Carolyn Jones was a talented and versatile actress who starred in many films and television shows in the 1950s and 1960s. She is best known for her iconic role as Morticia Addams, the elegant and mysterious matriarch of the macabre Addams Family. However, behind her glamorous image, Jones was battling a serious illness that eventually claimed her life at the age of 53. Here is the story of how Carolyn Jones died of colon cancer.
Early Life and Career
Carolyn Jones was born in Amarillo, Texas, on April 28, 1930. She suffered from severe asthma as a child and developed a passion for reading Hollywood fan magazines. She dreamed of becoming an actress and enrolled at the Pasadena Playhouse in California at the age of 17. She was spotted by a talent scout and signed a contract with Paramount Pictures in 1952.
Jones made her film debut in The Turning Point (1952) and appeared in several movies, such as House of Wax (1953), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), and The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956). She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in The Bachelor Party (1957) and a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer in 1959.
The Addams Family Fame
In 1964, Jones landed the role that would make her a household name: Morticia Addams in the television series The Addams Family. Based on the cartoons by Charles Addams, the show featured a quirky and spooky family that delighted in all things dark and macabre. Jones played the beautiful and devoted wife of Gomez Addams (John Astin) and the mother of Wednesday (Lisa Loring) and Pugsley (Ken Weatherwax).
Jones wore a long black wig, pale makeup, and a tight-fitting black dress to portray Morticia. She also had to endure hours of makeup to cover her neck scar from a thyroid surgery she had in 1959. She brought charm, grace, and humor to the character, who often spoke French to her husband and tended to her carnivorous plants. Jones became one of the most popular actresses on television and received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 1966.
Colon Cancer Diagnosis and Death
While working on The Addams Family, Jones started experiencing abdominal pain and bleeding. She was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1968 and underwent surgery to remove part of her colon. She also received chemotherapy and radiation treatments. She continued to act in various projects, such as Batman (1966), The Mod Squad (1968-1973), Wonder Woman (1976), and Roots (1977).
However, her cancer returned in 1982 and spread to other organs. She married her fourth husband, actor Peter Bailey-Britton, in 1982 and moved to his home in England. She returned to California in 1983 for further treatment but fell into a coma at her home in West Hollywood. She died on August 3, 1983, surrounded by her family and friends. She was cremated and her ashes were scattered over the Pacific Ocean.
Legacy and Influence
Carolyn Jones left behind a legacy of memorable performances and a loyal fan base. She is widely regarded as one of the best character actresses of all time and one of the most iconic portrayals of Morticia Addams. Her role inspired many other actresses who played Morticia in later adaptations, such as Anjelica Huston, Daryl Hannah, Bebe Neuwirth, Charlize Theron, and Eva Green.
Jones also raised awareness about colon cancer and encouraged people to get screened regularly. According to Dead or Kicking, she was one of the first celebrities to openly talk about her illness and treatment. She also supported various charities and causes, such as animal welfare, environmental protection, and children’s education.
Carolyn Jones was a remarkable woman who faced her challenges with courage and grace. She will always be remembered for her talent, beauty, and spirit.