Felix Silla, who played the mumbling, long-haired Cousin Itt on the 1960s television comedy “The Addams Family,” died Friday. He was 84.
Silla died in Las Vegas after a battle with pancreatic cancer, his friend, Gil Gerard, wrote on Twitter.
Silla wore a body-length hairpiece, a pair of sunglasses and a bowler hat during 16 episodes of the series, which ran from 1964 to 1966 on ABC. Silla weighed 70 pounds and was just under 4 feet tall, and he made his debut on the series in 1965
Viewers never saw Silla’s face during the series.
Silla also appeared in “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century” as Twiki, a robotic character, and also played a hang-gliding Ewok in 1983′s “Star Wars: Episode VI -- Return of the Jedi.”
In 1975, Silla showed his face as the villain Litvak in “The Black Bird.”
But Silla’s signature role came at 001 Cemetery Lane, the home of Gomez and Morticia Addams, whose “house was a museum, where people came to see ‘em.”
In a 2014 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Silla said his costume was originally made out of real human hair, which made it rather heavy -- and combustible.
“All the guys on the set smoked,” Silla told the newspaper. “They just dropped their butts and stepped on them. The producers worried that I might step on a smoldering cigarette and go up in flames. They gave me synthetic hair, which was flame-retardant.”
Silla was born Jan. 11, 1937, in Roccacasale, Italy, and came to the United States in 1955, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He toured for seven years as a trapeze artist and tumbler with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus before becoming a stuntman in 1962, the website reported.
In 1963 he landed a role in “A Ticklish Affair,” and also appeared on “Bonanza” in the episode “Hoss and the Leprechauns.” In 1965, Silla appeared in “The Cage,” the first pilot for “Star Trek,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Silla also had small roles in “Planet of the Apes,” “Demon Seed” and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” Silla did stunt work in “The Towering Inferno,” “The Hindenburg,” “ET the Extra-Terrestrial,” “Poltergeist”, “Howard the Duck” and “Batman Returns,” according to IMDb.com.
Cox Media Group