Lurch (whose first name is unknown) is the fictional manservant to The Addams Family created by cartoonist Charles Addams. He is a tall, shambling, lugubrious butler who somewhat resembles Frankenstein's monster (as played by Boris Karloff) and (on the television series) has a deep, resonant voice unlike Herman Munster on the show's competitor The Munsters. 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. Ironically, the Addamses often comment that Lurch is eloquent and vivacious.
Lurch tries to help around the house like any other butler, though 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 often seems exasperated by his employers, and yet has a profound loyalty to them; 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 bringing a weapon into the house. Neise shows Lurch his badge, and Lurch hands the gun back to him.)
Aside from her headless Marie Antoinette doll, Lurch is Wednesday's best friend. 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.
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.
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
In Spanish-speaking countries, he is known as "Largo", because of his height.
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."
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 on Scrubs was not initially meant to have lines (except when talking to J.D., the viewpoint character), but this was changed, as he speaks with all other characters as of Season Two. A further similarity is that the Janitor's name is never revealed. On one occasion he even responded to a summons with "You rang?", and stated that he was imitating Lurch.