Frederick Hubbard Gwynne was born on the 10th July 1926, in New York City, USA, and was a television and film actor and comedian, best known for his roles in such series and movies as “Car 54, Where Are You?” (1961-1963), “The Munsters” (1964-1966), “Pet Sematary” (1989), and “My Cousin Vinny” (1992). Gwynne’s career started in 1952 and ended in 1992. He passed away in 1993.
Have you ever wondered how rich Fred Gwynne was at the time of his death? According to authoritative sources, it has been estimated that Gwynne’s net worth was as high as $2 million, an amount earned through his successful acting career. In addition to playing in film and on television, Gwynne also worked as a singer, which improved his wealth too.
Fred Gwynne Net Worth $2 Million
Fred Gwynne was born into an Irish-English family, the son of Dorothy and Frederick Walker Gwynne, who was a partner in the securities firm Gwynne Brothers. Fred spent most of his childhood in South Carolina, Florida, and Colorado, because of his father’s frequent travels. He went to the Groton School and then studied at Harvard University, from where he graduated in 1951.
During the WWII, Gwynne served in the US Navy, moving to acting in the late ‘40s. In 1952, he debuted in an episode of “The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse”, and continued with “You Are There” (1953), appeared in the Primetime Emmy Award-winning “The Phil Silvers Show” (1955-1956), and in Primetime Emmy Award-nominated “The DuPont Show of the Month” (1958). From 1961 to 1963, Fred played Officer Francis Muldoon in 60 episodes of the Primetime Emmy Award-winning series “Car 54, Where Are You?” which gained him a lot of popularity and increased his net worth significantly. From 1964 to 1966, Gwynne played Herman Munster in 72 episodes of the Golden Globe Award-nominated “The Munsters”, while in 1966, he starred in the movie “Munster, Go Home!” By the end of the ‘60s, Fred had starred in such TV movies as “Mad Mad Scientist” (1968) and “The Littlest Angel” (1969).
During the ‘70s, Gwynn played in such films as “Dames at Sea” (1971), “Harvey” (1972) alongside James Stewart, John McGiver, and Dorothy Blackburn, and in Bernardo Bertolucci’s Golden Globe Award-nominated “Luna” (1979) with Jill Clayburgh, Matthew Barry, and Veronica Lazar.
In the early ‘80s, Gwynn appeared in “Simon” (1980) starring Alan Arkin, and in “The Munsters’ Revenge” (1981), while he also had a part in Francis Ford Coppola’s Oscar-nominated “The Cotton Club” (1984) alongside Richard Gere, Gregory Hines, and Diane Lane, which only increased his net worth. He appeared alongside Michael Caine in “Water” (1985) and then had a role in “The Boy Who Could Fly” (1986). In 1987, Fred appeared in Golden Globe Award-nominated “The Secret of My Succe$s” starring Michel J. Fox, in Adrian Lyne’s Oscar-nominated “Fatal Attraction” with Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, and Anne Archer, and in Hector Babenco’s Oscar-nominated “Ironweed” alongside Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep. He ended the ‘80s in Mary Lambert’s movie based on Stephen King’s novel “Pet Sematary” (1989). His last two movies were Woody Allen’s “Shadows and Fog” (1991) and Jonathan Lynn’s Oscar-winning “My Cousin Vinny” (1992) starring Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei, and Ralph Macchio.
Regarding his personal life, Fred Gwynne was married to Foxy Gwynne from 1952 to 1980 and had five children with her. In 1988, he married Deb Gwynne, and stayed with her until his death. Fred died in his sleep of pancreatic cancer on 2 July 1993, in Taneytown, Maryland.
When NBC approached him to reprise his role of Herman Munster for a 1981 TV movie The Munsters' Revenge (1981), Gwynne was initially not interested. However, his second wife suggested that he ask the network for a large paycheck which they will probably refuse. However, when NBC surprisingly agreed to his demands, he accepted the role.
In 1964, along with Al Lewis and the Munstermobile (with car designer George Barris at the controls), he appeared in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Was featured/parodied in Playboy's Little Annie Fanny (The Unhappy Comic - April 1963) as Freddy (Annie served as a kind of "visual relief" on-stage), and represented by Annie's agent, Solly, a recurring character based upon Phil Silvers.
Was originally under consideration for the part of Henry Warnimont on Punky Brewster (1984) until a casting director referred to him as Herman Munster, instead of his real name. An offended Gwynne abruptly withdrew from consideration and George Gaynes wound up with the part.
Worked as a salesman at Seal Lock Burial Vault, Forest Hills, New York in the early 1950s (The McCloskey family later changed this Woodhaven Boulevard business into a florist shop, still operating in 2007.).
Was a member of the Harvard a cappella group, the Krokodiloes.
In his most popular post-The Munsters (1964) role, that of Judge Chamberlain Haller in My Cousin Vinny (1992), one of the sight gags is that the good judge looms a full foot taller than his antagonist, Vinny Gambini, as played by Joe Pesci.
Herman Munster, Gwynne's character on The Munsters (1964), was ranked #19 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" [20 June 2004 issue].
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith, pg. 199-200. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387.
By choice, never part of the Hollywood or Broadway social whirl, Gwynne lived a quiet life in suburban Bedford, New York and, after his second marriage, in a renovated farmhouse in rural Taneytown, Maryland. Most who knew him described him as a good friend and neighbour who liked to keep his personal and professional lives separate.
Between 1975 and 1982, he appeared in 79 episodes of "The CBS Radio Mystery Theatre".
In addition to acting, Gwynne was the talented author and illustrator of several popular children's books, including "A Chocolate Moose for Dinner", "The King Who Rained" and "A Little Pigeon Toad".
Performed in Harvard's famous drag troupe Hasty Pudding Theatricals from 1949-1951. Harvard University Class of 1951 Performed in Harvard's famous Hasty Pudding drag revue from 1949-1950.
Harvard University class of 1951.
Towering height and slender frame
Characters who often spend much of their time frowning
Best known for his iconic role as Herman Munster on The Munsters (1964)
Deep commanding voice
[on his most famous role, 1979]: Funny thing, yesterday morning I found my youngest son and daughter watching the rerun of an old (The Munsters (1964)) episode and I said, "My God, THAT'S not still on, is it?" Well, even so, I was very lucky and it was great fun to be as much of a household product as something like Rinso. I almost wish I could do it all over again.