John Astin
Astin in a 1977 publicity photo for Operation Petticoat
John Allen Astin

(1930-03-30) March 30, 1930 (age 93)
Alma mater
  • Actor
  • director
Years active1954–2021
  • Suzanne Hahn
    (m. 1956; div. 1972)
  • (m. 1972; div. 1985)
  • Valerie Sandobal
    (m. 1989)
Children5, including Sean and Mackenzie
RelativesAlexander Astin (brother)

John Allen Astin (born March 30, 1930) is a retired American actor and director who has appeared in numerous stage, television and film roles, primarily in character roles. He is best known for starring in The Addams Family (1964–1966), as patriarch Gomez Addams, reprising the role in the television film Halloween with the New Addams Family (1977) and the animated series The Addams Family (1992–1993).

Astin starred in the TV film Evil Roy Slade (1972). Other notable film roles include West Side Story (1961), That Touch of Mink (1962), Move Over, Darling (1963), Freaky Friday (1976), National Lampoon's European Vacation (1985), Teen Wolf Too (1987) and The Frighteners (1996). Astin was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film for his directorial debut, the comedic short Prelude (1968).[1]

Astin has been married three times. His second wife was actress Patty Duke, and Astin is the adoptive father of Duke's son, actor Sean Astin.

Early years

Astin was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to 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). At that time, Astin and his family resided on Battery Lane in Bethesda, Maryland. He graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1952, after transferring from Washington & Jefferson College. He studied mathematics at Washington & Jefferson and then drama at Johns Hopkins; he was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at Johns Hopkins.[2][3][4]


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Astin started his performing career in theater, making his first Broadway appearance as an understudy in Major Barbara (1954) and also did voice-over work for commercials. He appeared as "Ready-Money Matt" in the long-running off-Broadway production of Threepenny Opera (which began in 1954), starring Lotte Lenya.[5] His first big film break came with a small role in West Side Story (1961).

During this period, his talent for also playing comedy was spotted by actor Tony Randall,[6] leading to guest starring roles on the sitcom Dennis the Menace, starring Jay North; The Donna Reed Show; and Harrigan and Son, starring Pat O'Brien, the first show broadcast on CBS and the latter two shows broadcast on ABC. In 1961, Astin appeared in the final episode of the ABC police drama The Asphalt Jungle.

During the 1962–63 television season, Astin had his first lead in a television series, the ABC sitcom I'm Dickens, He's Fenster, co-starring with Marty Ingels. Astin played Harry Dickens to Ingels's Arch Fenster, as two trouble-prone carpenters. The series combined witty dialogue with moments of slapstick comedy. I'm Dickens, He's Fenster received critical raves, but was against two high-rated shows, Sing Along with Mitch on NBC and Route 66 on CBS. By the time I'm Dickens, He's Fenster gained a following and started winning its time slot, ABC had already canceled the show. A total of 32 episodes were produced.

Astin is perhaps best known for The Addams Family, a popular sitcom that ran on ABC from 1964 to 1966, based on cartoons created by Charles Addams. Astin starred as Gomez Addams, the head of the macabre family. He later reprised the role of Gomez in the 1977 made-for-television film Halloween with the New Addams Family and voiced the role of Gomez in the animated series The Addams Family from 1992 to 1993. In the Canadian-American television series The New Addams Family, which ran from 1998 to 1999, Astin appeared as Grandpapa Addams, with the role of Gomez played by Glenn Taranto. With the death of Lisa Loring, who played Wednesday, in January 2023, Astin is the last surviving cast member of The Addams Family.

