Fred Gwynne biography: life and death of the talented actor

Fred Gwynne biography: life and death of the talented actor

Fred Gwynne was an American writer and actor who was well-known for featuring in The Munsters as Herman Munster. The actor was also known for his role in the 1960s sitcom Car 54, Where Are You?

Fred Gwynne
Fred in My Cousin Vinny as a judge. Photo: Archive Photos
Source: Getty Images

The late actor worked as a commercial artist and copywriter in New York before breaking out in the film industry. He also served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

Fred Gwynne profile summary

  • Birth name: Frederick Hubbard Gwynne
  • Celebrated name: Fred Gwynne
  • Date of birth: July 10, 1926
  • Birthplace: New York, USA
  • Nationality: American
  • Date of death: July 2, 1993

Fred Gwynne biography

The late actor was born in New York, the United States of America, on 10th July 1926.

How tall was Fred Gwynne?

Fred Gwynne height was distinctive because he stood at a towering height of 6 feet 5 inches.

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After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he enrolled at New York Phoenix School of Design.

He attended Harvard University after the war. There, he participated in an acapella singing group, drew cartoons for the Harvard Lampoon, and appeared in stage productions.

After performing several of The Hasty Pudding Club‘s productions with his powerful baritone voice, he joined the Brattle Theatre Repertory Company in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


While still developing his acting career, he successfully appeared in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Bottom in 1951. He later relocated to New York, where he landed a supporting role in Mrs. McThing on Broadway.

Fred Gwynne movies and TV shows
Fred Gwynne in The Corner Bar film. Photo: WAlt Disney Television
Source: Getty Images

While still acting, he worked as a copywriter at the J. Walter Thompson Advertising agency. He appeared in other productions such as The Phil Silvers Show, Studio One, and Kraft Theatre.

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However, some film producers looked down upon the late Fred because of his height. How tall is Fred Gwynne? He was 6 feet 5 inches tall.

Nevertheless, he made headlines in the film industry at the age of 28 when he was featured in On The Waterfront. Later, he appeared in Irma La Duce, a Broadway musical.

From 1961 to 1963, he played Francis Maldoon in the NBC television series titled Car 54, Where Are You?.

He was also writing children’s storybooks, and in 1958, one of his books titled Best in Show was published.

Actor Fred Gwynne stated playing Herman Munster in The Munsters in 1964. Despite his height, this role required him to wear five-inch platform boots.

He outdid himself in this show, which became popular among adults and children. However, in 1966, this television series began losing ratings to the popular Batman series.

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Universal Pictures bombed the box office with another film, Munster, Go Home!, and the show was taken off the air.

Gwynne did not secure another role in any film or television show and therefore decided to continue writing children’s books.

Some of his books are God’s First World, A Little Pigeon Toad, and A Chocolate Moose for Dinner.

Fred Gwynne movies and TV shows

The actor appeared in many movies and TV shows during his over four-decade-long career.

Fred Gwynne movies

Fred Gwynne movies
Fred Gwynne in an interview. Photo: Art Zelin
Source: Getty Images

Some of the films that the late actor was featured in are:

  • 1992-Lincoln as Edwin Stanton
  • 1992-My Cousin Vinny as Judge Chamberlain Haller
  • 1991-Shadows and Fog as Hacker's Follower
  • 1990-Earthday Birthday as Fred the Moose
  • 1990-Murder in Black and White as Brannigan
  • 1989-Pet Sematary as Jud Crandall
  • 1989-Disorganized Crime as Max Green
  • 1987-Jake's M.O. as Jake Tekulve
  • 1987-Ironweed as Oscar Reo
  • 1986-The Boy Who Could Fly as Uncle Hugo
  • 1987-Murder by the Book as Victor Greville
  • 1987-Fatal Attraction as Arthur
  • 1987-The Secret of My Success as Donald Davenport
  • 1969-The Littlest Angel as Patience the Guardian Angel
  • 1966-Munster, Go Home! as Herman Munster

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Television series

Some of the television series that the late actor appeared in are:

  • 1985-Kane & Abel as Davis LeRoy
  • 1971-Great Performances as Pike
  • 1967-NET Playhouse as Officer Avonzino
  • 1966-The Danny Kaye Show as Herman Munster
  • 1965-The Red Skelton Hour as Herman Munster
  • 1964-Brenner as Francis X. Fish
  • 1963-The United States Steel Hour as Willie Botsford
  • 1961-1963-Car 54, Where Are You? as Officer Francis Muldoon
  • 1958-The DuPont Show of the Month as E.J. Loffgrin
  • 1957-Suspicion as Hughie
  • 1957-The Kaiser Aluminum Hour as Egghead
  • 1956-Studio One in Hollywood as Little Dude
  • 1955-1956-The Phil Silvers Show as Cpl. Ed Honnegan
  • 1954-On the Waterfront as Slim
  • 1953-You Are There as Davy Crockett

Fred Gwynne net worth

According to Celebrity Net Worth, the late actor had a net worth of 2 million dollars at the time of his demise.

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Fred Gwynne net worth
Fred Gwynne with actor AI Lewis. Photo: Time Life Pictures
Source: Getty Images

Who was Fred Gwynne wife?

Gwynne married Jean "Foxy" Reynard, a granddaughter of New York City mayor William Jay Gaynor, in 1952. The couple lived in New York with their five children.

Fred Gwynne children are:

  • Gaynor - a daughter born in 1952
  • Kieron - a son born in 1954
  • Evan- a son born in 1956
  • Madyn -a daughter born in 1958, and
  • Dylan - a son born in 1960. He drowned in 1963.

However, the couple parted ways in 1980, and Fred married Deborah Flater in 1988.

Fred Gwynne death

The Munsters’ star died of pancreatic cancer in 1993. He died at his home in Maryland.

Fred Gwynne grave is at Sandy Mount United Methodist Church Cemetery in Finksburg, Maryland, which is located behind Sandy Mount Church.

Why is Fred Gwynne grave unmarked? There are no valid reasons why the grave is still unmarked.

How old is Fred Gwynne? At the time of his demise, he was 66 years old.

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Fred Gwynne was an American writer and actor who was famously known for starring in The Munsters. He was in the entertainment industry for over four decades and managed to achieve a lot.

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