Actor Theodore Crawford ‘‘Ted’’ Cassidy (July 31, 1932-January 16, 1979) was known best for his role as Lurch in The Addams Family television program. He was born in Pittsburgh and raised in Philippi. Cassidy was six feet, one inch tall by the age of 11, eventually growing to six feet, nine inches. After high school, he attended but did not graduate from West Virginia Wesleyan College, then left West Virginia for a career in radio. Working as a staff announcer for WFAA radio in Dallas, he was part of the station’s coverage of John F. Kennedy’s assassination and was among the first to interview eyewitnesses. Within a year, Cassidy moved to California to pursue an acting career.
In 1964, Cassidy secured the television role that would make him famous. His unusual height and deep voice made him a natural fit for Lurch, the hulking butler of the comically ghoulish Addams family. Although the show was canceled in 1965, Cassidy continued to play small television roles well into the 1970s. His appearances include I Dream of Jeannie, Star Trek, Bonanza, and The Six Million Dollar Man. Cassidy also provided voices for animated cartoons such as Space Ghost, The Super Friends, and Scooby Doo.
Ted Cassidy died from complications following heart surgery. His remains were cremated and then buried in the backyard of his Woodland Hills, California, home.
This Article was written by C. Belmont Keeney
Last Revised on June 20, 2013
Cite This Article
Keeney, C. Belmont "Ted Cassidy." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 20 June 2013. Web. 27 April 2015.