Astin alongside Carolyn Jones as Gomez and Morticia Addams in The Addams Family in 1964

Astin joined the retooled The Pruitts of Southampton (re-titled The Phyllis Diller Show) for the second half of the 1966–67 season, playing Diller's brother-in-law, Angus Pruitt. He also played the Riddler in the second season of Batman (Frank Gorshin returned for the third and final season.)[7]

He played submarine commander Matthew Sherman on the 1970s television series Operation Petticoat. He also made several appearances in the first two seasons of the popular mystery series Murder, She Wrote, as scheming real estate developer (and finally Sheriff) Harry Pierce, who ends up as the murderer in his last episode. He had a recurring role on the sitcom Night Court as Buddy, eccentric former mental patient and the father of lead character Harry Stone, who often ended his conversations with a big smile and the phrase,"...but I'm feeling MUCH better now!"

Astin played the regular role of Ed LaSalle on the short-lived Mary Tyler Moore sitcom Mary during the 1985–86 television season. He also guest starred on numerous television series, including appearances on Duckman, Homeboys in Outer Space, Jack Palance's ABC circus drama The Greatest Show on Earth, and a 1967 episode of Gunsmoke as Festus Haggen's cousin Henry.

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 Award 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.

Astin has continued to work in acting, appearing in a string of Killer Tomatoes films as Professor Gangreen and as Professor Wickwire in The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.. In 1996 he featured as The Judge, the ghost of an Old West gunslinger, in Peter Jackson's The Frighteners. He also has toured the one-man play Edgar Allan Poe: Once Upon a Midnight, written by Paul Day Clemens and Ron Magid. In a December 2007 Baltimore Examiner interview, Astin said of his acting experience:

We all struggle, and I had plenty of that, but I've had a great time. I've done hundreds of TV shows and 30 to 40 movies, and I love acting. I'm very happy having done the Poe. That's been really terrific.

Astin is a member of the board of directors of the Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts in Columbia, Maryland.[8][9]


The handprints of John Astin in front of Hollywood Hills Amphitheater at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park

Until his retirement in 2021, Astin was director of the Theater Arts and Studies Department and Homewood Professor of the Arts at Johns Hopkins University, his alma mater, which offers an undergraduate minor program.[10] Commenting on his dual career, he said in 2007, "I don't know one major university that has a known actor teaching every day." Astin noted that he is one of only a handful to earn a drama degree from Hopkins. He taught at Hopkins from 2001 until 2021.[11] Devika Bhise has been working with the university to create "The Astin Fund", an endowed chair that would allow theater to be a major at Johns Hopkins University for undergraduates.

Personal life

Astin has five sons; three (David, Allen, and Tom) with his first wife, Suzanne Hahn, and two with his second wife, actress Patty Duke – one adopted (Sean, Patty's son from an earlier relationship, whom Astin adopted during their marriage) and one biological (Mackenzie).

Astin married Valerie Ann Sandobal in 1989 and they live in Baltimore, Maryland. Astin is a vegetarian.[12] He practices Nichiren Buddhism as a member of the worldwide Buddhist association Soka Gakkai International.[13]


Astin's film and television roles include:[14]


