Lisa Loring, best known as the first actress to play Wednesday Addams in the original “The Addams Family” sitcom, has died at the age of 64.
Loring “passed away on Saturday surrounded by her family,” longtime agent Chris Carbaugh told CNN in a statement on Monday.
“She brought to life one of the most iconic characters in Hollywood history that is still celebrated today,” Carbaugh said. “Lisa loved sharing her memories and meeting all her fans across the world.”
The former child star was a mother and grandmother, her agent added, saying: “She will be missed dearly.”
Laurie Jacobson, Loring’s friend, also reported her death on Facebook, saying she had “suffered a massive stroke brought on by smoking and high blood pressure.”
“She had been on life support for 3 days. Yesterday, her family made the difficult decision to remove it and she passed last night,” Jacobson wrote. “She is embedded in the tapestry that is pop culture and in our hearts always as Wednesday Addams.”
Following news of her death, fans flocked to social media to pay tribute, with one person writing on Twitter: “Farewell to Lisa Loring, the person who DEFINED Wednesday Addams at a time when she was just a frowning newspaper drawing.”
Loring was the blueprint for the pale, pigtail-wearing Wednesday after being cast in the sitcom “The Addams Family” in 1964. She took on the role when she was six years old and played the death-obsessed character until the show ended two years later.
In 1977, she appeared as Wednesday Sr. in the television film “Halloween with the New Addams Family.”
Loring’s deadpan delivery of the character, based on the New Yorker cartoons by Charles Addams, paved the way for other actresses, including Christina Ricci, who starred as Wednesday in the 1991 hit movie “The Addams Family” and its sequel, “Addams Family Values.”
Jenna Ortega said her version of the pop-culture icon was also inspired by Loring, following the premiere of Tim Burton’s Netflix comedy horror “Wednesday,” last year.
“I paid homage to Lisa Loring, the first Wednesday Addams. I did a little bit of her shuffle that she does,” Ortega said during an appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” in December.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Loring was born Lisa Ann DeCinces in the Marshall Islands and was given her stage name when she started modeling at age 3.
Following her stint as Wednesday in “The Addams Family,” Loring joined Phyllis Diller’s sitcom “The Pruitts of Southampton.” She later landed a recurring role in “As the World Turns,” playing Cricket Montgomery.
Her acting credits also include shows “The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.,” “Fantasy Island” and “Barnaby Jones.”