One of my favorite tv shows of all time is the Addams Family. It had so much going on and on so many levels that it was hysterical. Yes, it was totally Fifties Formulaic<tm> but it still worked for me.
I can’t say I had one favorite character – I loved them all. But some stood out more than others. If you want to talk about typecasting, first in line would be Gomez, aka John Astin. He was so lovable and dashing (I guess).
I saw a few other shows John Astin did over the years but he would always be Gomez to me. I know that’s wrong, but I had a lot of affinity for the character and the way he portrayed him. I remember John popping up as a guest on a Twilight Zone episode, playing a hippy who had just died and was checking out the options in the afterlife.
Perhaps Mr. Astin’s second most memorable role was on the old sitcom Night Court. He played Harry’s father, a sweet old guy with a spark in his eye but his brain seemed to go on vacation frequently and not tell him it had left.
As this was a long time after the Addams Family, I’m left wondering if he was acting. Come to think of it, he might not be the only actor who made use of natural talent (or disease process). Certainly there’s Courtney Love, who played a drugged-out Ho in the biography of Larry Flint (Born of the Fourth of July?). And there’s another older actress who did going senile so well you had to wonder. I’m taking a guess, but I believe her name is Alice Ghostly. She popped up on Betwitched a lot (Mrs Crabtree?) and played the same character on a sitcom called Designing Women. She was losing it but she knew it and used it to great comedic extent.
Acting or not, they did a great job.