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.