Today is the 82nd birthday of Ted Cassidy.
NAME: Ted Cassidy
OCCUPATION: Television Actor
BIRTH DATE: July 31, 1932
DEATH DATE: January 16, 1979
EDUCATION: West Virgina Wesleyan College, Stetson University
PLACE OF BIRTH: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
PLACE OF DEATH: Los Angeles, California
BEST KNOWN FOR: Ted Cassidy was a 6’9” American actor known for his work in The Addams Family TV series and the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Theodore Crawford “Ted” Cassidy was born on July 31, 1932, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania but raised in Philippi, West Virginia. As a boy and young man, he was a standout on the football field and basketball court, in part because of his great height (as a man, he would reach 6’9″). After high school, he headed off first to West Virginia Wesleyan College and then to Stetson University in DeLand, Florida. Soon after graduation from Stetson, Cassidy married, settled in Dallas, Texas and began work in news radio. His job at WFAA in Dallas included coverage of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Cassidy began his film career in 1960 when he provided the voice of the Martian in The Angry Red Planet. In 1964, Cassidy took on the role for which he would become most famous; that of Lurch, the creepy butler on The Addams Family. During an audition for the role, which was supposed to be a non-speaking one, Cassidy adlibbed the “You rang” line which became his trademark. Although The Addams Family ran for just two years, it has lived on—enjoying cult status—in reruns and even on the big screen.
Cassidy’s large size and deep voice made him a natural at playing villains and thugs, as well as providing distinctive voice-over talent. He voiced the role of Metallus on Space Ghost, The Thing on The Fantastic Four, and Braniac and Black Mantra on Challenge of the SuperFriends. In addition, he played characters such as Injun Joe on The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Harvey Logan in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Goliath in Greatest Heroes of the Bible. Cassidy also enjoyed success in the Star Trek world, providing the voice for Balok, portraying Ruk, and voicing Gorn in various episodes. Cassidy also worked with Gene Roddenberry in the early 1970s, when he played Isiah in the pilots for Genesis II and Planet Earth.
Ted Cassidy died in Los Angeles, California on January 16, 1979, from complications after open-heart surgery. He is survived by two children and his long-time girlfriend, having divorced his first wife, Margaret, in 1976.