‘The Munsters’: A Look at 4 Actors Who’ve Played Lily Munster

Lily Munster is an iconic character from the classic TV sitcom The Munsters. The vampire matriarch is the loyal wife of Frankenstein’s creation Herman Munster and mother to werewolf Eddie Munster. While Yvonne De Carlo is the most Lily, other actors have stepped into the role.

'The Munsters' star Yvonne De Carlo dressed as her character Lily Munster during a scene.
The Munsters star Yvonne De Carlo as Lily Munster I CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images

Yvonne De Carlo originated the role of Lily Munster on ‘The Munsters’

Long before taking on the role of Lily Munster, De Carlo was a famous film actor. Her movie resume consisted of classics such as The Ten Commandments and Hotel Sahara. By the 1960s, film roles had dried up, and De Carlo turned her attention to the TV industry.

In 1964, she landed the role that would become synonymous with her career. According to IMDB.com, De Carlo accepted the part because he needed money to pay her husband’s medical bills. Although the role brought her money and fame, De Carlo didn’t like being typecast as Lily.

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Despite her misgivings, De Carlo reprised her role as Lily for the films Munster, Go Home! and The Munsters’ Revenge.

Veronica Hamel played the vampire matriarch in ‘Here Come the Munsters’

De Carlo did a remarkable job as the loving yet fiery-tempered Munster matriarch. So any actor would have big shoes to fill in the role of Lily. In 1995, Veronica Hamel played Lily in the film Here Come the Munsters.

Hamel is no stranger to TV and is most famous for her Emmy-nominated work on Hill Street Blues. But she switched from drama to comedy for her portrayal of Lily in the made-for-TV movie. The plot had Lily, Herman (Edward Herrmann), and the rest of the family moving to California to help Marilyn (Christine Taylor) find her missing father.

The film featured cameo appearances from De Carlo and her The Munsters co-stars Al Lewis, Pat Priest, and Butch Patrick. However, De Carlo and Hamel didn’t share any scenes.

Portia de Rossi played Lily Munster in a 2012 reboot

Portia de Rosi is best known for her roles on TV shows like Ally McBeal and Arrested Development. In 2012, she was cast as the ghoulish iconic character for Mockingbird Lane. The Munsters reboot also featured Jerry O’Connell as Herman and Eddie Izzard as Grandpa.

Like many TV remakes, Mockingbird Lane was different from the original show. For instance, the characters looked more human than the scary figures fans knew and loved. Also, the series had a more macabre vibe than comedy.

Mockingbird Lane premiered on Oct. 26, 2012, as a Halloween special on the NBC network. Despite a strong showing, the network opted not to pick it up for an entire season.

Sheri Moon Zombie will play Lily Munster in the upcoming Netflix film ‘The Munsters’

Sheri Moon Zombie is no stranger to playing weird characters. The actor has been in many of her husband Rob Zombie’s horror flicks, including House of 1000 Corpses and Halloween. When it came time for the director to cast Lily for the upcoming The Munsters film, he chose his wife.

The movie follows Lily and Herman’s (Jeff Daniel Phillips) courtship during their days in Transylvania. Sheri has a touch challenge filling in Lily’s coffin-lined cape. Fans can see her performance as Lily when The Munsters premieres on Sept. 27 on Netflix.

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