John Astin

John Astin

Infobox actor
name = John Astin
birthname = John Allen Astin
birthdate = birth date and age|1930|3|30|mf=y
birthplace = Baltimore, Maryland
deathdate =
deathplace =
spouse = Suzanne Hahn (1956-1972)
Patty Duke (1972-1985)
Valerie Ann Sandobal (1989-)

John Allen Astin (born March 30, 1930) is an Oscar-nominated American actor who has appeared in numerous films and television shows, but is best known for the role of Gomez Addams on "The Addams Family" and similarly eccentric comedic characters.


Early life

Astin was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Margaret Linnie (née Mackenzie) and Dr. Allen Varley Astin, who was the director of the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology). [ [ John Astin Biography (1930-) ] ] He graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1952, after transferring from Washington & Jefferson College. He initially studied mathematics at Washington & Jefferson then became a drama major at Johns Hopkins; he was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at Johns Hopkins.


Astin started in theatre, doing voice-over work for commercials. His first big break came in a small but memorable part in the Oscar-winning "West Side Story" in 1961. In 1962-63, he starred in the sitcom "I'm Dickens, He's Fenster" with Marty Ingels, which lasted for one season with 31 episodes. From 1964-66, he starred in "The Addams Family" as Gomez Addams, the macabre head of the family.

Return to the Addams Family

He returned on the TV show "The New Addams Family" as Grandpapa Addams, alongside his look-alike successor, Glenn Taranto, in the iconic role of Gomez.

Other roles

Astin also played the Riddler on "Batman" during Frank Gorshin's second season departure (Gorshin came back for the third). He also made a notable appearance in popular mystery show "Murder, She Wrote", as the villainous Sheriff Harry Pierce. He had a recurring role on the sitcom "Night Court" as Buddy, eccentric former mental patient and the father of lead character Harry Stone. He also played the regular role of Ed LaSalle in the short-lived Mary Tyler Moore sticom "Mary" during the 1985-86 television season.

Astin received an Academy Award nomination for "Prelude", a short film that he wrote, produced, and directed. He was nominated for an Ace Award for his work on "Tales from the Crypt", and received an Emmy nomination for the cartoon voice of Gomez on ABC-TV's "The Addams Family". He also voiced the character Bull Gator on the animated series "Taz-Mania". Astin served for four years on the Board of Directors of the Writers Guild of America, and has been active in community affairs in Los Angeles and Santa Monica.

He has continued to work in acting, appearing in a string of "Killer Tomatoes" films as Professor Gangreen and as a professor in "The Adventures of Brisco County Jr". He also has toured the one-man play "", written by Paul Day Clemens and Ron Magid. In a December, 2007, "Baltimore Examiner" interview, Astin said of his acting experience:


Astin currently teaches method acting and directing in the Writing Seminars Department at Johns Hopkins University, his alma mater. Commenting on his dual career, he said in 2007, "I don't know one major university that has a known actor teaching every day." He hopes to re-establish a drama major at the university, noting that he is one of only a handful to earn a drama degree from Hopkins.

Personal life

He has five sons, of whom three (David, Allen, and Tom) were with his first wife, Suzanne Hahn, and two (Sean Astin and Mackenzie Astin) with his second wife, actress Patty Duke. John legally adopted Sean when he married Patty. John Astin is currently married to Valerie Ann Sandobal and lives in Baltimore.cite news|author=Jessica Novak|title=Johns Hopkins' leading man|publisher="The Baltimore Examiner"|date=December 28, 2007|url=|accessdate=2007-12-28]

His younger brother, Alexander Astin, is a professor emeritus at UCLA. He has five granddaughters — Alexandra, Elizabeth, Isabella, Sedona and Jaya.


* "The Twilight Zone": "A Hundred Yards Over the Rim" (1961)
* "West Side Story" (1961) - Glad Hand, Social Worker Leading Dance
* "That Touch of Mink" (1962)
* "The Addams Family" (1964) (television) - Gomez Addams
* "Batman": "Batman's Anniversary/A Riddling Controversy" (1967) (television) - The Riddler (#2)
* "The Wild Wild West": "The Night of the Tartar" (1967) (television) - Count Nikolai Sazanov
* "The Flying Nun": "Flight of the Dodo Bird" (1967) (television) - Father Lundigan
* "Candy": (1968) - Mister Christian
* "Bunny O'Hare" (1971) - Ad
* "Night Gallery": "Pamela's Voice" (1971) (television)
* "Evil Roy Slade" (1972) - Evil Roy Slade
* "Get to Know Your Rabbit" (1972)
* "Freaky Friday" (1976) - Bill Andrews
* "Teen Wolf Too" (1987) - Dean Dunn
* "Return of the Killer Tomatoes" (1988) - Professor Gangreen
* "Eerie Indiana" (1991) (television) - Radford
* "The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr." (1993) (television) - Professor Albert Wickwire
* "Mr. Boogedy" (1986) - Neil Witherspoon
* "National Lampoon's European Vacation"- Kent Winkdale (host of "Pig in a Poke")
* "Night Court" (1986) - Former Mental Patient Buddy (revealed later in the series to be Judge Harry Stone's stepfather)
* "" (1990) - Janitor
* "Taz-Mania" (1991) (television) - Bull Gator (voice)
* "The Silence of the Hams" (1993) - The Ranger
* "Super Password" - Himself
* "The Frighteners" (1996) - The Judge
* "School of Life" (2005) - Stormin' Norman Warner


External links

* [ MSNBC Profile]
* [ John Astin in Once Upon a Midnight]
* [ article about John Astin's teaching work] from the "Johns Hopkins Gazette", "Course Catalog: Contemporary Theatre and Film: An Insider's View"; April 24, 2006 (Vol. 35 No. 31) [Includes contemporary picture of Astin]

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