Al Lewis as Grandpa in the Munsters
Right: Credits from the regular series
Lower Right: The credits from the pilot episode
Grandpa enjoys his favorit weather- rain
Grandpa is played by Al Lewis. He was born on April 30, 1923, in Brooklyn, New York.
He first became involved in show business as a circus clown for three different circuses, riding a unicycle and performing stunts on the trapeze bar. He went on to appear in carnivals, then medicine shows. He started out in radio on WGN in Chicago. He came to New York and worked on radio soap operas. Later, Lewis taught school and wrote two children's books. During World War II, he worked as a seaman and was torpedoed twice.
Al received a Ph.D. in child psychology from Columbia University at the age of 31. In 1949, at the suggestion of a friend, Lewis turned to acting and joined the Paul Mann Actor's Workshop in New York. Al worked in burlesque and vaudeville theaters across the country, which led to other theater endeavors and eventually to Broadway. By the 1950's he was on almost every live TV show out of New York.
ran for governor
of New York in 1998. Al Lewis died at the age of 83 on February 4, 2006
after a long illness.
Grandpa's StatsHis real name is Count Dracula (aka Sam Dracula). Some sources put his age of at around 378. Monster World puts it at over 430 years old.
Birthplace:Transylvania ("the Old Country")
Abilities:Magician and psychic (he can tell when the phone is about to ring)
Marital Status:Currently single (has had 16 wives)
Children:Lily, Lester, and another daughter (no name given)
His film and TV credits include:Officer Leo Schnauser on Car 54, Where Are You?"- also starred Fred Gwynne. The series ran from 1961 to 1963.
The Broadway play, Do Re Mi with Phil Silvers and Nancy Walker.
Additional Screen credits:Howard Stern: Shut up and Listen! (1997)
South Beach Academy (1996)
Car 54, Where Are You? (1994)
My Grandpa Is a Vampire (1991)
Fright House (1989)
Comic Cabby (1986)
The Munsters' Revenge (1981)
The Way He Was (1976)
They Might Be Giants (1971)
Munster, Go Home (1966)
Our Miss Brooks (1956)
Grampa's Monster Movies
Grampa's Sci-Fi Hits
After "The Munsters," Al made countless appearances in television and motion pictures, performed on the dinner theater circuit around the country and even owned a brokerage firm in Los Angeles for a time.
Al owned a restaurant called Grampa's, in Greenwich Village, and the business led to plans for opening a few more Italian eateries around the city.
He released a home video for children and appeared on WTBS cable in a series of Saturday morning programs for children. Al was heard on WBAI, 99.5 FM in New York City on Saturdays at noon.You can read an interview with Al at his last employer, WBAI Radio.
Grandpa 'Munster' dies at age 83
Saturday, February 4, 2006; Posted: 6:04 p.m. EST (23:04 GMT) Al Lewis died Friday at the age of 83.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Al Lewis, the cigar-chomping patriarch of "The Munsters" whose work as a basketball scout, restaurateur and political candidate never eclipsed his role as Grandpa from the television sitcom, died after years of failing health. He was 83.
Lewis, with his wife at his bedside, passed away Friday night, said Bernard White, program director at WBAI-FM, where the actor hosted a weekly radio program. White made the announcement on the air during the Saturday slot where Lewis usually appeared.
"To say that we will miss his generous, cantankerous, engaging spirit is a profound understatement," White said.
Lewis, sporting a somewhat cheesy Dracula outfit, became a pop culture icon playing the irascible father-in-law to Fred Gwynne's ever-bumbling Herman Munster on the 1964-66 television show. He was also one of the stars of another classic TV comedy, playing Officer Leo Schnauzer on "Car 54, Where Are You?"
But Lewis' life off the small screen ranged far beyond his acting antics. A former ballplayer at Thomas Jefferson High School, he achieved notoriety as a basketball talent scout familiar to coaching greats like Jerry Tarkanian and Red Auerbach.
He operated a successful Greenwich Village restaurant, Grandpa's, where he was a regular presence -- chatting with customers, posing for pictures, signing autographs.
A ponytailed Lewis ran as the Green Party candidate against incumbent Gov. George Pataki. Lewis campaigned against draconian drug laws and the death penalty, while going to court in a losing battle to have his name appear on the ballot as "Grandpa Al Lewis."
He didn't defeat Pataki, but managed to collect more 52,000 votes.
Lewis was born Alexander Meister in upstate New York before his family moved to Brooklyn, where the 6-foot-1 teen began a lifelong love affair with basketball. He later became a vaudeville and circus performer, but his career didn't take off until television did the same.
Lewis, as Officer Schnauzer, played opposite Gwynne's Officer Francis Muldoon in "Car 54, Where Are You?" -- a comedy about a Bronx police precinct that aired from 1961-63. One year later, the duo appeared together in "The Munsters," taking up residence at the fictional 1313 Mockingbird Lane.
The series, about a family of clueless creatures plunked down in middle America, was a success and ran through 1966. It forever locked Lewis in as the memorably twisted character; decades later, strangers would greet him on the street with shouts of "Grandpa!"
Unlike some television stars, Lewis never complained about getting typecast and made appearances in character for decades.
"Why would I mind?" he asked in a 1997 interview. "It pays my mortgage."
Lewis rarely slowed down, opening his restaurant and hosting his WBAI radio program. At one point during the '90s, he was a frequent guest on the Howard Stern radio show, once sending the shock jock diving for the delay button by leading an undeniably obscene chant against the Federal Communications Commission.
He also popped up in a number of movies, including the acclaimed "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" and "Married to the Mob." Lewis reprised his role of Schnauzer in the movie remake of "Car 54," and appeared as a guest star on television shows such as "Taxi," "Green Acres" and "Lost in Space."
But in 2003, Lewis was hospitalized for an angioplasty. Complications during surgery led to an emergency bypass and the amputation of his right leg below the knee and all the toes on his left foot. Lewis spent the next month in a coma.
A year later, he was back offering his recollections of a seminal punk band on the DVD "Ramones Raw."
Shortly after he died, the media reported incorrectly his age at 95.
He is survived by his wife, Karen Ingenthron-Lewis, three sons and four grandchildren.
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