One of the most recognizable faces from “The Munsters” is that of the late Fred Gwynne, who plays Herman Munster. In spite of being the very definition of a gentle giant, his appearance is so similar to that of Frankenstein’s Monster that the very sight of Herman often inspires not only people to flee in terror but, sometimes, animals or even inanimate objects.
Previously known to audiences as the hapless Officer Muldoon on “Car 54, Where Are You?,” Gwynne nevertheless found himself typecast after “The Munsters.” Still, Gwynne kept working in film and TV, as well as pursuing other passions. In particular, Gwynne was a writer and illustrator of children’s books. His first book, “Best in Show,” hit stores in 1958, and between then and his death in 1993, he would go on to write and draw more pun-filled picture books like 1970’s “The King Who Rained” and 1976’s “A Chocolate Moose for Dinner.” His final children’s book, “Pondlarker,” was published in 1990.
Interestingly, while his role of Herman Munster came relatively close to the beginning of his career, his two other famous roles came near the very end. In 1989, he starred as the grandfatherly neighbor Jud Crandall in the original adaptation of Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary.” The year before his death to pancreatic cancer, Gwynne made his final major motion picture appearance — and one of his most beloved — as the stern Judge Haller in the classic legal comedy “My Cousin Vinny.”