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Ken Weatherwax, who played pudgy son Pugsley on the 1960s ABC sitcom The Addams Family, has died. He was 59.
Weatherwax died Sunday from a heart attack, his niece, Shanyn Vieira, announced on Facebook. Later, TMZ reported that he died in his California home and that there will be two funerals, one for the family and one for fans.
Weatherwax starred as Pugsley, the reserved, insect-eating son of Gomez and Morticia Addams (John Astin and Carolyn Jones) and the brother of Wednesday Addams (Lisa Loring), on the campy Filmways Television sitcom.
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Based on the New Yorker comic strip by cartoonist Charles Addams, The Addams Family spent just two seasons (1964-66) on ABC but aired for years in syndication. It also spawned a pair of Barry Sonnenfeld movies in the 1990s that had Jimmy Workman playing Pugsley.
A native of Los Angeles, Weatherwax also appeared in toothpaste commercials and on a 1964 episode of Wagon Train. After The Addams Family ended, he tried out for other roles but didn’t land anything, saying he was a victim of typecasting, he told Bill O’Reilly in a 2008 interview.
He also said kids in school hassled him for playing a character named Pugsley.
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“Frankly, I didn’t deal with it very well,” he told O’Reilly. “I was kicked out of like, six or seven schools, and went into the service [the Army] at the age of 17. I did kind of draw a lot of fire from that.”
Later, he played Pugsley Sr. on a 1977 Halloween Addams Family movie for NBC and reportedly worked as a grip and set builder in Hollywood.
Weatherwax’s aunt was dancer and actress Ruby Keeler, who starred in such famed 1930s Warner Bros. musicals as 42nd Street, and his uncle was Lassie’s trainer, Rudd Weatherwax.
His brother, actor Joey D. Vieira, starred as Porky Brockway on a Lassie TV series of the 1950s and had small parts in such films as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) and The Patriot (2000).
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