Powell in several successful musicals, he first appeared with the rest of the family in the 1930s in the New Yorker series of cartoons by Charles Addams, who described him as “An energetic monster of a boy … Genius in his own way, he makes toy guillotines, full size racks, threatens to poison his sister, can turn himself into a Mr Hyde with an ordinary chemical set… His voice is hoarse… he is sometimes allowed an occasional cigar.” He was less dark on TV, a jovial inventor who builds a disintegrator gun, a computer and a robot.

After the series ended in 1966 after only two seasons Weatherwax was afflicted by the curse of the child star. Typecast, he struggled to find other roles, though he appeared as Pugsley Sr in the 1977 television film Halloween with the New Addams Family.

He did eventually  work in the film business, but on the other side of the camera, as a grip, or lighting and rigging technician, on the sets of several Hollywood productions, according to his half brother Joey D Vieira, a former actor himself who played the character Porky in the original Lassie series. Weatherwax, who died of a heart attack, retired a few years ago for medical reasons, Vieira said.

Kenneth Patrick Weatherwax, actor and film grip: born Los Angeles 29 September 1955; died West Hills, California 7 December 2014.

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