A friend of mine, Daryl Wor, was showing me various photos that she wanted to use to accompany Episode 7 of The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows. A few of the photos were of Gomez and Morticia Addams; as I looked at them I began to see something that, of all the times I’ve watched the countless syndicated re-runs of The Addams Family, I have never before noticed and that I feel stupid for noticing after all those years and that was that Carolyn Jones was a stunningly beautiful woman. There was way more to Carolyn than her beauty, though. She had a way with the camera. She teased it. A cock of the head here, the sliest hint of a smile there and she could make the lens eat right out of the palm of her hand. I know that she is no longer with us, but I must admit that looking at the photos I found myself falling in love with her a little bit.
She was born Carolyn Sue Jones on April 28, 1930 in Amarillo, Texas to Chloe Jeanette Jones. Her father had abandoned the family. She had a sister named Betty. As a child she suffered from asthma and was often too sick to attend the movies that she loved so much. She would listen to her favorites, Danny Kaye and Spike Jones and would read as many movie magazines as she could get her hands on. In school she received numerous awards for poetry, speech and theatrics and in 1947 she was accepted as a student at the Pasadena Playhouse, of which her grandfather agreed to pay for her tuition. She graduated in 1950. Giving herself a complete makeover, including painful rhinoplasty, to make herself ready for a career in motion pictures; she worked as an understudy at the Players Ring Theater and was seen by a Hollywood talent scout and offered a screen test, which went well. Her first role, uncredited as Miss Lillian Smith, was in The Turning Point in 1952.
Her contributions to the genres of horror, science fiction and thrillers include House of Wax in 1953, The War of the Worlds (also 1953), Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Man Who Knew Too Much in 1956; and Eaten Alive in 1977.
She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role as The Existentialist in The Bachelor Party in 1957. She starred with Elvis Presley in what was arguably his best film, King Creole (1958).
She made guest appearances on countless TV series including Dragnet, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Batman, Wonder Woman and Kolchak: The Night Stalker. Her most memorable role, arguably speaking, is the one that I have hinted at in the photographs accompanying this article; that of Morticia Addams in the popular The Addams Family television series (1964-1966), the story of, as IMDb.com puts it, a blissfully macabre family. Despite their morbid nature, Gomez and Morticia Addams were the perfect example of a happy, loving couple who were always there for each other, no matter what.
Carolyn Jones passed away on August 3, 1983 at the age of 53 after a battle with colon cancer. She is interred in her mother’s crypt at Melrose Abbey Memorial Park in Orange County, California.
It is with simultaneous pleasure and sadness that I welcome, posthumously, the beautiful and talented Miss Carolyn Jones as the February, 2014 Written in Blood Scream Queen of the Month.
One more thing; if there are any women out there who have either dressed like or intend to dress like Morticia Addams for Halloween and have decided to use Anjelica Huston as your inspiration then I am sorry, but you’re doing it wrong. There was only one true Morticia Addams and her name was Carolyn Jones.
Said to have some Native American (Comanche) ancestry.