Al Lewis

Al Lewis

82 (passed away Feb. 3rd, 2006)
Apr. 30th, 1923
Born in
New York City, New York, USA

Al Lewis' Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
The Munsters TV Show
The Munsters
Car 54, Where are You? TV Show
Car 54, Where are You?
Best of the West TV Show
Best of the West

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


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 (I) 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.

  • Worked as a salesman, waiter, pool room owner, store detective, circus clown and vaudeville performer.
  • Ran as Green Party candidate for Governor of New York in 1998.
  • His character on _"The Munsters" (1964)_ (qv) was often incorrectly referred to as Grandpa Munster even though his name was Sam Dracula. Munster was the surname of his son-in-law.
  • Had a local New York City radio show up until his death in 2006.
  • 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.
  • He claims to have read a different book every day of his life.
  • 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' (qv), the actress who was to play his daughter. Lewis' place of birth is also in question. He claimed to have been born in Wolcott, New York, but the local records contain no reference to his birth, and it is thought (although no proof has been published) that he was born in Brooklyn, New York.
  • was a hot dog vendor at Ebbets Field, the former ballpark for the then Brooklyn Dodgers.

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