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The man who played Cousin Itt in the 1960’s TV series “The Addams Family,” Felix Silla died at the age of 84. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the longtime Las Vegas, Nevada resident died on April 16, 2021, after battling pancreatic cancer.
His friend Gil Gerard announced the actor’s death on Twitter. Silla and Gerard worked together on “Buck Rogers” — a TV series that aired on NBC from 1979 to 1981.
The actor was born in a small village outside of Rome, Italy on Jan. 11, 1937. Before moving to the United States in 1955, he trained to be a circus performer. After coming to the U.S. he toured with the Ringling Bros. and the Barnum & Bailey Show.
Silla performed as a tumbler, trapeze artist, and bareback rider. His multiple talents brought him to Hollywood, California, where he began working as a stuntman. His first job started with the Gig Young-Shirley Jones vehicle in “A Ticklish Affair.”
His best-known roles included playing Cousin Itt and as a miniature “Hitler” in the 1975 movie “The Black Bird.” Silla worked alongside George Segal in this film. He often doubled as children like in “The Towering Inferno,” “The Hindenburg,” and “Battlestar Galactica.”
He married his wife in 1965. They have two children together, Michael and Bonnie.
In 2014 the Los Angeles Times interviewed Silla. The actor described the costume he wore when he played Cousin Itt. According to Silla, the costume was originally made mainly of human hair. Due to its combustibility — and the fact most of the crew smoked cigarettes — they created a costume made from flame-retardant materials.
Silla did stunt work in “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” “Poltergeist,” “Howard the Duck,” and “Batman Returns.” He also worked on “The Kentucky Fried Movie,” “Spaceballs,” and “H.R. Pufnstuf.”
His fans, friends, and co-stars took to social media to pay their respects to the late actor’s family. Many people called him “a great guy.” May he rest in peace.
Written by Sheena Robertson
The Hollywood Reporter: Felix Silla, Cousin Itt on ‘The Addams Family,’ Dies at 84; by Mike Barnes
IMDb: Felix Silla
Feature and Top Image Courtesy of Francisco Manuel Esteban’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License