This towering mute has been shambling around the house forever... He is not a very good butler but a faithful one... One eye is opaque, the scanty hair is damply clinging to his narrow flat head... generally the family regards him as something of a joke."
Lurch is a tall, shambling, lugubrious butler who somewhat resembles Frankenstein's monster (as played by Boris Karloff) and on film has a deep, resonant voice. In his first appearance in a cartoon by Charles Addams he had a black beard, but in later incarnations he was clean-shaven.
Although fully capable of normal speech, Lurch sometimes communicates via simple inarticulate moans, which, much like the dialogue of Cousin Itt, his employers have no trouble understanding. In fact, the Addamses often comment that Lurch is eloquent and vivacious.
Lurch helps around the house like any other butler, cleaning, repairing, helping the children on and off the school bus. Occasionally his great size and strength cause trouble. He clearly takes pride in his work and is willing to do even the most arduous task. Lurch has a profound loyalty to his employers; in turn, the family treats Lurch like one of their own.
The family summons him with an ever-present bell pull (in the form of a hangman's noose). When pulled, it produces a loud gong noise that shakes the house, to which Lurch instantly responds with the line "You rang?" When the bell is rung, Lurch appears immediately (in contrast to his slow demeanor), even if wide-angle shots reveal he was clearly nowhere in the vicinity before; on a few occasions, Lurch arrives even before the bell pull is tugged.
Lurch largely shares the family's macabre standards, although he occasionally looks askance at some of their activities. He has a similar attitude toward visitors – almost a sixth sense. When a plainclothes policeman (played by George Neise) visits, Lurch pats him down and removes something from inside his suit coat: his service revolver. Lurch groans at the affront of someone other than the Addams Family bringing a weapon into the house. Neise shows Lurch his badge, and Lurch hands the gun back to him.
Lurch is Wednesday's best friend, besides her beloved headless Marie Antoinette doll. He seems to have a paternal affection for both Wednesday and Pugsley. Although his job title is limited to butler, he seems to be a "jack of all trades" when it comes to the children, doing everything from taking them to school to making them lunch to even keeping an eye on them around the house. He is close friends with the disembodied hand, Thing.
In the original television series, Lurch was played by Ted Cassidy, who also voiced the character in the first animated series, as well as the episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies cartoon that preceded it. In the second animated series, Lurch was voiced by Jim Cummings. Carel Struycken played Lurch in the films. In The New Addams Family series, Lurch was portrayed by Canadian actor, John DeSantis.
Much of Lurch's history, including his first name and the nature of his relationship to any other Addamses, was originally unspecified. "Lurch" was revealed during the original TV series to be a surname, as there was a "Mother Lurch" who appeared in one episode. She addressed Lurch as "Sonny", which could either be a parental nickname or his actual first name. As for his father, he was mentioned once, and in an apparent reference to his Frankenstein-like appearance, Lurch said, smiling, "He put me together."
It was stated in Addams Family Reunion that Lurch is part-Addams. This plays into his being a creation similar to Frankenstein's monster as he was made from different body parts. The only definite body part that is from an Addams is his heart. Lurch's mother appears to be a physically normal, elderly woman, although she does not see anything unusual about the Addams family or their home, with the exception of Thing.
In The New Addams Family, a woman comments to Morticia about Lurch, "Where did you dig him up?", to which Morticia responds, "Funny, I can't remember which cemetery it was." Lurch is also referenced as having "two left feet."
In the episode "No Ifs, Ands Or Butlers" of the 1992 cartoon, Lurch's backstory is elaborated upon a little, where it is revealed that his father was a hulking blue-skinned doctor like Lurch who had his son "put together" (a reference to Dr. Frankenstein). Granny Frump also reveals that Lurch's ancestors were all Frankenstein's Monster-esque beings as well who were built in different periods (and had spare parts to boot) and even Abraham Lincoln was implied to have secretly been a part of the Lurch family.
The Addams Family (2019)
In the 2019 film, Thing is distracted while driving Gomez and Morticia to their new home in an abandoned asylum on a hill. They hit Lurch, an escaped mental patient, and immediately recruit him as their butler. Thirteen years later, he is still employed to the Addams family. Grandmama has a crush on Lurch. During the attack on the Addams home by the citizens of Assimilation when the entire Addams family is trapped, Lurch leans over to protect the Addams family from the falling debris. This shows how much he cares for them. Fortunately, Wednesday arrives with Ichabod to rescue them.
- In Spanish-speaking countries, he is known as "Largo", because of his height.
- In Brazil, he is known as "Tropeço" (to stumble, trip over).
- Lurch is often seen playing the harpsichord at virtuoso level. The actor played on a dead keyboard; Vic Mizzy, the show's musical director, played the actual tunes.
- Lurch made a guest appearance during a Bat-Climb sequence in a episode of Batman, playing the Addams Family theme in the background before popping his head out after being startled by Batman.
- As originally conceived, Lurch was to have no lines, but in the pilot Ted Cassidy ad-libbed the line "You rang?" in his trademark deep voice, and it was so impressive it led to Lurch getting more dialogue; he ultimately had three lines in the pilot. In the films, however, Lurch was totally mute except for the occasional expressive grunt.
- The animated episode Girlfriendstein gives Lurch's shoe size as 27QQQQ.
- On October 30, 1965, a song and dance based on Lurch, entitled "The Lurch," were introduced on the ABC music program Shindig!. This mirrored an earlier episode of the television series, entitled "Lurch, the Teenage Idol" (which was remade in 1999 for The New Addams Family). In it, Lurch records a song on his harpsichord and becomes a pop sensation.
- Lurch appears in the NES game Fester's Quest. Uncle Fester can get the famous noose from Grandmama, which, when used, shakes the screen with a loud gong (just like the TV show). Lurch's picture appears, says "You rang?", and destroys all on-screen enemies.
- On at least two episodes of Scrubs, the Janitor (played by Neil Flynn) has been called 'Lurch' by other characters, alluding to his vague physical resemblance to the Addams Family character and certain behavioral traits they share, such as appearing out of nowhere or the jack-of-all-trades element. The Janitor character was not initially meant to have lines, except when talking to J.D., the viewpoint character. A further similarity is that the Janitor's name is never revealed. On one occasion, he even responded to a summon with "You rang?" and stated that he was imitating Lurch.
- Radio Talk Show host Rush Limbaugh, soon joined by other conservative pundits, used the nickname 'Lurch' to describe the 2004 Democratic Presidential nominee, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts.
|The Addams Family Main Characters|
|Gomez Addams | Morticia Addams | Uncle Fester | Grandmama | Wednesday Addams | Pugsley Addams | Lurch | Thing | Cousin Itt|