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Ted Cassidy
American actor

Ted Cassidy

Ted Cassidy
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American actor
Was Actor Athlete Basketball player Television actor Film actor Voice actor Screenwriter
From United States of America
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio Sports
Gender male
Birth 31 July 1932, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 16 January 1979, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA (aged 46 years)
Star sign Leo
Stats
Height: 2.0574 m
Education
West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, West Virginia
Stetson University, DeLand, Florida
Sports Teams
Stetson Hatters
Ted Cassidy
The details

Biography

Ted Cassidy (July 31, 1932 – January 16, 1979) was an American actor. Noted for his tall stature at 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m), and his deep bass voice, he tended to play unusual characters in offbeat or science-fiction series such as Star Trek and I Dream of Jeannie and is best known for the role of "Lurch" on The Addams Family in the mid-1960s. He is also known for voicing The Hulk.

Early life and education

Ted Cassidy was born as Theodore Crawford Cassidy on July 31, 1932, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was raised in Philippi, West Virginia. 

In his youth, Cassidy was an academically gifted individual and attended third grade at age six. During his freshman year of high school, at age 11, Cassidy was on the football and basketball teams. Despite this, he was a frequent target of bullying by his much older peers, having already reached a height of 6 ft. 1 in (1.85 m) by then.

After graduating from high school, Cassidy attended West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, West Virginia, where he was a member of the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity. He transferred to Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, where he played college basketball for the Hatters and was active in the student government.

Career

Radio

After graduating with a degree in speech and drama, he married Margaret Helen in 1956, and they moved to Dallas, Texas. His acting career took off when he worked as a mid-day disc jockey on WFAA in Dallas. He also occasionally appeared on WFAA-TV Channel 8, playing Creech, an outer space creature on the "Dialing for Dollars" segments on Ed Hogan's afternoon movies. He gave an in-studio report from WFAA radio station on the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated and was among the first to interview eyewitnesses W. E. Newman, Jr. and Gayle Newman.

Television

Cassidy's unusual height gave him an advantage in auditioning for unusual character roles, such as "Lurch" on The Addams Family (in which, despite being an accomplished organist, he feigned playing the harpsichord). He also played the character named "Thing" (associate producer Jack Voglin would take over the "Thing" role in scenes with both characters). Though the character was intended to be mute, Cassidy ad-libbed his signature line, "You rang?". The subtle humor and the deepness of his voice was immediately a hit. Thereafter, it was a recurring phrase written into the script.

Cassidy would reprise the role of "Lurch" in later appearances. In the Batman episode "The Penguin's Nest" (1966), he appears during Batman and Robin's familiar climb scene up the side of a building, as a tenant who is playing the harpsichord prior to sticking his head out of the window and speaking to Batman and Robin. He also voiced this character in an episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies (1972), which featured the family, as well as in the 1973 animated series adaptation of The Addams Family.

In addition to The Addams Family, Cassidy found steady work in a variety of other television shows. He had a regular role on NBC's The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as "Injun Joe," the blood-foe of "Tom Sawyer" and "Huck." In the 1967 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode, "The Napoleon's Tomb Affair", Cassidy played a henchman, "Edgar," who kidnaps, tortures, and repeatedly tries to kill "Napoleon" and "Illya." Also, he had a brief role as a threatening goon in the first The Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode titled "The Vulcan Affair".

Cassidy also provided the voice of the more aggressive version of "Balok" in the Star Trek episode "The Corbomite Maneuver", the role of the android "Ruk" in the episode "What Are Little Girls Made Of?", and he voiced the "Gorn" in the episode "Arena". Cassidy did more work with Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry in the early 1970s, playing "Isiah" in the post-apocalyptic drama pilots Genesis II and Planet Earth. In the Lost in Space episode, "The Thief from Outer Space", he played the "Slave" to the alien "Thief" (Malachi Throne) who threatens the Robinsons.

Cassidy appeared on Mannix in "To Kill a Writer", the 1968 Season 1 Episode 23, as "Felipe Montoya." Cassidy appeared on Daniel Boone in the 1968 episode "The Scrimshaw Ivory Chart" as a pirate named "Gentle Sam." He also appeared in several episodes of I Dream of Jeannie in 1968. He appeared as the master of Jeannie's devious sister in the episode "Genie, Genie, Who's Got the Genie?", and Jeannie's cousin in the episode "Please Don't Feed the Astronauts". In The Beverly Hillbillies episode "The Dahlia Feud" from 1967, he played "Mr. Ted," a large, muscular gardener who was planting dahlias for Mrs. Drysdale.

