‘The Munsters’: A Look at 5 Actors Who’ve Played Herman Munster

Herman Munster is a popular character from the classic TV series The Munsters. The lovable, childlike Frankenstein patriarch earned his place in pop culture history. While many fans are used to Fred Gwynne’s version, other actors have stepped into Herman’s size 26 shoes.

'The Munsters' star Fred Gwynne as Herman Munster dressed in a tuxedo.
The Munsters star Fred Gwynne as Herman Munster I CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images

Fred Gwynne originated the role of Herman Munster on ‘The Munsters’

Gwynne was already an established TV actor thanks to his role on Car 54, Where Are You? But his role as Herman on The Munsters would make him famous. From 1964 to 1966 played the strong yet goofy head of the Munster household.

Herman was a loving husband to Lily Munster (Yvonne De Carlo) and father to Eddie Munster (Butch Patrick). Although he was a giant, his appearance often frightened people, including Marilyn Munster’s (Pat Priest) suitors.

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While Herman is Gwynne’s most memorable role, it wasn’t without its hassles. According to IMDB.com, the actor had to endure 40 to 50 lbs of padding and makeup to get into character. After the show’s cancellation, Gwynne would return as Herman for two of The Munsters films.

‘Gilmore Girls’ star Edward Herrmann played the Frankenstein patriarch in a 1995 film

Most TV fans are familiar with Edward Herrmann from Gilmore Girls. Long before he played the Gilmore patriarch, he portrayed Herman Munster in the 1995 film Here Come the Munsters. The movie follows the Munster family as they leave Transylvania and move to California to help find Marilyn’s (Christine Taylor) missing father.

Sam McMurray brought Christmas to Mockingbird Heights

Actor Sam McMurray is best known for his supporting roles in movies like Raising Arizona and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. In 1996, the actor starred as Herman in The Munsters’ Scary Little Christmas. The plot has Herman and the rest of the family trying to create an old-fashioned Transylvanian Christmas for Eddie (Bug Hall).

Jerry O’Connell played Herman Munster in a 2012 reboot

Actor turned talk show co-host Jerry O’Connell has an established career. The actor is best known for his work in the TV show Sliders and films such as Scream 2. O’Connell has a wide range of roles, however, many fans may not know is that he portayed Herman.

O’Connell stepped into the boots of the Munster patriarch for the 2012 reboot Mockingbird Lane. The remake featured an all-star cast including Portia de Rossi as Lily and Eddie Izzard as Grandpa. Unlike the original series, reboot took on a dramatic and macrabre nature. Unfortunately, fans couldn’t get into Mockingbird Lane and the show was cancelled after the pilot episode.

Jeff Daniel Phillips will play Herman in Rob Zombie’s upcoming ‘The Munster’ film

Rocker turned director Rob Zombie is putting his own spin on the classic series with his upcoming The Munsters film. For the role of Herman, he cast Jeff Daniel Phillips in the role of everyone’s favorite Frankenstein. Phillips has previously worked with Zombie on the films Halloween II and The Lords of Salem.

The premise of the upcoming Munsters film follows the early days Herman and Lily’s (Sheri Moon Zombie) relationship in Transylvania. Phillips has big shoes to fill playing an iconic character. So far fans have mixed reactions to the movie, but they can judge for themselves when The Munsters premieres Sept. 27 on Netlix.

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