Felix Silla, Cousin Itt on ‘Addams Family,’ Dead at 84
Felix Silla, the actor who donned the full-body hair suit and bowler hat as Cousin Itt on the original The Addams Family television series, has died at the age of 84.
Silla, who also played the robot Twiki on the sci-fi series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, died Friday following battle with pancreatic cancer, the Hollywood Reporter writes.
Silla’s Buck Rogers co-star Gil Gerard confirmed the actor’s death on Twitter, “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.”
The Italy-born actor and one-time circus performer portrayed the hairy Cousin Itt in 17 episodes of the famed sitcom, which only ran for two seasons but became an enduring hit in the decades that followed; the character was an invention of the sitcom’s producer and did not appear in Charles Addams’ comics that inspired the TV show, but Cousin Itt became a fan favorite and a staple of the series’ many remakes.
Silla’s other notable costumed roles include the hang-gliding Ewok in Return of the Jedi (as well as one of the Dinks in Spaceballs, which spoofed the Star Wars films), the robot Lucifer on the original Battlestar Galactica, a child gorilla in the original Planet of the Apes, creatures in the horror films The Brood and House, an emperor penguin in Batman Returns and an alien in Meatballs II.
Due to the actor’s small stature, Silla also had a long career serving as a stand-in or stunt double for child actors, as he did in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (as a stand-in for the Short Round character), Poltergeist, Howard the Duck and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. In a role that didn’t require a full-body costume, Silla portrayed the villain Litvak in the 1975 quasi-Maltese Falcon sequel The Black Bird.