Skip to main content

Home TV TV News

Lisa Loring, the original Wednesday Addams, has died at 64

Her portrayal influenced the likes of Jenna Ortega

By Joe Goggins

Lisa Loring in a screengrab from The Addams Family, 1960s
Loring took on the role of Wednesday at the age of five. (Photo: YouTube)

Lisa Loring, who played Wednesday Addams in the first screen adaptation of The Addams Family, has died at the age of 64.

According to Variety, Loring died in hospital on Saturday night (January 28), surrounded by her family. She had suffered a stroke. Her daughter, Vanessa Foumberg, said “she went peacefully with both her daughters holding her hands.”

Loring played Wednesday in the television adaptation of Charles Addams’ New Yorker cartoons between 1964 and 1966, starting out in the role at the age of just five. Her depiction of the character has gone on to heavily influence subsequent portrayals, including in last year’s Netflix series Wednesday, which is the second-most watched English-language Netflix series in the history of the platform, having racked up over a billion viewing hours around the globe.

That series inspired a viral dance craze that was inspired by Loring’s moves in the original series; Jenna Ortega, who plays the lead in Wednesday, acknowledged her influence on Twitter last November. After The Addams Family, Loring went on to star in the sitcom The Pruitts of Southampton and the espionage drama The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., before landing a part on the long-running soap opera As the World Turns.

In the eighties, she became a mainstay in slasher movies, appearing in the likes of Blood Frenzy, Iced and Savage Harbor. She also worked as makeup artist, meeting her third husband, Jerry Butler, on the set of the adult film Traci’s Big Trick. Her marriage to Butler provoked tabloid interest, owing especially to a number of high-profile spats between the pair over his ongoing involvement in the adult industry.

Per The Guardian, the author Laurie Jacobson, a personal friend of Loring’s, went into more detail about her passing in a post on Facebook, blaming her “massive” stroke on “smoking and high blood pressure” and revealing that Loring had been on life support for three days before her family made the decision to discontinue it at the weekend. 

“She is embedded in the tapestry that is pop culture and in our hearts always as Wednesday Addams,” said Jacobson, as she paid tribute too Loring’s “legacy in the world of entertainment”. She is survived by two daughters and two grandchildren.