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John Astin (1930)

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  Summary  

John Allen Astin is an American actor who has appeared in numerous films and television shows, and is best known for the role of Gomez Addams on The Addams Family, and other similarly eccentric comedic characters.

  Biography  

 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 . 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.

 career
Astin started in theater, making his first Broadway appearance as an understudy in "Major Barbara," and also did voice-over work for commercials. His first big break in film came with a small part in West Side Story in 1961.

During this period, his talent for also playing comedy was spotted by actor Tony Randall, leading to a guest starring role on the ABC sitcom, Harrigan and Son, starring Pat O'Brien. In 1962–1963, he then starred with Marty Ingels in the sitcom I'm Dickens, He's Fenster, which aired thirty-one episodes in a single season. From 1964–1966, he starred in The Addams Family as Gomez Addams, the head of the macabre family. He appeared in the TV show The New Addams Family as Grandpapa Addams in 1998, with the role of Gomez Addams played by Glenn Taranto.

Astin joined the retooled The Pruitts of Southampton (re-titled The Phyllis Diller Show) for the second half of the 1966-1967 season, playing Diller's brother-in-law, Angus Pruitt. He also played the Riddler on ABC's Batman during Frank Gorshin's second season departure. He played submarine commander Matthew Sherman in the 1970s TV series Operation Petticoat. 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 stepfather of lead character Harry Stone. He also played the regular role of Ed LaSalle in the short-lived Mary Tyler Moore sitcom Mary during the 1985–86 television season. He guest starred on numerous television series too, including a Gunsmoke appearance in 1967 as Festus's cousin Henry, Jack Palance's ABC circus drama, The Greatest Show on Earth and Duckman.

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 Professor Wickwire in The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. 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.

 personal life
He has five sons, three by his first wife, Suzanne Hahn, and another by his second wife, actress Patty Duke. John also legally adopted Sean Astin, Duke's son from a previous marriage. John Astin is currently married to Valerie Ann Sandobal and lives in Baltimore. He is a practicing Buddhist.

His younger brother, Alexander Astin, is a professor emeritus at UCLA.

He has five granddaughters: Alexandra, Elizabeth, Isabella, Sedona and Jaya.

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  Sources

Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "John Astin", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.