Jackie Coogan married his true love a decade before The Addams Family

They kept their marriage a secret, but eventually there was no hiding their love.

From the very beginning of The Addams Family in episodes like "Uncle Fester’s Punctured Romance," we watched Uncle Fester’s heart break again and again.

It’s said that Fester actor Jackie Coogan would often leave set in full costume, becoming nearly synonymous in the real world with his TV character, so it wouldn’t be surprising if you didn’t think of Jackie Coogan as much of a ladies man, either.

But you would be wrong.

Under the bald cap, Coogan was an exceedingly charming man who charmed women and married four times in his life.

His first three marriages were all relatively short-lived.

From 1937-1939, he was married to the great beauty Betty Grable, followed by marriages to actor-dancer Flower Parry (1941-1943), with whom he had a son, and actor-singer Ann McCormack (1946-1951), with whom he had a daughter.

That was a lot of "punctured romances" for the Uncle Fester actor to deal with, but then in 1952, he met and married his soulmate, a dancer whose stage name was Dorothea Lamphere.

To Jackie, she was better known as Dodie.

The story goes that Coogan married Dodie in Mexico City, then kept their marriage a secret for more than a year before revealing to the press that he had indeed fallen in love for the fourth and final time.

The timing of the great reveal was likely due to an inability to keep the secret any longer.

By 1953, Dodie was pregnant with Coogan’s third child, and Coogan was about to be the head of a family again.

When The Addams Family premiered in 1964, Coogan and Dodie had been happily married for more than a decade.

She would remain with him until his death in 1984.

A doting wife, Dodie quit dancing for the brilliant Broadway director Earl Carroll and devoted herself to raising her family with Coogan.

She was there through the years beyond The Addams Family to encourage Coogan when he went on casting calls or console him by playing Scrabble together when he didn’t get the parts he wanted.

And on March 1, 1984, when he was experiencing chest pains, she was there to take him to the hospital where less than two hours later, Coogan passed away, his true love by his side.

Uncle Fester was an eternal bachelor, but in the real world, Coogan found his soulmate in Dodie.

His Addams Family costar John Astin once summed up what made Coogan such a great actor to play Uncle Fester, and likely what made him such a loving husband once he finally found his perfect match.

"He had a great lust for life," Astin said.

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ELEANOR 1 month ago
So of course they kept the marriage a secret as the fourth time was the charm and they wanted to stay out of the public eye. And it worked! They had a happy life and were unbothered by the Hollywood publicity machine.
Donnamarie921 1 month ago
This is beautiful. He had a good heart, in spite of his parents.

cherylgafner 1 month ago
He was very handsome in his younger years, so this is not improbable!!!
AgingDisgracefully 1 month ago
Will they ever release the Lost Episode where Fester and Itt debate shampoo?
Well, as debates go, it was a wash.
vinman63 CaptainDunsel 1 month ago
Just to think if there was a third season where this show would have gone.
tootsieg 1 month ago
Wonderful story with a happy ending.
vinman63 1 month ago
Rumour he may have had a relationship with Junior Durkin. Sounds like Jackir Coogian made the rounds.
Runeshaper 1 month ago
"He had a great lust for life" - says a lot about the man (-:
WordsmithWorks 1 month ago
Another great MeTV deep dive. It would have been awesome to have seen "Uncle Fester" walking down the street. And married to Betty Grable? That is amazing.
daDoctah 1 month ago
There's film footage of him touring with Chaplin to promote "The Kid", and in it he imitates Chaplin's walk. He also appeared in the title role of 1922's "Oliver Twist", and in the movie itself he imitates the walk his co-star Lon Chaney used as Faygin (misspelled because the correct spelling is apparently a prohibited word on the blog). I wonder if he continued doing stuff like that as an adult.
Pacificsun 1 month ago
I don't know, I checked out most of his images, and except for his most youthful decade (he was a child actor) he pretty much looked like himself in all of them. Whether or not he walked out of the studio as Fester wouldn't make much difference. He wasn't totally bald, but the difference was minimal. And maybe he just wanted to get home to his family.
Mike 1 month ago
Jackie Coogan started losing his hair as a young adult; by the time he ended his WWII military service, he was naturally bald on top.
When he got Uncle Fester, he only had to shave his horseshoe fringe; he never needed a bald cap.
Jackie's first part after Addams Family was in the Perry Mason finale, "TCOT Final Fade-Out"; his fringe had returned by then.
Mike Mike 1 month ago
Addenda:
A couple of years before Addams, Jackie Coogan was in a sitcom called McKeever And The Colonel; his natural fringe was in full view.
justjeff 1 month ago
According to IMDB: "Jackie Coogan was originally rejected as Uncle Fester. He went home, shaved his head, and did his own Fester makeup and costume. This won him the part."
Catman 1 month ago
Well I had no idea Uncle Fester was married to Betty Grable. Holy smoke.
MrsPhilHarris Catman 1 month ago
They were only married for a couple of years. He still had hair at that time.
harlow1313 1 month ago
Well, I model my swinging bachelor lifestyle after Fester and Howard Sprague. We are three hep cats playing it cool with the ladies! Solid.
justjeff harlow1313 1 month ago
You are... some wild and ka-razy kind of guys1"
LoveMETV22 justjeff 1 month ago
Lol, Some of harlows comments are humorous/ However I do enjoy your responses.
vinman63 harlow1313 1 month ago
Uncle Fester a cross between Aiester Crowley and Curly Howard.
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