Felix Silla, who played Cousin Itt on the 1960s television series The Addams Family, died Wednesday of pancreatic cancer. This is from a tweet from Gil Gerard, who co-starred with him in the NBC sitcom Buck Rogers in the 25th Century from 1979 to 1981, he died in Las Vegas at the age of 84.
Who is Felix Silla (Cousin Itt)?
Silla wore a full-body hairpiece, sunglasses, and a bowler hat to play Cousin Itt, a bizarre muttering character who could only be comprehended by members of the Addams Family. Silla’s face was hidden in a number of roles, notably as the robot Twiki on Buck Rogers and as a hang-gliding Ewok in Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi.
In the sequel to The Maltese Falcon, The Black Bird, he played the villain Litvak, who faced George Segal’s Sam Spade Jr. (1975).
Felix Silla (Cousin Itt)’s early life
Silla was born in Italy and was slightly about 4 feet tall, weighing just 70 pounds. He arrived in the United States in 1955 and worked as a trapeze performer and tumbler with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. In 1962, he moved to Hollywood to work as a stuntman.
His abilities and little frame landed him roles in the Gig Young-Shirley Jones comedy A Ticklish Affair, the Bonanza episode Hoss and the Leprechauns, and the Star Trek pilot The Cage in 1965.
He went on to star in films such as Planet of the Apes (1968), Demon Seed (1977), and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1980). (1984). He performed stunts in films such as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Poltergeist, and The Matrix.
On H.R. Pufnstuf and Lidsville, he was a frequent actor for Sid and Marty Krofft.
In 1965, Silla made his television debut in an episode of The Addams Family in which a zookeeper intended to put him in a cage. The figure was made up by a producer and did not appear in the Charles Addams drawings that inspired the TV show. Silla’s voice was likewise not used for Cousin Itt; instead, sound engineer Tony Magro produced it in post-production.)
He went on to play Cousin Itt on the program 17 times, and it became a fan favorite thanks to its perpetual syndication run.
Sue, his wife since 1965, and their daughters Bonnie and Michael are among his family members. There are no announced plans for a memorial service.