Felix Silla, the actor best known for playing Cousin Itt on The Addams Family, has died. Silla's longtime friend Gil Gerard — the two were starred together on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century for two years — reported the news on Twitter Friday afternoon, saying the actor lost a years-old battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 84.
"Felix died just a few hours ago and the only good I can draw from his passing is that he didn't suffer any longer," Gerard tweeted. "I will miss him terribly, especially the great time we had at our panels. Just him telling me to, 'go "f" myself.'"
Felix died just a few hours ago and the only good I can draw from his passing is that he didn’t suffer any longer. I will miss him terribly, especially the great time we had at our panels. Just him telling me to ,” go ‘ f ‘ myself”. 😢— Gil Gerard (@Gil_Gerard) April 16, 2021
Cousin Itt is a character original to the live-action ABC series of the mid-1960s as opposed to an adaptation of Charles Addam's cartoons. Silla ended up appearing as Cousin Itt in 17 of the 64 episodes of the series.
Speaking with the Los Angeles Times in 2014, Silla revealed the body-sized wig he had to wear for his Addams Family role was made entirely out of human hair.
"It was hot and heavy. Like wearing a brick," Silla told the paper at the time. Eventually, as actor recalled, the producers eventually gave him synthetic hair because of the number of people who smoked on set.
"All the guys on the set smoked,” he added. “They just dropped their butts and stepped on them. The producers worried that I might step on a smoldering cigarette and go up in flames. They gave me synthetic hair, which was flame-retardant.”
In addition to The Addams Family and Buck Rogers, other credits of Silla's include Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, The Black Bird, and Battlestar Galactica.
Silla was born in Italy in 1937 and moved stateside when he was 18. His first stint in America came as a performer for the Barnum & Bailey Circus before becoming a stuntman in Tinsel Town around 1962.
He is survived by his wife Sue and their children Bonnie and Michael.