Mostly Credited As: Fred Gwynne
Birth Name: Frederick Hubbard Gwynne
Date Of Birth: July 10, 1926 (Age 66)
Country Of Birth: USA
Birth Place: New York City, New York
Date Of Death: July 02, 1993
Cause Of Death: Pancreatic Cancer (Taneytown, MD)
Height: 6' 5" (1.95 m)
Born on July 10, 1926 in New York, NY, he was named Frederick Hubbard Gwynne. His family's wealth, his father a successful stockbroker, allowed him to attend Groton, an exclusive prep school. It was there that Fred Gwynne had his first experience acting in a production of William Shakespeare's "Henry V". After completing his education he joined the United States Navy and served during World War II. Upon his return he attended Harvard, and became active in the arts, writing for the school paper, and studying both fine art and drama. Taking the stage again, and preparing for his future in comedy roles, Gwynne appeared in drag revues as part of Harvard's Hasty Pudding Club. In 1952 he married his first wife Foxy, with whom he eventually had five children. He supported himself and his new family during the early 1950's by taking jobs as a musician, a copywriter, an actor and an illustrator. Throughout his life Gwynne wrote and illustrated a total of 10 children's books including "The King Who Rained" and "A Chocolate Moose for Dinner".
In 1954 he made his film debut in On The Waterfront with Marlon Brando, playing an uncredited gang member. He continued working in film and television throughout the 1950's and 1960's gaining attention for some guest spots on The Phil Silver's Show. It was this showcase of his comedic talent that eventually led to his lead role as "Francis Muldoon" in Car 54, Where Are You?, where he met his friend and future co-star Al Lewis. In 1964 they began the roles they're most well known for, "Herman" and "Grandpa" in The Munsters.
After the cancellation of The Musters in 1966 Gwynne focused his attention on stage work in the hopes of avoiding typecasting. He appeared in productions of Arsenic And Old Lace, Harvey and many more. In 1969 fans were treated to something many may not have expected, Gwynne's singing voice in a TV production of the musical "The Littlest Angel" on The Hallmark Hall Of Fame. He continued to keep busy working in film and television, as well as on the stage and even on radio with appearances on the CBS Radio Mystery Theatre.
In the 1980's and 1990's he established himself as a character actor by taking a wide variety of roles in dramas like The Cotton Club, horror films like Pet Sematary, and earned praise for what would be his final film role, "Judge Haller" in the comedy My Cousin Vinny. During this time he also met and married his second wife, Deb and moved to rural Maryland. After losing a battle with cancer, Fred Gwynne died on July 2, 1993, a week before what would have been his 67th birthday.
Trivia Though called Slim, Fred's character in On the Waterfront answers to Malden Sekulovich when called to testify in front of the crime commission. Malden Sekulovich was the real name of co-star Karl Malden. Director Elia Kazan added it as a joke.
Fred supplied the voice overs for the tv commercials for Hyundai in the early 1990's.
Fred narrated a videotape that was produced by a radical animal rights organization.
Fred made his movie debut, unbilled, as one of Johnny Friendly's gang of thugs who menace Marlon Brando in Elia Kazan's classic On the Waterfront (1954).
Fred was an accomplished sculptor, painter, and writer.
Fred also worked as a professional singer.
Fred was the father of five children.
Fred was married twice. First to Jean Foxie Reynard from 1952-1980, then to Deb Gwynne from 1981until his death on July 2, 1993.
In Fred's most popular post-Munsters role, that of "Judge Haller" in My Cousin Vinny (1992), one of the sight gags is that the good judge looms a full foot taller than his antagonist, Vinny as played by Joe Pesci.
Herman Munster, Fred's character on The Munsters (1964), was ranked #19 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" in the June, 2004 issue.
Fred Gwynne Quotes
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