Year Title Role Notes ref
1960 The Pusher Detective
1961 West Side Story Glad Hand, Social Worker Leading Dance
1962 That Touch of Mink Mr. Everett Beasley
1963 Move Over, Darling Clyde Prokey
The Wheeler Dealers SEC official Released as Separate Beds in the UK [17]
1967 The Spirit Is Willing Dr. Frieden
1968 Candy Daddy / Uncle Jack
1969 Viva Max! Sergeant Valdez Comedy film
1971 Bunny O'Hare Ad
  • American comedy film directed by Gerd Oswald.
  • Bette Davis was unhappy with the final film and sued AIP for $3.3 million in damages.
1972 Un secuestro de locura Star
Evil Roy Slade Evil Roy Slade
Get to Know Your Rabbit Mr. Turnbull
Every Little Crook and Nanny Vito Garbugli
Wacky Taxi Pepper
1973 The Brothers O'Toole Michael O'Toole / Desperate Ambrose Littleberry
  • American comedy western film directed by Richard Erdman.
  • Michael O'Toole, a roguish gambler and con artist, and younger brother Timothy O'Toole, a womanizer, turn the sleepy mining town of Molybdenum, Colorado upside down.
1976 Freaky Friday Bill Andrews American fantasy comedy film directed by Gary Nelson.
1985 National Lampoon's European Vacation Kent Winkdale (host of "Pig in a Poke")
1987 Teen Wolf Too Dean Dunn
  • American comedy film
  • The sequel to Teen Wolf.
Body Slam Scotty the car dealer American comedy film directed by Hal Needham.
1988 Return of the Killer Tomatoes Professor Mortimer Gangreen
1989 Night Life Uncle Verlin A horror comedy film
1990 Gremlins 2: The New Batch Janitor [23]
Killer Tomatoes Strike Back Professor Mortimer Gangreen The third film in the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes film series.
1991 Killer Tomatoes Eat France Professor Mortimer Gangreen The fourth film in the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes film series.
1993 Stepmonster Minister Direct-to-video film
1994 The Silence of the Hams The Ranger
Huck and the King of Hearts Zach
1996 The Frighteners The Judge New Zealand-American horror comedy fantasy film directed by Peter Jackson and co-written with his wife, Fran Walsh. [27]
2001 Betaville President Sender
2006 What the Bleep!?: Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Quantum Voice
2015 Starship II: Rendezvous with Ramses Professor Peabody


