Al Lewis didn’t mind being typecast as the genial vampire Grandpa from The Munsters.
Many actors dread being typecast. The idea of one successful role leading to a career full of rehashes can be, understandably, depressing. The majority work to avoid it, seeking out roles that showcase their diverse talents.
Not so Al Lewis.
Lewis, who died seven years ago today, played Grandpa on 1960s sitcom “The Munsters,” alongside Yvonne De Carlo as his daughter Lily Munster and Fred Gwynne as his son-in-law Herman Munster. A combo of mad scientist and Dracula clone, Grandpa Munster tried to help the family out with his weird experiments.
And as for Lewis, he was happy to be associated with the genial vampire for the rest of his life. “Why not?” he said of his repeat engagements as Grandpa Munster, from movies to video games to hosting TBS’s “Super Scary Saturday.” “It pays the bills.”
Lewis even ran as the Green Party candidate for governor of New York in 1998, requesting that the ballot list him as “Grandpa Al Lewis,” since that’s how most people knew him best. He was denied, but it didn’t stop his supporters from calling him Grandpa.
Reports differed as to Lewis’s age at the time of his death Feb. 3, 2006. He sometimes claimed to have been born in 1910, making him 96 when he died. On other occasions, he said he was born in 1923. Though no official record of his birth exists, sources seem to point to 1923 as the more likely date, making Lewis 83 at the time of his death. But no matter how old he was, Al Lewis is still one of our favorite grandpas.