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People Top 5
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PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- February 20, 2006
- Vol. 65
- No. 7
Fang-tastic as Grandpa Munster, the Blustery Actor Had a Soft Side
Lewis, a gregarious Brooklyn-bred vaudevillian turned character actor who died Feb. 3 at 82 of natural causes, led a colorful enough life even after The Munsters. His savvy in scouting out top high school basketball stars impressed NBA and college coaches. He was also shrewd enough to capitalize on his cult TV status, opening up a New York City eatery in the '80s called Grampa's, hosting his own local radio talk show and running for governor as a third-party candidate in 1998. The father of three sons from the first of two marriages, "he was a kind, sweet person under this blustery veneer," says second wife Karen Lewis, 60. "He was almost like a father to me," concurs Pat Priest, 69, who played Munster niece Marilyn. "I knew if I needed any help, I could go to Al." A week before he died, Lewis summoned his sons to his bedside and enjoyed a last cigar. Fittingly, his ashes will be kept in a cigar box of his choosing.
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