Did you grow up watching the hilarious sitcom The Munsters? It was a brilliant sitcom that followed a family of gentle monsters and their everyday lives. The show was the brain child of its creators, Allan Burns and Chris Hayward.
But what made the show a massive success was the Munsters Cast. These were an ensemble of talented actors with backgrounds in film, television, stage, and radio. They are what made the show a classic part of American entertainment!
Sadly, the main Wagon Train cast members have now left us. Their lives and hard work can serve as an inspiration for many aspiring actors and actresses.
Let’s look back at their incredible lives and careers….
Frederick Hubbard Gwynne was born on July 10, 1926 in New York. He studied at the prestigious boarding school Groton School in Massachusetts. Upon his graduation, he served as a radioman on a submarine chaser during the Second World War.
He would later attend Harvard University where he studied Art and was a cartoonist for the Harvard Lampoon. He was also a part of an a capella group called the Harvard Krokodiloes.
But he got bitten by the acting club when he joined the Hasty Pudding Theatricals at Harvard. It was here that he realized that he had to pursue a career in acting.
He worked as a copywriter in New York City and pursued his acting career on the side. He acted in plays and found occasional film work, most notably as “Slim” in the classic film On The Waterfront.
His television work began with roles in The Phil Silvers Show and Car 54 Where Are You?
But being part of Wagon Train cast as Herman Munster in The Munsters gave him his big break. For many fans, this was the role that Fred Gwynne would most be remembered for. It was also a role that he truly cherished.
He once said, “I might as well tell you the truth. I love old Herman Munster. Much as I try not to, I can’t stop liking that fellow.”
Apart from his work in television, he continued to have a remarkable career in cinema following his work on The Munsters. His notable film work included roles in The Cotton Club, Fatal Attraction, Pet Sematary, Shadows and Fog. His final film role was also one of his most famous roles: as Judge Chamberlain Haller in My Cousin Vinny.
Fred Gwynne died due to complications from pancreatic cancer on July 2, 1993, eight days before his 67th birthday.
Before we tell you more about how each Munsters wagon train cast member died, please like this video and subscribe to our channel for more current news and interesting stories. Now, back to the video…
Herman Munster’s wife was Lily who was played by veteran actress Yvonne De Carlo. She was born in Vancouver, Canada on September 1, 1922. She began her show business career in her teens, when she wrote short plays. Some of the plays were then performed at her local theatre.
YVONNE DE CARLO
Yvonne’s mother wanted her to pursue a career in show business and encouraged her to pursue acting.
She moved to Hollywood and began her career in modeling and dancing. By the early 1940s, she began working regularly in film.
Her early film roles included work in Road To Morocco, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Let’s Face It, Salute for Three, Deerslayer, and Standing Room Only.
By the late 1940s, she had appeared in films such as Salome, Where She Danced and Song of Scheherazade which made her a huge star.
Her film career continued throughout the 1950s and 1960s. It was in the mid-1960s when she was part of wagon train cast as Lily Munster.
Yvonne loved her work on the show and it helped introduce her to a new generation of fans who weren’t familiar with her film career. She continued to work primarily in films after The Munsters ended.
She passed away from heart failure in 2007 at the age of 84.
Al Lewis was born on April 30, 1923 in Manhattan. He began his acting career working on stage – performing in burlesque and vaudeville theatre. Al also began working in radio around this time.
Al Lewis also began his television career in the 1950s, notably appearing in the shows Decoy and The Phil Silvers Show – the latter which also co-starred future Munsters co-star Fred Gwynne. He and Fred Gwynne also later acted in Car 54 Where Are You?
But it was when he was part of wagon train cast as Grandpa Munster when his career took off. Following his work on The Munsters he continued to work regularly in television and film. His film roles included work in films such as They Shoot Horses Don’t They, They Might Be Giant, and Married to the Mob.
He really loved his character of Grandpa Munster and would happily appear as the character in other works. He felt that this was the role that helped launch him to stardom. Plus, it paid the bills as well!
