Fred Gwynne: A dynamite actor with a life surrounded by tragedy…
Fred Gwynne is known as Herman Munster in the show The Munsters, which aired from 1964 to 1966. While the series only lasted two seasons, reruns of it still air and captivates audiences to this day.
The Munsters premiered during a time of civil unrest, so sitcoms didn’t reflect on death, war, or anything racist, especially while being in Vietnam. This would soon prompt a slew of shows that depicted a fantasy-like world with genies, witches, Martians, monsters, etc.
“ The Munsters was extraordinarily hard for Fred to do,” Geoffrey continues. “He was already 6-foot-5-and-a-half inches and they put him in these buildup shoes in which he could hardly walk. And, of course, makeup that took hours to put on every day. Al Lewis was 6-foot-2, and he’s staring up at Fred, because now he’s so much taller. On top of that, it’s not easy to do comedy without an audience. And then, anytime you play a character like Herman, there’s a boomerang effect. If the show goes well, you won’t be thought of as anything else.”
Despite earning a place in pop culture history for his depiction of Herman Munster, Gwynne really did not care to revisit those years throughout his life. Author Stephen Cox talks to Closer Weekly more about this. “When I wrote the book The Munsters back in the 1980s, Gwynne did not wish to participate. He didn’t want to go back there. I didn’t know it when I’d reached him by phone that he and his wife had a son drown in a pool during those years, but I have a strong feeling he didn’t want to discuss that part of his life. Actually, I was unaware, so I would not have asked him about that anyway. I liked Fred Gwynne and he was kind about asking for a copy of the book, which I certainly obliged — he responded with some autographed items for me. But he just didn’t want to revisit it, sadly.”
The Munsters Movie is underway building the house…stage
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One of my favorite movies in my all time list… My Cousin Vinny is a 1992 American comedy film directed by Jonathan Lynn, from a screenplay by Dale Launer. The film stars Joe Pesci, Ralph Macchio, Marisa Tomei, Mitchell Whitfield, Lane Smith, Bruce McGill, and Fred Gwynne in his final film appearance.
Fred Gwynne R.I.P