In the two-part The Six Million Dollar Man episode "The Return of Bigfoot" (1976), Cassidy appeared as "Bigfoot" (the role was originally played by professional wrestler André the Giant in a previous two-parter). He even provided the vocal effects for Bigfoot. Cassidy reprised the role in the 1977 episode "Bigfoot V."

Voice acting and film work

Concurrent with his appearances on The Addams Family, Cassidy began doing character voices on a recurring basis for the Hanna-Barbera Studios, culminating in the role of "Frankenstein, Jr." in Frankenstein, Jr. and The Impossibles series. He was the voice of "Meteor Man" in Birdman and the Galaxy Trio, as well as the hero in the Chuck Menville pixillated short film Blaze Glory, in which his already-deep voice was enhanced with reverb echo to give the character an exaggerated super-hero sound. Cassidy also voiced Ben Grimm (a.k.a. "The Thing") in Stan Lee's The New Fantastic Four. Cassidy went on to perform the roars and growls for "Godzilla" in Dick Robbins and Duane Poole's 1979 cartoon series Godzilla that Hanna-Barbera Productions co-produced with Toho Company and was also the voice of "Montaro" in the Jana of the Jungle segments that accompanied Godzilla during its first network run. His was the basis for the sinister voice of "Black Manta," as well as "Brainiac" and several others on Super Friends. Cassidy was the original voice of "Moltar" and "Metallus" on Space Ghost from 1966 to 1968.

After The Addams Family, Cassidy began to add more voice work to his résumé; in that acting field, most notably, he narrated the opening of Kenneth Johnson TV series The Incredible Hulk. Cassidy also provided the Hulk's growls and roars during the show's first two seasons.

In deleted scenes from the original Battlestar Galactica TV pilot movie, "Saga of a Star World" (on the DVD collection Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Epic Series [1978]), Cassidy can be heard providing temporary voice tracks of the Cylon Imperious Leader, before actor Patrick Macnee was contracted to voice the character.

Other film work included his appearances in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid(1969), Mackenna's Gold (1969), The Limit (1972), Charcoal Black (1972), The Slams (1973), Thunder County (1974), Poor Pretty Eddie (1975), Harry and Walter Go to New York (1976), The Last Remake of Beau Geste (1977) and Goin' Coconuts(1978). He also co-wrote the screenplay of 1973's The Harrad Experiment, in which he made a brief appearance.

Cassidy's last voice work was for the "Thun" character in the TV movie Flash Gordon: The Greatest Adventure of All (1982.)

In 1965, he released a seven-inch vinyl record on Capitol Records with two songs on it: "The Lurch", written by Gary S. Paxton, and "Wesley", written by Cliffie Stone and Scott Turner. He introduced the dance and performed the song "The Lurch" on September 11, 1965, on Shivaree! and performed it again on Halloween of the same year on Shindig!, along with Boris Karloff performing "Monster Mash".

Personal life

Cassidy was married to Margaret Helen Jesse (sister of actor Dan Jesse) from June 14, 1956, until the divorce in 1975. They had two children.

Death

Cassidy underwent surgery at St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles to have a non-malignant tumor removed from his heart. While recovering at home, complications arose several days later and he was readmitted. On January 16, 1979, Cassidy died at age 46 at St. Vincent Medical Center.

Actress Sandra Martinez took care of him during his final years. Cassidy was cremated and his remains were subsequently buried in the backyard of his Woodland Hills home in Los Angeles. The exact location of his remains is unknown.

His off-screen narration for The Incredible Hulk remained in the entire television series after his death.

