Fred Gwynne

Biography

Frederick Hubbard Gwynne (July 10, 1926 – July 2, 1993) was an American television and film actor. Gwynne joined the Brattle Theatre Repertory Company after graduation[3], then moved to New York City. To support himself, Gwynne worked as a copywriter for J. Walter Thompson, resigning in 1952 upon being cast in his first Broadway role, a gangster in a comedy called Mrs. McThing, which starred Helen Hayes.[3] In 1955, Gwynne made a memorable appearance on The Phil Silvers Show in the episode entitled "The Eating Contest," as the character Private Honigan, whose depressive eating binges are exploited by Sgt. Bilko, who seeks prize money by entering Honigan in an eating contest. Gwynne's second appearance on The Phil Silvers Show (in the episode "For The Birds" in 1956) and many other shows led writer-producer Nat Hiken to cast him in the sitcom Car 54, Where Are You? as Patrolman Francis Muldoon, opposite Joe E. Ross. During the two-season run of the program he met longtime friend and later co-star, Al Lewis. Gwynne was 6 ft 5 in tall, an attribute that contributed to his being cast as Herman Munster, a goofy parody of Frankenstein's monster, in the sitcom The Munsters. For his role he had to wear 40 or 50 lb of padding, makeup, and 4-inch elevator shoes. His face was painted a bright violet because it captured the most light on the black-and-white film. Gwynne was known for his sense of humor and retained fond recollections of Herman, claiming in later life, "... 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."[3] After his experience in The Munsters, however, he found himself identified with the character, which led to difficulty in being cast in different kinds of roles. For example, in 1969, he was cast as Jonathan Brewster, a Frankenstein monster-like character, in a television production of Arsenic and Old Lace. He displayed his singing voice in a Hallmark Hall of Fame made-for-television production, The Littlest Angel (1969) and went on to perform in a variety of roles on stage and screen. In 1974, he appeared in the role of Big Daddy in the Broadway revival of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. In 1975 he played the Stage Manager in Our Town at the American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, Connecticut. He returned to Broadway in 1976 as Colonel J. C. Kinkaid in two parts of A Texas Trilogy. In 1984, he tried out for the part of Henry on the show Punky Brewster. He is said to have withdrawn from the audition in frustration when the auditioner identified him as Herman Munster rather than by his real name. The role of Henry subsequently went to George Gaynes. His performance as Jud Crandall in Pet Sematary was based on author Stephen King himself, who is also quite tall — only an inch shorter than the actor — and uses a similarly thick Maine dialect. Gwynne's Pet Sematary character has had recurring parody appearances in the South Park episodes "Butters' Very Own Episode", "Asspen", and "Marjorine". Gwynne also had roles in the movies On the Waterfront, Disorganized Crime, The Cotton Club, Captains Courageous, The Secret of My Success, Water, Ironweed, Fatal Attraction and The Boy Who Could Fly. In his last film, Gwynne played Judge Chamberlain Haller in the 1992 film comedy, My Cousin Vinny, in which he used a Southern accent. In addition to his acting career, Gwynne sang professionally, painted, and wrote and illustrated children's books, including A Chocolate Moose for Dinner, The King Who Rained, Best In Show, Pondlarker, and A Little Pigeon Toad. He also lent his voice talents to commercials and radio shows such as CBS Radio Mystery Theater, and for some radio fans, he is known foremost for his contribution to CBSRMT's success. Later, he held a number of shows of his art work, the first in 1989.

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Birth Name

Frederick Hubbard Gwynne

Birth Place

Nueva York, Nueva York, Estados Unidos

Birth Date

7/10/1926

Death Date

7/2/1993
Known For
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My Cousin Vinny

Judge Chamberlain Haller

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Pet Sematary

Jud Crandall

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Munster, Go Home!

Herman Munster

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The Munsters' Revenge

Herman Munster

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Disorganized Crime

Max Green

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The Littlest Angel

Patience the Guardian Angel

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Marineland Carnival: The Munsters Visit Marineland

Herman Munster (as The Munsters)

Movie Poster

The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg

Rev. Burgess

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Vanishing Act

Father Macklin

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Murder by the Book

Victor Greville

Starring In
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My Cousin Vinny

Judge Chamberlain Haller

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Shadows and Fog

Hacker's Follower

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Murder in Black and White

Brannigan

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Pet Sematary

Jud Crandall

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Disorganized Crime

Max Green

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Fatal Attraction

Arthur

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The Secret of My Success

Donald Davenport

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Ironweed

Oscar Reo

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Murder by the Book

Victor Greville

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The Boy Who Could Fly

Uncle Hugo

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Vanishing Act

Father Macklin

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Off Beat

The Commissioner

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Water

Franklin Spender

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The Christmas Star

Waters

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The Cotton Club

Frenchy Demange

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So Fine

Chairman Lincoln

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The Munsters' Revenge

Herman Munster

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The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg

Rev. Burgess

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Luna

Douglas Winter

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Captains Courageous

Long Jack

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The Littlest Angel

Patience the Guardian Angel

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Munster, Go Home!

Herman Munster

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Marineland Carnival: The Munsters Visit Marineland

Herman Munster (as The Munsters)

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Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show)

Pvt. Honergan (1 episode, 1955)

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On the Waterfront

Slim (uncredited)

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Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon

Herman Munster (archive footage)

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