Fred Gwynne was not only an actor, but an author and artist. He wrote numerous books and appeared in numerous films and stage plays, but to this day, he will be remembered as Herman Munster. Born on July 10, 1926 in New York, and graduating from Harvard in 1951, Fred's pre-Munsters television fame came from his starring role on "Car 54, Where Are You?" as Officer Francis Muldoon. During this time he was married to Foxy Gwynne, with whom he had five children. In 1981, he married Deb Gwynne, who was his wife until his death. Fred and Beverley Owen remained very good friends, and Beverley still goes to see his family.
   As for being on "The Munsters," it was often a trying time for Fred. In his Herman costume, he would sweat constantly and suffered a lot of back pain. Since he couldn't drink vodka on the set, he settled for gallons of lemonade to replenish himself.  Also the make-up procedure took three hours every day. After two seasons of the show, he was not too disappointed in its cancellation.
    After "The Munsters," he did a large variety of things, ranging from writing and illustrating books, to appearing in plays and films. He was a versatile character actor, but unfortunately he was all too often typecast by his Munsters role, though in 1981 he miraculously agreed to do the TV-movie The Munsters' Revenge. When the studio approached him, his wife told him to name an astronomical amount for the pay and the studio agreed. Throughout the 1980s and early '90s, Fred also did many commercial voice-overs (including Hyundai and Dreyer's ice cream). His most famous final roles are probably in Pet Semetary and My Cousin Vinny. On July 2, 1993, Fred sadly lost his battle with pancreatic cancer and passed away in Maryland.

Fred stars in the Hollywood Television Theatre's Production of The Police (1971) on the PBS Network

Fred plays a mysterious man named Charles Dickens in American Playhouse's Any Friend of Nicholas Nickleby Is a Friend of Mine (1982) on the PBS Network

Fred as Victor Greville in Murder by the Book (1987), a TV-Movie

Fred Gwynne's final role as Judge Chamberlain Haller in My Cousin Vinny in 1992


Cox, Stephen. The Munsters Television's First Family of Fright. Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1989.

Fred Gwynne: More Than a Munster. Dir. Lawrence Williams. Foxstar Productions, 1999.