He was also a regular guest on The Howard Stern Show appearing on the radio show in the late 1980s. During this time, he was also the host of Super Scary Saturday – in which he would wear his Grandpa Munster outfit.
Apart from his work in show business, he also ran as a Green Party Candidate for the Governer of New York but lost. He also later unsuccessfully tried to run for Senate.
Al Lewis died in 2006 due to natural causes. He was 82 years old.
Beverly Owen played the original role of Marilyn Munster before being replaced by Pat Priest. She was born on May 13, 1937 in Ottumwa, Iowa.
She began her acting career in the mid 1950s working in many popular TV shows. Her work included roles on As The World Turns, The Doctors, The Virginian, Wagon Train, and Another World. Her first film role was in the 1964 Western Bullet for a Badman.
Beverly was thenbecome part of wagon train cast as Marilyn Munsters in The Munsters and appeared in the show for 13 episodes. She later continued her TV career in the 1970s before quitting to raise her family.
Beverly Owen also pursued a Master’s degree in Early American History. She died on February 21, 2019 from ovarian cancer. She was 81 years old.
The “Man of 1000 Voices” Mel Blanc was born on May 30, 1908. If you’re a fan of any cartoon you’ll probably recognize him as the voice of such varied characters from Bugs Bunny to Barney Rubble!
He also was one of the voices of The Raven of The Munsters. Mel Blanc begun his career working in radio at the age of 19. He soon showed everyone that he had a unique talent for different voices.
This made him a regular on popular radio shows and TV shows. Once animation became popular during Hollywood’s Golden Age, his career really took off. He worked for many Warner Brothers animations and became one of America’s most popular voice actors – a title he still holds today.
He died in 1989 at the age of 81 from emphysema and coronary artery disease.
Bob Hastings was born on April 18, 1925 in New York. He began his show business career as a child. He was a singer on the popular radio series National Barn Dance.
After serving in the US Army Air Corps during the Second World War, he resumed his show business career. He played Archie Andrews in a radio series based on the popular Archie’s Comic series.
In the 1960s, he begun his television career. He appeared in shows such as Green Acres, Hennessy, Window on Main Street, Hogan’s Heroes, and Car 54 Where Are You?
He also played the voice of The Raven on The Munsters along with Mel Blanc. His other voice over work included roles in The New Adventures of Superboy, Clue Club, Batman: The Animated Series, and Superman: The Animated Series.
He died in 2014 at the age of 89 from prostate cancer.
LET’S CATCH UP WITH PAT PRIEST AND BUTCH PATRICK
From the main Munsters cast, Pat Priest and Butch Patrick are the surviving members.
Pat Priest took over the role of Marilyn Munster from Beverly Owen. She was born on August 15, 1936, in Bountiful, Utah. She began her career working in local stage productions as well as appearing as a singer and actress on local TV.
But it was her role as Marilyn Munster that catapulted her to fame. In fact, in the 1966 feature film Munster, Go Home! many fans were upset that Debbie Watson replaced Beverly as Marilyn! She was clearly the favorite for the role.
Marilyn later acted in films such as Looking for Love, Easy Come Easy Go, and Some Call It Loving. She retired from acting in the 1980s but still makes time to appear at conventions to discuss The Munsters.
The same can be said for Butch Patrick who played Eddie Munster. He was born on August 2, 1953. His acting career began when he appeared in the film The Two Little Bears in 1961.
He then played bit parts on TV shows including My Favorite Martian, Mister Ed, Bonanza, Ben Casey, and The Real McCoys. But he became a household name when cast as Eddie Munster on The Munsters. He later reprised this role in the film Munster, Go Home.
He continued to act occasionally on television throughout the 1960s and 1970s before leaving show business in 1975. Since then, he has occasionally made cameos in TV shows as himself and is happy to discuss his time working on the show.
Are you a fan of The Munsters? The show was one of the best sitcoms America has produced and one that remains unique with its storylines and characters.
So that brings up the question:
Do you think that a show like The Munsters would work today? Or have our tastes changed that the show wouldn’t work? There was a planned remake after all, but it didn’t come to fruition!
Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.
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