Younger fans of the macabre fictional Addams family will identify the character of Wednesday Addams with actors Christina Ricci or, more recently, Jenna Ortega. But for kids of the mid-'60s (and '70s, thanks to syndication), Lisa Loring played Wednesday, bringing a magnetic cuteness to the otherwise gloomy-looking, braided little girl dressed in black on TV. The actor has died at the age of 64 of a "massive stroke," caused by smoking and high blood pressure, reports Deadline. "She had been on life support for 3 days," wrote good friend Laurie Jacobson on Facebook on Sunday, noting "with great sadness" that Loring passed away on Saturday after her family removed the support.
Loring was born Feb. 16, 1958, as Lisa Ann DeCinces in the Marshall Islands, then lived in Hawaii before her mother brought her to Los Angeles, per Variety. At the age of 3, Loring began modeling, leading to her casting in a 1964 episode of the medical drama Dr. Kildare. She landed the part of Wednesday Addams that same year on The Addams Family, playing her over 64 episodes, through 1966. Loring reprised her role in the 1977 TV movie Halloween With the New Addams Family. In addition to spurring a line of Halloween costumes that continues to this day, Loring also inspired Ricci's turn as the character in two movies in the '90s, as well as Nicole Fugere in a late '90s TV series and direct-to-video movie. Ortega now plays the character in Wednesday, a Netflix streaming series.
After her turn on The Addams Family, Loring made appearances on such shows as Barnaby Jones, Fantasy Island, The Girl From UNCLE, and The Phyllis Diller Show, among others. She also had a recurring role in the '80s as Cricket Montgomery on the soap opera As the World Turns. Her last acting credit, per IMDb, is 2015's comedy-horror Doctor Spine. In addition to being "embedded in the tapestry that is pop culture and in our hearts always as Wednesday Addams," Jacobson praised Loring in her Facebook post as a "beautiful, kind" mom who left a legacy of "humor, affection and love." "Damn, girl ... you were a ton of fun," she wrote. Loring is survived by two daughters. Enjoy some of Loring's best moments as Wednesday Addams here. (Read more TV shows stories.)