Year Title Role Notes ref
1960 Maverick Joe Lambert Episode: "The Town That Wasn't There" (S 4:Ep 3)
1961 The Twilight Zone Charlie Episode: "A Hundred Yards Over the Rim" (S 2:Ep 23)
1962 77 Sunset Strip (1958-1964 TV series) Martin Grosch Episode: "Dress Rehearsal" (S4:Ep36) air: 05/25/1962
1962 Ben Casey Nat Morris Episode: "Preferably, the Less-Used Arm" (S 1:Ep 29)
1962–1963 I'm Dickens, He's Fenster Harry Dickens Main role
1964–1966 The Addams Family Gomez Addams Main role
1967 The Pruitts of Southampton Rudy Pruitt
  • Main role
  • The show was based on the novel House Party (1954) by Patrick Dennis.
Batman The Riddler 2 episodes
The Wild Wild West Count Nikolai Sazanov Episode: "The Night of the Tartar"
The Flying Nun Father Lundigan Episode: "Flight of the Dodo Bird"
Gunsmoke Henry Haggen Episode: "Hard Luck Henry" (S 13:Ep 7)
1968 Death Valley Days Jesse Martin Episode: "The Gold Mine on Main Street" (S 16: Ep 20)
1969 Bonanza Abner Willoughby Episode: "Abner Willoughby's return" (S 11:Ep 13)
1971 The Odd Couple Beau Buffingham Episode: "Oscar's New Life" (S 1:Ep 21)
1971–1972 Night Gallery Jonathan, Randy Miller, Munsch 3 episodes
1972–1978 Insight Guest star 4 episodes
1972 The New Scooby-Doo Movies Gomez Addams Voice, episode: "Wednesday Is Missing" (S 1:Ep 3)
1972–1973 McMillan & Wife Sykes 3 episodes
1973 The Partridge Family Sydney Rose Episode: "The Mad Millionaire"
Circle of Fear Fred Colby Episode: "The Graveyard Shift"
1974 Only with Married Men Dr. Harvey Osterman Television film
1975 The Dream Makers Manny Wheeler Television film
1975– 1979 Welcome Back, Kotter Museum curator Recurring role
1976 Police Story Dr. Milford Episode: "Firebird" (S 3:Ep 18)
1977 Halloween with the New Addams Family Gomez Addams Television film
1977–1978 Operation Petticoat Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Sherman Main role [29][30][31]
1977–1980 Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels Additional Voices Recurring role
1978 The Love Boat Dave, The Hermit Episode: "Marooned" (S 2:Ep 1)
Fantasy Island Charles D. Preston Episode: "The Beachcomber / The Last Whodunit" (S 2:Ep 3)
1984 The Facts of Life Vito Miles Episode: "The Summer of '84" (S 6:Ep 1)
Diff'rent Strokes C.W. Episode: "A Haunting We Will Go" (S 7:Ep 1)
Simon & Simon Uncle Ray Simon Episode: "Revolution #9 1/2" (S 4:Ep 12)
1984–1990 Night Court Buddy Ryan, Kenny Recurring role
1984 Murder, She Wrote Ross Hayley, Harry Pierce, Fritz Randall 5 episodes
1985–1986 Mary Ed LaSalle Main role
1985 Riptide Baxter Bernard Episode: "Baxter and Boz" (S 2:Ep 13)
Otherworld Akin Episode: "Mansion of the Beast" (S 1:Ep 7)
1986 Mr. Boogedy Neil Witherspoon Television film [32]
1987 St. Elsewhere Kevin Episode: "Visiting Daze" (S 5:Ep 14)
The Charmings Jack/The Devil Episode: "The Witch is of Van Oaks" (S 2:Ep 3)
1987–1988 Webster Uncle Charles 2 episodes
1988 Charles in Charge Uncle Joe Episode: "Pickle King of New York" (S 3:Ep 14)
1989 The Saint: The Blue Dulac George Lafosse Television filme
1990 Attack of the Killer Tomatoes Dr. Putrid T. Gangreen Voice, main role[33]
1991 Eerie Indiana Radford Recurring role
Taz-Mania Bull Gator Voice, recurring role
Father Dowling Mysteries Manager of Gun Club Episode: "The Priest Killer Mystery" (S 3:Ep 16)
They Came from Outer Space Neville Nessen Episode: "Sex, Lies and UFOs, part 2" (S 1:Ep 20)
Tales from the Crypt Nelson Halliwell Episode: "Top Billing" (S 3:Ep 5)
1992–1993 The Addams Family Gomez Addams Voice, main role[33]
1993 The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. Professor Wickwire 7 episodes
1993-1994 Problem Child General Pierre Habib-Johnson Voice, recurring role
1994–1997 Duckman Terry Duke Tetzloff Voice, recurring role
1994 Bonkers The Mole Episode: "Stressed to Kill" (S 3:Ep23)
Burke's Law Alexander Episode: "Who Killed Alexander the Great?" (S 1:Ep 6)
Mad About You Himself Episode: "Up All Night" (S 2:Ep 23)
Step by Step George Humphries Episode: "The Ice Cream Man Cometh" (S 4:Ep 9)
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters Doctor Voice, episode: "Monstrous Make-Over / A Wing and a Scare" (S 1:Ep 4)[33]
1994–1995 Step by Step George Humphries 2 episodes
Aladdin Sydney Voice, 2 episodes
1995 The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat Additional Voices Recurring role
1996 The Nanny Dr. Roberts 2 episodes
Quack Pack Mr. Roborson Voice, episode: "The Unusual Suspects"(S 1:Ep 15)
1997 Homeboys in Outer Space Rhymer Episode: "The Adventures of Ratman and Gerbil or, Holy Homeboys in Outer Space" (S 1:Ep 21)
Johnny Bravo Scientist 1/Blind Man Voice, episode: "Jumbo Johnny / The Perfect Gift / Bravo, James Bravo" (S 1:Ep 10)[33]
Pinky and the Brain Grover Whalen Voice, episode: "Mice Don't Dance" (S 3:Ep 11)[33]
1998–1999 The New Addams Family Grampapa Addams 2 episodes
1998–1999 Recess Supt. Skinner, The Judge Voice, 4 episodes
1999 The Hughleys Guest star Episode: "Storm o' the Century" (S 1:Ep 17)
The Wild Thornberrys Bangaboo, Pingah Voice, episode: "The Great Bangaboo" (S 1:Ep 17)[33]
2000 The Strip Orson Bates Episode: "I Wear My Sunglasses At Night" (S 1:Ep 9)
Becker Richard Wilson Episode: "All the Rage" (S 2:Ep 15)
2001 As Told By Ginger Dave Bishop Voice, 2 episodes[33]
2004–2007 Higglytown Heroes Santa Claus Voice, 2 episodes
2005 School of Life Stormin' Norman Warner Television film
2006 My First Time Himself Episode: "Something About Mary" (S 1:Ep 1)
2017 Justice League Action Uncle Dudley Voice, episode: "Captain Bamboozle" (S 1:Ep 49)[33]


