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'The Addams Family's' LI connection is only a little creepy, kooky

Cartoonist Charles Addams shown sketching down ideas.

Cartoonist Charles Addams shown sketching down ideas.  Photo Credit: The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images/Al Fenn

The Addamses are back — looking familiarly funereal — in the new animated feature film, “The Addams Family,” which opens Oct. 11. the movie finds the corpse-loving clan transplanted to New Jersey, pitted against a slew of pastel-wearing, assimilation-addicted suburbanites.The voice cast includes Oscar Isaac (Gomez), Charlize Theron (Morticia), Chloe Grace Moretz (Wednesday) and Snoop Dogg (as a tricked-out Cousin Itt).

Which may mean that cartoonist Charles Addams is rolling over in his grave. Or at least chuckling in it, because that grave is located in cozy Sagaponack. Contrary to his carefully orchestrated, oddball image, the artist spent decades living in the comfy, upscale suburban enclaves of Long Island’s East End.

For decades, Addams, whose memorable cartoons led to the popular 1960s “Addams Family” television series (and later feature films and a musical), lived in Manhattan and weekended in Westhampton Beach. An avid car collector (his rides included two Bugattis, an Alfa Romeo and a supercharged 1927 Mercedes S), he attended rallies in Bridgehampton, and raced upstate in Watkins Glen.

In 1980 he married his third wife, Tee Matthews Davie, a former model and conservationist, in a pet cemetery at her home in Water Mill. The bride wore black.

The couple, along with a passel of dogs and cats (no Things, as far as we know), moved to Sagaponack in 1985, calling their new home “The Swamp,” It was a far cry from the foreboding, gabled manse he drew to house his characters. The charming wooded property featured a rambling cedar-shingle ranch, furnished with antiques and Tee’s collection of taxidermy. Yes, it’s a head-scratcher that Tee, an animal lover and major supporter of the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, would also enjoy critters of the stuffed variety. But then the couple seemed to enjoy cultivating a quizzical reputation, what with his collection of crossbows and their reported fondness for picnicking in cemeteries.

Addams died in 1988, his widow in 2002, but the house still stands, home to the Tee and Charles Addams Foundation, run by executive director H. Kevin Miserocchi and co-trustee Robert Klosowicz, who were family friends and live on the property.

Curious fans can visit. A highlight is Addams’ study, with its worn, antique drafting table and memorabilia. (Book an appointment, from June through October, at addamsfoundation.org.) Or head to the East Hampton Library on Oct. 19 at 6 p.m., when Miserocchi will present “Charles Addams: Family and Friends,” a free talk about Addams’ work and life, with photos of the artist and his home. (For info, visit tomtwomeyseries.org.)
 

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