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'Gomez Addams' playing Poe

WESTMINSTER, Md., Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Actor John Astin says he's been a loyal fan of the 19th century author Edgar Allen Poe, who he is portraying in tribute events in Baltimore.

Astin, 78, said taking the stage Sunday as part of Baltimore's yearlong commemorations of the 200th anniversary of Poe's 1809 birth, it would be the culmination of at least 66 years of being a Poe fan, The Baltimore Sun reported.

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"Before I was 12," said Astin, best known for playing Gomez in the TV situation comedy "The Addams Family," "my mother gave me 'The Purloined Letter' to read -- I still remember the room I was in. She helped me with the words I didn't understand. I was so stunned by the story. Then I read 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue' and that knocked me out. When I got older, I got into the poetry."

Astin, now director of the Theatre Arts and Studies Program at Johns Hopkins University, first took his love of Poe to the stage in the 1990s with a one-man show he performed in more than 100 states in the ensuing years.

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