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  3. ^ Brennan, Patricia (March 15, 1992). "John Astin Joins 'Eerie' As Avuncular Shopkeeper". The Washington Post. p. O7.
  4. ^ McCauley, Mary Carole (December 5, 2011). "Hopkins renames theater in honor of John Astin". The Baltimore Sun.
  5. ^ John Astin profile, Accessed July 29, 2023.
  6. ^ Lowry, Cynthia (October 30, 1962). "Actor John Astin Suddenly Finds He's A Siamese Twin". Ocala Star-Banner. p. 9. Retrieved June 21, 2015.
  7. ^ "Batman". IMDb. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  8. ^ Holzberg, Janene (2014). "For teen actors, Astin remains the father of comedy for 'The Addams Family'". Howard County Times. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  9. ^ "Board of Directors – Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts". Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  10. ^ "John Astin". Johns Hopkins University. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  11. ^ "See a Show". Theatre Arts & Studies. June 6, 2016. Retrieved December 30, 2022.
  12. ^ "John Astin Biography". Retrieved 1 February 2023.
  13. ^ James D. Davis (May 24, 1996). "Enriching The Soul". The Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved February 18, 2015.
  14. ^ "John Astin : Credit Listings". Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  15. ^ "West Side Story (AA)". British Board of Film Classification. January 12, 1962. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  16. ^ Garner, James & Winokur, Jon The Garner Files: A Memoir Simon & Schuster; (November 1, 2011) Accessed May 23, 2015
  17. ^ Variety film review; September 25, 1963, page 6 Accessed May 23, 2015.
  18. ^ Ebert, Roger (December 26, 1968). "Review: Candy (1968)". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  19. ^ "Candy (1968) Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 23, 2010.
  20. ^ Adler, Renata (December 18, 1968). "'Candy,' Compromises Galore:Film Faithful in Spirit to Satirical Novel". The New York Times. Retrieved March 23, 2010.
  21. ^ "Bunny O'Hare". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  22. ^ The Contract and the Cutting Room Floor The Washington Post and Times-Herald (1959–1973) [Washington, D.C] August 21, 1971: E2
  23. ^ DVD commentary (2002). Gremlins 2: The New Batch. Warner Home Video.
  24. ^ "Il Silenzio dei prosciutti (The Silence of the Hams) (1994)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  25. ^ "The Silence of the Hams". Time Out Film Guide website. September 10, 2012. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  26. ^ Bignell, Darren (January 2000). "Silence of the Hams". Empire Online. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  27. ^ Pryor, Ian (2003). Peter Jackson: From Prince of Splatter to Lord of the Rings. New York City: Thomas Dunne Books. pp. 204–205. ISBN 0-312-32294-1.
  28. ^ Diller, Phyllis; Buskin, Richard (2005). Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse: My Life in Comedy. New York: The Penguin Group. pp. 190–193. ISBN 1-58542-396-3.
  29. ^ Brooks and Marsh 1995, p. 780. Accessed May 20, 2015
  30. ^ "Operation Petticoat TV Show". Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  31. ^ "Operation Petticoat (1977–1979)". IMDb. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  32. ^ "Mr. Boogedy". The New York Times. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h "John Astin (visual voices guide)". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved December 3, 2023. A green check mark indicates that a role has been confirmed using a screenshot (or collage of screenshots) of a title's list of voice actors and their respective characters found in its opening and/or closing credits and/or other reliable sources of information.