(April 30, 1910 – February 3, 2006)
was an American actor best known for the role of Grandpa Munster on the television series The Munsters.
"Grandpa" Al LewisBorn Albert Meister in NYC, he worked as a circus performer in the late 1920s before earning a Ph.D. in child psychology from Columbia University in 1941. In 1949, Lewis returned to acting, working in burlesque and vaudeville theaters before appearing on Broadway in the 1950s.
Lewis’ first well-known television role was as Officer Leo Schnauser on Car 54, Where Are You?, although he is best remembered as Grandpa on The Munsters. Later, he opened an Italian restaurant called "Grandpa’s" in Greenwich Village, New York City.
A progressive activist, he hosted a politically oriented radio show on WBAI-FM, and ran as Green Party candidate for governor of New York in 1998. In that race he sought to be listed on the ballot as "Grandpa Al Lewis", arguing that he was most widely known by that name. His request was rejected by the Board of Elections, a decision upheld in court against his challenge. Despite this setback, he achieved one of his campaign objectives. His total of 52,533 votes, because it exceeded the threshold of 50,000 votes set by New York law, guaranteed the Green Party an automatic ballot line for the succeeding four years. (See Election results, New York governor.)
Despite his age, Lewis continued to act and make public appearances until very shortly before his death. He died on February 3, 2006, aged 95, of natural causes.
He is survived by his wife, Karen Ingenthron-Lewis, three sons and four grandchildren.