LOS ANGELES -- Veteran movie and television actress Carolyn Jones, best known for her role as the ghoulish 'Morticia' in the TV series 'The Addams Family,' died Wednesday after a long bout with cancer, a spokesman said. She was 54.
Frank McFadden, her longtime publicist, said Miss Jones died at her home about 11:45 a.m. PDT.
Miss Jones' film roles included 'Marjorie Morningstar,' 'Road to Bali,' 'Baby Face Nelson' 'Saracen Blade,' 'The Man Who Knew Too Much,' 'Seven Year Itch,' 'House of Wax,' 'Desiree,' 'The Tender Trap,' 'Last Train From Gun Hill,' and 'Ice Palace,' among others.
Her career received a boost in 1957 when a six-minute role in Paddy Chayefsky's 'Bachelor Party' led to an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress.
In addition to movie roles, Miss Jones appeared in about 30 different television programs, including six spots on the old 'Dragnet,' series and roles in the highly praised 'Playhouse 90,' anthology, and 'Colgate Comedy Hour.'
But it was her role in the early 1960s 'The Addams Family' that brought her greater popularity than any of her movie portrayals. Although last filmed nearly 20 years ago in black and white, the show was quickly sold into syndication and is still seen daily in many regions.
After 'Addams Family,' she signed for a role in a new TV series, 'Capitol,' playing what she described in an interview as a 'ruthless, filthy rich, old broad with a sunken red bathtub for two.'
She had to drop out of the series after the first year because of her illness.
'Her drive to work and her care for all of us at the show kept her in front of the cameras long after, I'm sure, she felt capable of performing,' said John Conboy, producer of the series. 'I'll miss her enormous talent, as will all of her audience.'
'We lost a fine actress whose impeccable timing made her at home with drama or comedy,' said Bob Hope, who worked with her in 'Road to Bali.'
'The world has lost not only a great talent but a marvelous person. The news this past week has not been happy for the industry, with the passing of so many great talents -- David Niven, Raymond Massey and Lynn Fontanne.'
Born Carolyn Sue Jones in Amarillo, Texas, April 28, 1929, she showed an early interest in acting and took all of the dramatics classes available to her in the Amarillo public schools.
When she was 15 she enrolled in Pasadena Community Playhouse classes, even though she was three years under the acceptable age.
Her first motion picture role came as a result of a Playhouse production when she was seen by a talent scout, and signed to appear in a William Holden picture, 'The Turning Point,' in 1952.
She played four separate roles -- four sisters -- in the 1963 television show 'Burke's Law,' each with a different voice and facial expression.
'I have to put on a new head every morning,' she said in an interview at the time.
Her first marriage to producer Aaron Spelling lasted for 13 years, until 1964. She later married vocal musical conductor-arranger Herbert Green and lived in semi-retirement for two years in Palm Springs -- which she called 'God's waiting room.' She later was divorced and married actor Peter Bailey-Britton in 1981.
Miss Jones is survived by her husband and her sister, Betty, of Massachusetts.