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Fred Gwynne –


About Fred Gwynne (1926 – 1993)

Fred Gwynne was born on July 10, 1926, in New York, New York, into a well-to-do family. His birth name was Hubbard Gwynne. From the 8th grade until graduation from high school, Fred attended Groten School, an Episcopal college preparatory boarding school in Groten, Mass.

After serving in the United States Navy as a radioman during World War II, Fred Gwynne went to Harvard University, majoring in English, using the G.I. Bill. He studied as an artist, and participating in the drama program and sang in Harvard groups. He graduated in 1951, and joined a Massechusetts Repetory Company, acting in Shakespeare.

Gwynne moved to New York Ctiy, and supported himself as a singer, and a copywriter for J. Walter Thompson. For years, his main source of income was his efforts at being a book illustrator for children's books, and doing commercial art work. His first Broadway

Gwynne was known for his extreme height; 6 ft, 5 inches, lantern jaw and lugubrious expression and his talents as a character actor. He also had a wondeful, deep baritone voice, and sang professionally. Gwynne also painted, and wrote and illustrated children's books.

In 1952, Gwynne married socialite Jean Reynard. They had five children together which brought ; Three sons: Evan, Dylan, Keiron, and two daughters: Madyn and Gaynor. Son Keiron was born with disabilities, and Dylan died in a 1963 drowning accident. Their marriage survived this challenge and this tragedy. Gwynne and Jean stayed together, working through the challenges and joys of raising their children. They divorced in 1980, after their children were up and out.

Fred Gwynne is perhaps best remembered for his television portrayal of Herman Munster, the Frankenstein-ish, but lovable father in the long running TV comedy series, THE MUNSTERS. He also starred on television in the earlier hit comedy, CAR 54 WHERE ARE YOU? as the straight man officer, Francis Muldoon.

Playing a thug in 1954, Fred Gwynne made his movie debut, in a uncredited role alongside Marlon Brando in Elia Kazan's ON THE WATERFRONT.

Fred Gwynne appeared to critical acclaim as a character actor in the notable films, The Cotton Club (1984), Ironweed (1987), Disorganized Crime (1989) and Pet Sematary (1989). In the latter film he played, "Jud Crandall", a character based on author Stephen King, who himself is quite tall.

Gwynne also made a memorable turn as the judge who battles with the eponymous My Cousin Vinny (1992), his last film.

Critic and cinema historian Mick LaSalle cited Gwynne's performance as "Judge Chamberlain Haller" in his August 2003 article, "Role call of overlooked performances is long", writing: "Half of what made Joe Pesci funny in this comedy was the stream of reactions of Gwynne, as the Southern Judge, a Great Dane to Joe Pesci's yapping terrier."

Fred Gwynne last movie was role in 1992's hit MY COUSIN VINNY, Gwynne played the judge in this very funny comedy co-starring Joe Pesci.

On July 2, 1993 Fred Gwynne passed away in Taneytown, Maryland from pancreatic cancer.

Fred Gwynne's notable movie credits include...




Fred in IRONWEED (1987)


Gwynne in THE COTTON CLUB (1985).