The actress was just five years old when she starred in the 1964 TV adaptation of Charles Addams’ macabre cartoons, a performance that marked the character for decades.
Lisa Loring, the actor who played Wednesday Addams in the first film adaptation of The Addams Family, has died of a stroke at the age of 64.
Loring died Saturday night at a hospital surrounded by family, her daughter told Variety.
“She walked peacefully with both daughters holding her hand,” she said.
Loring’s personal friend, author Laurie Jacobson, wrote on Facebook that Loring “suffered a massive stroke caused by smoking and high blood pressure” and was on life support for three days before her family decided to remove him over the weekend.
Jacobson paid tribute to “Loring’s legacy in the entertainment world,” writing, “She is embedded in the tapestry that is pop culture and in our hearts always as Wednesday Addams.”
Loring played Wednesday Addams from 1964 to 1966 in the first adaptation of Charles Addams’ New Yorker cartoons, taking over the role when she was just five years old.
Her performance as the ghoulish Addams daughter, with her gothic style and classic tails, reverberated through film and TV, greatly influencing subsequent depictions of the character.
Wednesday lives on with the help of Netflix
A recent Netflix adaptation starring Jenna Ortega has spawned a viral dance inspired by Loring’s angular moves from the original series. Ortega thanked Loring when the dance gained popularity online.
Loring was born Lisa Ann DeCinces in the Marshall Islands in 1958, later moving to Hawaii and then Los Angeles with her mother. She began modeling when she was three years old and landed her first television role soon after in the medical drama Dr. Kildare.
After appearing as Wednesday Addams, she went on to play roles in the sitcom The Pruitts of Southampton and the spy drama The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., before being cast in a recurring role in As the World Turns, a daytime long-running soap.
She also appeared in a number of slashers in the late 1980s, including Blood Frenzy, Iced and Savage Harbor.
Around the same time, she worked as a makeup artist on the set of the adult film Traci’s Big Trick – where she met her third husband, adult film actor Jerry Butler, on set.
Her marriage to Butler was the source of much media interest, and the couple had several public disputes over Loring’s dissatisfaction with Butler’s continued involvement in the adult film industry. They eventually divorced in 1992.
Loring is survived by her daughters, Marianne and Vanessa, and her grandchildren, Emiliana and Charles.