Do you remember Wednesday Addams' first boyfriend?
Often-forgotten child star Kevin Tate played Robespierre Courtney on The Addams Family.
"Feud in the Addams Family" marks a milestone in The Addams Family lore, because it’s the episode where little Wednesday Addams experiences her first crush, on a boy named Robespierre Courtney.
In the episode, we watched Morticia give Wednesday dating advice as the little Addams girl donned a replica of her mother’s signature black dress, which she had to confess was difficult to curtsy in.
Wednesday suspected Robespierre would be much more impressed to see her spiders than her curtsy.
Playing Robespierre in this episode was a child star named Kevin Tate, an actor who only appeared on TV for a short time in the Sixties and is often forgotten today.
In his brief career, Tate appeared on hit shows like The Andy Griffith Show, The Fugitive, The Donna Reed Show, Bewitched and three times on My Three Sons.
His biggest role wasn’t on the small screen, but in a film starring TV stars Tony Randall and Barbara Eden called 7 Faces of Dr. Lao.
In 1964, when the movie was released, The Los Angeles Times did a short write-up on Tate, reporting that the child star of 8 years old was discovered by the movie’s director George Pal.
According to the Times, Pal spotted Tate in a commercial when he was only 2 years old. Recognizing talent in the toddler, Pal hooked Tate up with an MGM contract after suggesting Tate do a screen test.
For his role in 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, Tate had to perform magic tricks, which he learned just for the movie.
Count among those delighted by Tate’s tricks the gossip columnist and actor Hedda Hopper. She wrote in 1964, "the young boy, Kevin Tate, is adorable. George Pal has done it again."
Despite Tate’s early start as an actor, Pal’s help catching the eye of producers like Jack Webb and prominent movie roles where he even got a chance to play James Stewart’s son, Tate stopped acting in 1973 and dropped out of the public eye at the age of 19.
Not much is known about what he did professionally after quitting acting, but according to IMDb, he died in 1999 when he was 44.
His final role was in the Clint Eastwood movie Breezy. He played a hitchhiker.
"Paging Mr. Garfunkel, Mr. Robespierre Garfunkel."
To which I would proudly proclaim, "I am he."
Many of these actors we've appreciated in classic TV favorites go at such a young age. Of course we're unaware of the success stories about adults who go on with a happy life because they're out of the public eye.