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A Salute To Carolyn Jones

Most of the world remembers Carolyn Jones as Morticia Addams on the 60's television show The Addams Family, and rightly so. She embodied Morticia in a way that I think no one else could. She struck the perfect balance of creepy and sexy and demure. And while that one role was more than enough for Jones to be remembered for, she did a lot more. She had a very full career including television work and movies both mainstream and genre (read, science fiction and horror).

Born in 1930, Carolyn came to California from Texas at 17 to enroll at the Pasadena Playhouse. That's where she was discovered, and she was soon doing some uncredited small parts in movies including The War of the Worlds and the Hope-Crosby comedy Road to Bali. She was one of Vincent Price's victims in House of Wax. She almost got a big break when she was cast in From Here To Eternity, but unfortunately she had to pull out due to illness and Donna Reed got not only her part but also nabbed an Oscar for playing it. She had some t.v. appearances, and got roles in Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Man Who Knew Too Much. She also made movies with Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Kirk Douglas.

Her biggest role was of course as Morticia in The Addams Family. Jones seems almost custom built for this part. Not only does she have the perfect physique for Morticia, but she also has a perfect combination of creepy, sexy, and demure. Add to this the fact that she can convey more with just her eyes than most actors can with their whole body, and it's easy to see why this character became iconic. It doesn't hurt that she was cast with the amazing John Astin. The two of them portrayed a dark romance that inspired even the most cynical of us to find a love half a fierce as theirs. They were so much fun to watch, that you didn't even care that the show reused the same jokes in almost every episode.

Morticia may have been Jones' best remembered role, but it wasn't her last one. It wasn't even the last one that got her geek cred. She went on to play the Queen of Diamonds in the Adam West Batman series. Apparently she liked doing comic book based shows, because she later played Hippolyta, Wonder Woman's mother in the Lynda Carter series. She also took a more serious turn at horror when she was in Tobe Hooper's Eaten Alive (the movie he did between The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Funhouse). So while she isn't always remembered for being a genre actress, she did quite a lot of work in horror and superhero movies and t.v.  She did a lot of great mainstream work as well, and left behind a very respectable body of work even for people who don't love genre fare as much as I do. So here' s remembering Carolyn Jones, many thanks for the hours of entertainment you have given us.


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