Al Lewis Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (3)  | Trade Mark (5)  | Trivia (13)  | Personal Quotes (6)

Overview (4)

Born in Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA
Died in New York City, New York, USA  (natural causes)
Birth NameAlexander Meister
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (1)

In the late 1920s, Lewis worked as a circus performer, but ultimately decided on college, earning a Ph.D. in child psychology from Columbia University. He taught school and wrote two children's books. In 1949, at the suggestion of a friend, Lewis turned to acting and joined the Paul Mann Actor's Workshop in New York. Lewis worked in burlesque and vaudeville theaters across the country, which eventually led to Broadway. By the 1950s, television was booming, and Lewis took advantage of the work appearing on almost every live show out of his home base of New York City. His most famous regular TV roles were Officer Leo Schnauser on Car 54, Where Are You? (1961) and Grandpa on The Munsters (1964). When these shows ended, he opened a restaurant in New York called "Grampa's" in Greenwich Village. He has since produced a home video for children and appeared on WTBS in a series of Saturday morning programs for children.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ray Hamel

Family (3)

Spouse Karen Ingenthron (6 August 1996 - 3 February 2006)  (his death)
Marge (Domowitz) Lewis (1 November 1956 - 11 October 1977)  (divorced)  (3 children)
Children Ted Lewis
David Lewis
Paul Lewis
Parents Alexander Meister
Ida Neidel

Trade Mark (5)

Will be forever known as "Grandpa" on The Munsters (1964)
Squinty-eyed grin with a quick, furious nod
Prominent large nose
High-pitched, raspy voice with New York accent.
Smoked cheap cigars

Trivia (13)

Ran as Green Party candidate for Governor of New York in 1998.
June 30, 2003: Had his third angioplasty at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. Complications developed, necessitating the amputation of his right leg below the knee and the toes on his left foot.
Was a hot dog vendor at Ebbets Field, the former ballpark for the then Brooklyn Dodgers.
He claims to have read a different book every day of his life.
Former basketball player at Thomas Jefferson High School, achieved notoriety as a basketball talent scout.
Has three sons and four grandchildren.
Worked as a salesman, waiter, pool room owner, store detective, circus clown and vaudeville performer.
Although he claimed to have a Ph.D. in child psychology from Columbia University, the university has no record of it, under his stage name or his real name.
Had a New York City radio show up until his death in 2006.
After his death his son announced that Lewis had in fact been born on April 30, 1923, not 1910 as the actor had previously claimed. Obituarist Dan Barry wrote in an article in the February 11, 2006, "New York Times" that almost every claim Lewis made about his early life--his birth date and place of birth, his wartime adventures in the merchant marine, his education--was unverifiable and possibly false. He may have adjusted his birth date to land the role of Grandpa Munster, as he was in reality one year younger than Yvonne De Carlo, the actress who was to play his daughter. Lewis' place of birth is also in question. He claimed to have been born in Wolcott, NY, but local records contain no reference to his birth, and it is thought (although no proof has been published) that he was born in Brooklyn, NY.
His character on The Munsters (1964) was often incorrectly referred to as Grandpa Munster even though his name was Sam Dracula. Munster was the surname of his son-in-law.
Father of Ted Lewis, David Lewis and Paul Lewis.
When he ran for Governor of New York he was not allowed to have his name listed as "Grandpa Al Lewis" on the ballot. The court in its decision stated that, in 1996, even William Jefferson Clinton was listed in the ballot by name and without title.

Personal Quotes (6)

[asked what accomplishment he is proudest of] My three sons.
[on working with Robert Zemeckis on Used Cars (1980)] That kid couldn't direct traffic.
[on his most famous role, Grandpa Munster] The role of Grandpa is not complicated because you're wearing odd makeup or bizarre costumes. That's not what complicates a role. What makes Grandpa a little odd is the fact that he had no prototype. When I approached this role, I knew that whatever I was doing was original. So no director could say to me, "Listen, remember how he did it, this is how I want it done." I worked very hard creating that character. I made those lines work. The walk and the posture all fit the character. As to the character itself, you might say that Grandpa was a kind of Dracula-type Major Hoople.
[asked about being typecast as Grandpa Munster] Why would I mind? It pays my mortgage.
[about why The Munsters was a success] I've thought about it. I never saw the show, of course I've done it, I never saw it. It didn't date itself in the sense of topical humor. It was about a family, although obviously an off-the-wall family, it was perfectly cast.
[about the success of The Munsters] It's never been out of syndication in the United States, as you and I here are sitting, it's running in 41 countries of the world in their respective language.

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