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes 
1959The Angry Red PlanetMartianVoice, Uncredited 
1964–1966The Addams FamilyLurch64 episodes 
1966The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.TullioEpisode: "The Montori Device Affair" 
1966Lost in SpaceSlaveEpisode: "The Thief from Outer Space" 
1966BatmanLurchEpisode: "The Penguin's Nest" 
1966–1967Star Trek: The Original SeriesGorn, Balok's Puppet, Ruk3 episodes 
1966–1967Frankenstein, Jr. and The ImpossiblesFrankenstein, Jr.Voice, 18 episodes 
1967The Phyllis Diller ShowMaxieEpisode: "Portrait of Krump" 
1967The MonroesTeddy LarchEpisode: "Wild Bull" 
1967Jack and the BeanstalkThe GiantVoice, TV movie 
1967LaredoMonteEpisode: "The Small Chance Ghost" 
1967The Beverly HillbilliesMr. TedEpisode: "The Dahlia Feud" 
1967Mr. TerrificBojoEpisode: "Stanley Joins the Circus" 
1967Super PresidentSpy ShadowVoice, 1 episode 
1967Birdman and the Galaxy TrioMeteor ManVoice, 1 episode 
1967InsightThe JuryEpisode: "Fat Hands and a Diamond Ring" 
1967Fantastic FourGalactusVoice, Episode: "Galactus" 
1968Daniel BooneGentle SamEpisode: "The Scrimshaw Ivory Chart" 
1968I Dream of JeannieHamid, Habib2 episodes 
1968TarzanSampsonEpisode: "Jungle Ransom" 
1968MannixFelipe MontoyaEpisode: "To Kill a Writer" 
1968–1969The New Adventures of Huckleberry FinnInjun Joe / Morpho / MonsterVoice, 20 episodes 
1969Mackenna's GoldHachita 
1969Butch Cassidy and the Sundance KidHarvey Logan 
1970BonanzaGarthEpisode: "Decision at Los Robles" 
1971–1976McDonaldlandOfficer Big MacVoice, 5 episodes 
1972The New Scooby-Doo MoviesLurchVoice, Episode: "Wednesday Is Missing" 
1972The LimitBig Donnie 
1972IronsideWrestlerEpisode: "Who'll Cry for My Baby" 
1972Charcoal BlackStriker 
1973BanacekJerry CrawfordEpisode: "Ten Thousand Dollars a Page" 
1973Genesis IIIsiahTV movie 
1973The Harrad ExperimentDiner PatronUncredited 
1973The Addams FamilyLurchVoice, 3 episodes 
1973The SlamsGlover 
1974Planet EarthIsiahTV movie 
1974The Great Lester Boggs  
1974Thunder CountyCabrini 
1975The Intruder  
1975Poor Pretty EddieKeno 
1976Harry and Walter Go to New YorkLeary 
1976The Bionic WomanBigfootEpisode: "The Return of Bigfoot: Part 2" 
1976–1977The Six Million Dollar ManBigfoot2 episodes 
1976–1979Tarzan, Lord of the JunglePhobegVoice, 36 episodes 
1977The Great Balloon Race  
1977Benny and Barney: Las Vegas UndercoverJake TuttleTV movie 
1977The Last Remake of Beau GesteBlindman 
1977Space SentinelsAgent KronosEpisode: "The Time Traveler" 
1977The All-New Super Friends HourCrag2 episodes 
1977Halloween with the New Addams FamilyLurchTV movie 
1977–1979The Incredible HulkVoice of Incredible Hulk, Narrator76 episodes 
1977–1980Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels Voice, 39 episodes 
1978The Flintstones: Little Big LeaguePolice OfficerVoice, TV movie 
1978Sugar Time! Episode: "Sugar to the Rescue" 
1978Man from AtlantisCanjaEpisode: "Scavenger Hunt" 
1978Chico and the ManBrunoEpisode: "Help Wanted" 
1978Dr. StrangeDemon BalzarothVoice, Uncredited
TV movie 
1978Dinky Dog Voice, 16 episodes 
1978Goin' CoconutsMickey 
1978Fangface Voice, 2 episodes 
1978Yogi's Space Race Voice, 7 episodes 
1978Greatest Heroes of the BibleGoliathEpisode: "David & Goliath" 
1978Jana of the JungleMontaroVoice, 13 episodes 
1978The Fantastic FourBen Grimm / The ThingVoice, 13 episodes 
1978Challenge of the SuperfriendsBlack Manta / Brainiac / Diamond Exchange Man / Barlock / Gorilla Guard #1 / British SoldierVoice, 16 episodes 
1978CowboysanBaddieShort film 
1978–1979GodzillaGodzillaVoice, 26 episodes 
1979The Flintstones Meet Rockula and FrankenstoneFrankenstoneVoice, TV movie 
1979The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show Voice 
1981Roar Additional script material
posthumous release 
1982Flash Gordon: The Greatest Adventure of AllPrince ThunVoice, TV movie
Final film role, posthumous release 
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