Die-hard fans of The Addams Family probably know that Vic Mizzy composed the show’s catchy theme song and directed the actors in its opening credits. And you may be familiar with the musician’s first wife, Mary Small, a celebrated radio singer known as “The Little Girl with the Big Voice.” But what you might not know is that Vic Mizzy had a secret grandson whose daughter gave him up for adoption with the aid of infamous attorney and real estate titan, Donald T. Sterling.
If that’s news to you, it came as a big surprise to me too, when a decade ago, I learned by accident that Mizzy’s daughter Patty Lou gave her only child up for adoption… and that kid turned out to be me! It was a total shock learning this, an event that turned my life upside down and inside out. And I’ve just written about how that happened and the scandalous reason why in a best-selling memoir called The Bastard of Beverly Hills, available now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
I can’t share all the details about how the secret adoption was orchestrated in this post, but there are 3 very “creepy and kooky” coincidences I stumbled across while researching the circumstances of my adoption and writing this crazy new book.
#1 The home I was raised in was sold to my mother by Carolyn Jones, who played Morticia Addams on the show. She had just divorced Aaron Spelling, the TV producer. It’s actually one of, if not the oldest, house in Beverly Hills, and there’s a great story about that here. Prior to Carolyn and Spelling owning it, the deed was held by several fascinating people, one of whom died in the house shortly after a sex scandal involving his wife and Buster Keaton. Interestingly this strange connection had nothing to do with how or why I was adopted. For that story, you’ll need to read the book.
#2 The chair from the opening credits is a second coincidence. When I was a little boy this Peacock chair sat on an open-air patio, gathering dust. It was the only piece of furniture left by Carolyn Jones when she sold the house. I had its provenance verified by an auction house. I often felt strange sitting in that chair, never once making the connection to The Addams Family.
I don’t have much of an attachment to the seat, though, and while I think The Addams Family show and the characters were great, my experience with Mizzy, the composer, wasn’t very good. When he learned of me through a surrogate, he vehemently denied my existence and refused to meet me. I was told that he thought I was trying to extort him because others had claimed to be his long-lost grandchildren. This is explored in the book, as you’ll see if you get to the very end!
#3 The last coincidence is Vic Mizzy himself. Before I learned I was adopted, I actually met him face to face, although I had no idea who he was. He looked like I might in about fifty years. He’d been having dinner with some Hollywood friends in a booth at the Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel, and I had popped in for a drink with a date. The scene is replayed in the last chapter of The Bastard of Beverly Hills, but while I can’t reveal all that here, I will tell you it was a surreal encounter.
Today, I’ve made peace with the way Vic Mizzy treated me, but it does shed some light on the artist. People can be really talented at making music or art but also struggle with emotional maturity, as we’ve seen from watching many celebrity careers over the years. The Addams Family remains a fantastic brand with great retellings, great tunes, and awesome fans. But there’s always a darker truth to even the most fictional story, even one that’s already as creepy and kooky as this one.
RAFAEL MOSCATEL is the author of The Bastard of Beverly Hills, a memoir about hope, forgiveness, and redemption available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.