John Astin fought the good fight to keep Gomez from being bald
He convinced the network that Gomez needed to be more attractive to win over Morticia — and the audience.
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One of the funniest episodes of the first season of The Addams Family is called "The Winning of Morticia Addams."
The premise finds Uncle Fester certain that his overly romantic brother and his smitten wife were actually harboring deep resentment for one another.
He felt it was natural for couples to fight and was worried the fact that Morticia and Gomez never found a single flaw in one another meant that they would soon explode in rage.
For actor John Astin, the romance between Gomez and Morticia was serious business, though.
He did see them as an impossible ideal, as Fester suggests, but it was actually at the actor's fervent urging that the couple became as romantic as they were.
"I thought that the romance between Gomez and Morticia should be on the grand scale," Astin told the Television Academy. "They would have a relationship of great passion."
Astin told producer David Levy his idea and together they made sure the magic between Gomez and Morticia was written to seem continually charged.
At this point in the show's development, the role of Morticia had not yet been cast. Astin was only basing his idea off the romantic nature of the Charles Addams cartoons featuring the famous goth couple.
As part of his development of Gomez, Astin studied these cartoons, but he put his foot down when the network told him they expected him to shave his head to appear bald like the cartoon.
He wasn't doing it to be vain, he said. He was doing it out of his love for Morticia.
"I had arguments with the network," Astin said. "They wanted to shave my head to resemble the cartoon, and I wanted to look more attractive. I thought that would work better. And it turns out that's one of the strongest elements of the show is the Gomez-Morticia relationship."
Finding the right Morticia took time, and Astin even had some of his closest friends audition for the role. Nobody fit.
"I mean, some beautiful women tested for it, too," Astin said. "Just no one, not even our friends, seemed quite right for it."
Desperate for the right romantic interest for his super-romantic characterization of Gomez, Astin was thrilled when the idea was floated to offer the part to Carolyn Jones.
And she was into it. She just had one problem with her future husband Gomez that she needed to resolve before she became his TV bride.
"Carolyn loved the idea," Astin said. "The only thing was she wanted to be billed first."
Since Astin got signed first, his contract had already guaranteed that he would have top billing.
However, Astin's heart already belonged to Carolyn for the role, so he acted as gentlemanly as Gomez, crossing the line out of his contract and elevating his bride to the pedestal she expected to be put on.
"My contract said first billing, but I said no problem," Astin said, emphasizing that this was no sacrifice. "I’m glad I did. We couldn't have found anybody better."
Once Jones was signed, Astin was fully committed to keeping the heat turned up between his character — looking debonair with a head full of hair — and Carolyn's. He said he could tell that she was all in, too.
"We liked each other, and we both had a sense of humor," Astin said. "Our senses of humor were different, but they meshed very nicely."
Their bond was so strong, Astin said they became friends for life and after she passed away, he still missed her. Especially her laugh, he said, as if recalling his real-life soulmate.
"Carolyn had a great laugh," Astin said. "Just working with her, when she laughed, it was a wonderful thing. She had humor just in her."