On July 2, 1993, my friend and TV Dad, Fred Gwynne passed away. Twenty-nine years earlier I was lucky enough to be cast in a TV Show titled, oddly enough, "The Munsters".
Fred would play a lovable Frankenstein Monster and me his only son, Eddie. Not only did Fred help me with my acting, he also taught me how to keep an even balance between work and play.
Fred was quite the prankster. Once I remember he drove the entire cast off the lot in the family car, the "Munster Koach." When we returned, everyone was still waiting patiently. The people we saw on Hollywood Freeway were definitely shocked at the sight of all of us in full make up!
Even with his forty pounds of padding and ultra hot makeup, Fred still carried the show. He was a fine actor who was successful in all forms of the theatre. His credits include movies, "On the Waterfront", "Cotton Club", "Pet Cementary", "The Secret of my Success", and "My Cousin Vinny".
On TV's "Car 54 Where Are You?", Fred was a big hit. His voice was heard on TV as a spokeman for numberous companies. The best memories I have are simple ones on the set. Running lines, going to lunch, posing with the hundreds of guests we had on the set. What's really funny is the feeling I get when an episode of the Munsters is on; and I see how strong and fresh his character is, and how timeless his portrayal is after more than 30 years. Wow, has it really been 3 decades!
Well, in closing, I'd like to say how much we all loved Fred. How lucky I was to share the TV screen with him, but how much his teachings have affected my life.
So long ole friend! I hope to see you in another life.
God bless you,
Personal Comment by Rodney Chang
In 1988 I had the good fortune to sit with Fred Gwynne at a table and eat sushi.
It was for my opening reception of "Paint Outs", my first 6 "cyberpaintings" (oil on canvas) and my first solo show in New York City (Nishi Noho Gallery).
I asked Fred if he had always wanted to be an actor. I was amazed by his answer (already mesmerized by sitting in the presence of Munster Frankenstein)-
"I became an actor because I couldn't be an artist".
So in honor of that seemingly honest and personal testimony to me, I , Rodney Chang, induct Fred Gwynne into the Mausoleum Art Museum. Hope you see this Fred! You were a great artist in performance!