All Actresses Who Have Played Wednesday Addams, Ranked Worst To Best
Netflix’s Wednesday premiered on November 23, 2022, marking the first live-action Addams family TV adaption since The New Addams Family in 1998. The series is directed by the gothic horror king, Tim Burton, and sees Jenna Ortega take on the titular role of Wednesday Addams. Wednesday is also a unique series in that it is the first Addams family adaption to focus solely on one member of the family. However, it’s no surprise that Wednesday was picked as the main protagonist.
Wednesday is the one member of the Addams family who, in nearly every interpretation, manages to shine on her own and isn’t too dependent on her family as Gomez, Morticia, and Pugsley tend to be. Additionally, she boldly breaks the mold of what a little girl is expected to be by being independent, unemotional, fierce, and with a morbid sense of humor. Ortega did a masterful job of portraying Wednesday as an “outcast” at odds with both her family and the world. However, Wednesday has been onscreen since 1964, with several actresses portraying the character and each putting their twist on her. Here is every actress who has portrayed, or voiced, Wednesday, ranked worst to best.
7. Cindy Henderson
Cindy Henderson was the second actress to portray Wednesday and the first to lend her voice to the character in an animated series. Henderson voiced Wednesday in the 1973 animated series The Addams Family. However, the show only ran for one season and Henderson never reprised her role as Wednesday afterward. She largely stepped away from the film industry after the 70s. Meanwhile, although The Addams Family cartoon was strange, funny, and ghoulish, it didn’t quite do justice to Wednesday. She wears a pink dress in the series and is portrayed as rather timid, sweet, and happy. Henderson gave her a soft, sweet voice but without adding much personality to it.
6. Nicole Fugere
Nicole Fugere portrayed Wednesday in the 1998 film Addams Family Reunion and in the TV series The New Addams Family, which ran for one season between 1998 – 1999. Fugere was the last live-action Wednesday before Ortega. She made a strong Wednesday with her interest in the macabre and her intense rivalry with her brother, Pugsley (Brody Smith). However, she didn’t quite nab the melancholy and woeful portrayal of Wednesday that Charles Addams initially imbued into the character. Instead, she leaned more to the remorseless, frightening, and sadistic side of Wednesday. While she was masterful at portraying Wednesday’s severe side, she made the character a little flat by not exploring her more sorrowful and sophisticated side.
5. Chloë Grace Moretz
Chloë Grace Moretz was the third actress to voice an animated Wednesday. Moretz portrayed Wednesday in the 2019 animated film The Addams Family and its sequel, The Addams Family 2. Though the films follow the whole Addams family, they hone in on Wednesday. The first film sees Wednesday befriend a girl from school and consider adding a bit of color to her life. Meanwhile, the sequel explores Wednesday growing older and feeling distant from her family. Moretz does a fantastic job of finding a balance between Wednesday’s sadism and melancholy. She also provides Wednesday with a nice icy tone. The only issue is that Wednesday changes a bit too quickly throughout the films, and sometimes the characteristics that make her Wednesday fade a bit.
4. Debi Derryberry
Debi Derryberry portrayed Wednesday in the 1992 animated series The Addams Family. The Addams Family was released in the wake of the live-action The Addams Family film in 1991, which reignited interest in the macabre family. It ran for 2 seasons and was an enjoyable and quirky take on the Addams family that included funny one-liners and some slapstick humor. Derryberry is an American voice actress most well known for portraying Wednesday Addams and Jimmy Neutron. Derryberry offered a very unique take on Wednesday. Her Wednesday wasn’t as macabre, dark, or menacing as some other iterations, but Derryberry masterfully kept the emotion out of her voice and gave Wednesday a very mature and sophisticated tone. It certainly meshed well with the idea of Wednesday being an old soul or a “child of woe.”
3. Lisa Loring
Lisa Loring was the very first actress to take on the role of Wednesday. She portrayed Wednesday in the 1964 live-action sitcom The Addams Family. Loring was just a tender 6 years old when she took on the role. At such a young age, she wasn’t quite old enough to nab the melancholy aspect of Wednesday. She just couldn’t help looking and sounding adorable and innocent. However, she did manage to pull off Wednesday’s signature death stare and an innocent interest in the macabre. Loring was a very realistic young Wednesday, one who showed traits of morbidity and melancholy that made it clear she wasn’t quite the innocent little girl that she appeared to be on the outside.
2. Jenna Ortega
Jenna Ortega is the most recent actress to play Wednesday. She made her debut on November 23, 2022, when Netflix dropped the first season of Wednesday. Ortega, by far, offers the most layered version of Wednesday yet. From the onset, though, she masterfully portrays the “child of woe” with an expression of perpetual, subtle sadness. She also captures Wednesday’s maturity, sophistication, and brilliance. Where she differs from previous interpretations is in her psychic powers, anti-social personality, humor, and her disdain for her mother. In some ways, these are good changes as they make her transition from a child to an adolescent realistic. At the same time, it slightly tarnishes the legacy of the Addams family, which was that they always perceived themselves as normal and were a close-knit loving family, who taught others to embrace their peculiar, but harmless, differences.
1. Christina Ricci
While Ortega was a worthy successor of Wednesday, she couldn’t quite top the iconic legacy of Christina Ricci’s take on the character. Ricci took on the role of Wednesday in Barry Sonnenfeld’s 1991 film The Addams Family and its sequel, The Addams Family Values. Ricci shined as Wednesday because she perfectly encompassed everything that Charles Addams had intended her to be. She was dark, yet not overly complex, choosing to shield herself in a constant haze of gloom and sorrow. However, Ricci’s Wednesday, though maintaining her inability to express emotion, still was able to express skill and passion as she tormented her brothers or challenged America’s white-washed Christopher Columbus history. Ricci proved the most masterful take on Wednesday because she could give her a personality and a place in her family, without having to change her fundamental characteristics of morbidity and lack of emotion.
(featured image: Netflix)
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