Ken Weatherwax, 59, has died, sadly, of an apparent heart attack. Weatherwax was a person who many older Americans grew up with, though most people probably do not know him by his real name, but by the name of the character he played on TV’s The Addams Family in the 1960s, Pugsley. He, along with Wednesday, played by Lisa Loring, were the two somewhat mischievous but campily cool children of Morticia and Gomez Addams.
One of Ken Weatherwax’s nephews reported to the Los Angeles Times that he passed away Sunday in Southern California at his home of a heart attack. As Pugsley, Weatherwax helped bring the macabre New Yorker cartoons of Charles Addams to life, with a cast of other deliciously sardonic actors and actresses like Carolyn Jones, who played Morticia, and John Astin, who played Gomez Addams.
Ken Weatherwax was born on September 29, in 1955, according to his IMDb page. Besides playing Pugsley Addams on the black-and-white TV series, The Addams Family, starting in 1964, Weatherwax also played Pugsley in the 1973 animated series of the same name, and in Halloween With the New Addams Family, he played Pugsley Sr. and he was father to Pugsley Jr. (Ken Marquis).
Strangely enough, actor Ken Weatherwax began his career as an actor by appearing on commercials advertising toothpaste. An aunt of his, Ruby Keeler, was a dancing star in the 1930s, appearing in 42nd Street. His uncle, Rudd Weatherwax, was reportedly the trainer of TV’s Lassie.
Though the role of Pugsley made Ken Weatherwax famous, the role was both a blessing and a curse, because it also typecast him, he explained in a 2008 interview on Fox News with Bill O’Reilly. Because of the odd name of the pudgy character, Weatherwax said he was teased at school and was “kicked out of like six or seven schools.”
When he was 17, Ken Weatherwax became a serviceman in the Army, in part because he had a hard time dealing with the notoriety and teasing that his fame that his role of Pugsley Addams had brought him. According to his niece, Shanyn Vieira, he also was a grip for Universal Studios building sets on movie lots. Along with his nephew and niece, Ken Weatherwax is survived by a brother, Joseph D. Vieira, who is a character actor. As Joey D. Vieira, he played Porky Brockway on the TV series Lassie from the 1950s and had minor roles in The Patriot (2000) and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986).
TMZ has reported that there will be two funerals for actor Ken Weatherwax. There will be one for the family to attend, and one for his many fans, who still fondly remember him from the role he played on The Addams Family Filmways Television sitcom, which ran from 1964 to 1966.
In the later Addams Family movies from the 1990s, The Addams Family (1991) and Addams Family Values (1993), the role of Pugsley was played by actor Jimmy Workman. Barry Sonnenfeld directed the movies, which also starred actor Raul Julia as Gomez and Anjelica Huston as Morticia Addams.
Ken Weatherwax, perhaps better known as the actor who played Pugsley Addams in The Addams Family TV series, has died at the age of 59. He will be fondly remembered by his many fans and fans of the campy TV series.
Written By Douglas Cobb