John Allen Astin

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John Allen Astin

Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Dr. Allen Varley Astin and Margaret Linnie Mackenzie Astin
Husband of Private
Ex-husband of Private and Patty Duke
Father of Private; Private; Private; Mackenzie Alexander Astin and Sean Astin
Brother of Private and Private

Occupation: Actor
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About John Allen Astin

A very talented and likable lead and character actor busiest on TV since the early 1960s, John Astin successfully ventured into TV directing, but has been primarily known for his often zany and cartoonish acting roles. Frequently mustachioed, with perennially bulging eyes and often displaying a manic intensity, Astin is best known for the roles of Gomez Addams on The Addams Family, Evil Roy Slade, and other similarly eccentric comedic characters.

He was born on March 30, 1930 in Baltimore, Maryland to Margaret Linnie (née Mackenzie) and Dr. Allen V. Astin, director of the National Bureau of Standards. Evidently inheriting his intellectual bent from his father, Astin was a voracious reader and mathematician, at one point in his high school career mastering an entire semester's worth of study in one evening (that's his story, anyway).

A part in the senior play at Johns Hopkins University (where he was majoring in math) cemented his desire to act, and in 1952 Astin did graduate work in dramatics at the University of Minnesota, where he appeared in 40 plays in and around the campus, played the violin, and gambled incessantly (and badly). With $100 in his pocket, Astin headed to New York, where he did janitorial work in theatres until securing a role in the off-Broadway Threepenny Opera for a princely 15 per week. Better money came Astin's way when he started doing voice-over work for animated commercials; in 1961 he extended his acting skills to films in a small but memorable part as a smarmy social worker in the Oscar-winning West Side Story.

In 1962, Astin was teamed with Marty Ingels on the blue-collar sitcom I'm Dickens, He's Fenster, which despite a loyal following failed to garner ratings. The show did, however, establish Astin as a reliable laugh-getter, leading to a more successful run as Gomez Addams, the macabre but passionate paterfamilias on The Addams Family. This series ran from 1964 to 1966, after which Astin spent a great deal of time touring the country in theatrical productions - often living out of a van, a lifestyle he seemed to thrive upon.

Joining Astin during his barnstorming days was his second wife, actress Patty Duke, who called herself Patty Duke Astin for the duration (Astin and Duke raised a son, Sean Astin, who grew up to become a popular film actor in his own right). The marriage ultimately dissolved due in part to Astin's bohemian point of view, though while the union lasted both Astin and Duke were tireless workaholics who were rarely without acting gigs.

His many credits during this time period include 1974's Skyway to Death, and playing the dad in the original version of Freaky Friday. He directed and appeared in the TV movie Operation Petticoat. In the 1980's he landed recurring roles on both Murder, She Wrote and the sitcom Night Court. His marriage to Patti Duke ended in 1985, but Astin maintained a busy schedule appearing as a game-show host in National Lampoon's European Vacation, Teen Wolf Two, and Return of the Killer Tomatoes! As the 90s got under way he made two more Killer Tomatoes movies, appeared on the TV shows Mad About You and The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., and earned favorable reviews for his appearance in The Frighteners, with Astin almost unrecognizable, but on still familiar turf, as an amusing if menacing ghost.

Source: Starpulse, Yahoo! Movies, Wikipedia

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John Allen Astin's Timeline

March 30, 1930
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
February 25, 1971
Santa Monica, Los Angeles, CA, United States
May 12, 1973
Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States