The Munsters was a classic black and white sitcom featuring the day-to-day lives of a family of spooky yet friendly monsters. Created by Norm Liebmann and Ed Haas and produced by Bob Mosher and Joe Connelly, the show only ran for two years (1964 to 1966) on CBS, but thanks to a second life in syndication, the tv series remains so well-known, instantly recognizable, and iconic that horror director Rob Zombie is about to write and adapt a movie adaptation, per Movieweb. Who were the original series cast of The Munsters who brought the lovable inhabitants of 1313 Mockingbird Lane to life (and afterlife)?
‘The Munsters’ Opening
Fred Gwynne as Herman Munster
Herman Munster was the patriarch of the Munster family. He looked like Frankenstein’s monster, complete with bolts in his neck, and was indeed created by Dr. Victor Frankenstein in 1815, according to the show’s mythology. He was a lovable, oafish buffoon with a good heart who worked for Gateman, Goodbury and Graves funeral home. He was played by Fred Gwynne, who before The Munsters starred on the sitcom Car 54, Where Are You? He went on to appear in numerous movies and theater productions before dying of pancreatic cancer in 1993 at the age of 66, as reported by The New York Times.
Yvonne De Carlo as Lily Dracula Munster
Lily Munster was the matriarch of the family. She was actually introduced in the second episode; Herman Munster was originally married to a different woman named Phoebe, but Phoebe looked too much like Morticia Addams from the other show about a family of monsters, The Addams Family. Lily Munster was a glamorous vampire housewife with a fiery temper who loved and cared for her family. She was played by Yvonne De Carlo, who per The New York Times was an established Hollywood actress by the time she was cast as Lily, having played, among other roles, Moses’ wife Sephora in the 1956 epic The Ten Commandments. She went on to appear in hundreds of movies before dying of heart failure in 2007; she was 84.
Al Lewis as Grandpa Munster
Grandpa Munster was Lily Munster’s father. His full name was “Vladimir Dracula, Count of Transylvania” (yes, it was implied that he’s THE Count Dracula) and he was born in 1367. He was a sarcastic yet wise mad scientist who drove a car called the DRAG-U-LA, which was made from a coffin, sported a headstone, and was the inspiration for the Rob Zombie song “Dragula.” (Rob Zombie also covered The Munsters theme song, just in case his fandom was at all under suspicion.) He was played by Al Lewis. Per The New York Times, Lewis, like Fred Gwynne, also appeared on Car 54, Where Are You? Outside of his acting career, he worked as a basketball talent scout, owned his own restaurant in New York’s Greenwich Village, and ran for governor of New York as the Green Party candidate in 1998 at the age of 89. He died in 2006 at 95 years old.
Beverley Owen and Pat Priest as Marilyn Munster
Marilyn Munster was Lily’s niece and was a conventionally attractive, seemingly normal young woman which therefore made her “homely” and “unattractive” in the eyes of her monstrous family, who nevertheless treated her kindly. An ongoing joke was that Marilyn scared away potential suitors with her terrible looks when of course her dates were afraid of her scary family. Marilyn was played by Beverly Owen for the first 13 episodes of the series; she left the show to get married and went on to study American history and earn a master’s degree. She died of ovarian cancer in 2019, per Deadline; she was 81. Pat Priest played Marilyn for the rest of the series. After The Munsters, she continued acting into the 1980s, appearing in many television and movie roles.
Butch Patrick as Eddie Munster
Eddie Munster was the son of Herman and Lily Munster and was a typical all-American boy save for the fact that he had pointed ears, green skin, a severe widow’s peak hairline, and was a werewolf. He was played by Butch Patrick, who got the role when he was just nine. Patrick had started acting at age seven and after The Munsters went on to appear in many television shows and movies, including a starring role on the Sid and Marty Krofft Saturday morning show Lidsville.
Mel Blanc and Bob Hastings as The Raven
Per The Munsters Wiki, the raven lived in a cuckoo clock and would pop out and make sarcastic remarks, often at the expense of Herman Munster. The Raven was inspired by the poem “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe, down to its catchphrase “Nevermore!” He was first voiced by Mel Blanc, who is one of the more iconic voice actors of all time, having provided the voices for many Warner Bros characters, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig. Bob Hastings was an actor and voice-over artist; his best-known role was that of Lt. Elroy Carpenter on the tv show McHale’s Navy.