Entertainment

Felix Silla, who played Cousin Itt in The Addams Family, dies aged 84

Felix Silla died after entering hospice care (Picture: Bobby Bank/Getty Images)

The Addams Family star Felix Silla has died aged 84 following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

The actor’s death was confirmed by his friend and co-star in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century Gil Gerard, who tweeted: ‘Felix died just a few hours ago and the only good I can draw from his passing is that he didn’t suffer any longer. I will miss him terribly, especially the great time we had at our panels. Just him telling me to ,” go ‘ f ‘ myself”.’

Just hours before he had wrote: ‘It is with a heavy heart that I tell you all that my dear friend of over forty years, Felix Silla, is dying of pancreatic cancer. I spoke briefly with him and his family last night and they tell me that he’s going into hospice care today. Prayers.’

Silla was best known for playing Cousin Itt in the 1960s sitcom The Addams Family, for which he wore a floor-length hair costume.

He first played the hairy cousin in the series’ 20th episode in 1965, with his voice provided by sound engineer Tony Magro in postproduction.

Speaking about his heavy costume, which was made from real human hair, with the Los Angeles Times in 2014, Silla said: ‘All the guys on the set smoked. They just dropped their butts and stepped on them. The producers worried that I might step on a smouldering cigarette and go up in flames. 

‘They gave me synthetic hair, which was flame-retardant.’

Silla played Cousin Itt in 17 episodes (Picture: Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

He played Cousin Itt on the show 17 times, with the series living on for decades through reruns.

Silla was also known for playing the robot sidekick Twiki on sci-fi series Buck Rogers, and played an Ewok in Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi.

In a role where he could be recognised outside of full costume, he played villain Litvak opposite George Segal as Sam Spade Jr. in The Maltese Falcon sequel The Black Bird in 1975.

Silla was born in Italy and moved to the States in 1995 to be a circus performer with the Ringling Bros, before getting into film.

Due to his 4 foot stature, Silla often played or doubled for youngsters, and his credits include Planet of the Apes, Demon Seed and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

A trained stuntman, he also did stunt work in The Towering Inferno, The Hindenburg, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Poltergeist, The Golden Child, Howard the Duck and Batman Returns.

Silla also contributed to the world of video games by providing the voice of Mortimer Goth for The Sims.

The actor was a long time resident of Las Vegas, having moved there in 2003, and was a regular fixture at fan conventions.

Silla is survived by his wife of 56 years Sue and their children Bonnie and Michael.


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