Felix Silla, the actor who is best known for embodying Cousin Itt on the 1960s series The Addams Family, has passed away at age 84. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor died today from pancreatic cancer.
Silla is best-known for being the man under Cousin Itt’s long mane of real human hair. He first premiered on the television show in the series’ 20th episode, “Cousin Itt Visits the Addams Family,” where Addams patriarch Gomez (John Astin) tries to get his cousin a job as a curator at the local zoo.
Silla was born on Jan. 11, 1937 in a small village near Rome, Italy. He first came to the United States in 1955, where he worked as a circus performer for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Show. From there he went to Hollywood to work as a stuntman, a double for child actors (he stood just under 4 feet tall and weighed 70 pounds), and in credited roles like Cousin Itt.
In addition to playing Cousin Itt, Silla's other best-known roles include playing the robot Twiki / Odee-x on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and an evil miniature “Hitler” in 1975’s The Black Bird. He also had smaller parts in much-loved movies, such as playing an Ewok on Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and Dink in Spaceballs. He also worked as a stuntman on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Poltergeist, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Howard the Duck, and Batman Returns.
Silla moved to Las Vegas in 2003, played harmonica in a two-person band, and is survived by his wife, Sue, and their children, Bonnie and Michael.