A Frank in the Grass: The Unmarked Grave of Herman Munster

October 16, 2019 — Those of us of a certain sort always imagine ourselves growing up into Gomez Addams—painstakingly dapper, charmingly eccentric, great with a sword. But really most of us end up more like Herman Munster, goofy, out of touch, and swinging a lunchbox clumsily into work.

Still, you won’t find a more lovable Frankenstein than Fred Gwynne’s version of the character in The Munsters. You also won't find his gravestone.

I always hope that the grave of a spooky legend has a suitably spooky gravestone, but it never happens. That’s because these legends usually have a much wider life and body of work to reflect. And Fred Gwynne was more than Herman Munster. He was Officer Francis Muldoon in Car 54, Where Are You? He was Jud Crandall in Pet Sematary. He was Judge Chamberlain Haller in My Cousin Vinny. He had roles in everything from The Secret to My Success to Fatal Attraction. Not bad for a 6’5” dude who could barely squeeze his frame into a camera frame. Oh, and he was also a children’s book writer and illustrator. I’d read The King Who Rained and Chocolate Moose for Dinner long before I even knew what a Munster was.

So a spooky stone wouldn’t really have summed up his life. And apparently no stone could, because his grave has no gravestone.

Gwynne died on July 2, 1993, at the age of 66 and was buried in the pastoral graveyard behind Sandy Mount United Methodist Church in Finksburg, Maryland.

But this isn’t the sad story of a forgotten legend, and we don’t need to start a GoFundMe to mark his grave. His family just didn’t want a tombstone yet, is what I’ve heard, a decision by Gwynne or/and his wife. I’ve also heard that he’ll get one when his wife joins him in the hereunder, but who knows. I don’t have any inside sources. Butch Patrick won’t return my calls.

The bigger mystery than his lack of a gravestone is the buried-in-Maryland part. Nobody famous is buried in Maryland on purpose. Even Edgar Allan Poe wasn’t supposed to even be here that day. Turns out, although Gwynne was born a New Yorker, he lived in a farmhouse in nearby Taneytown for his final years.

And he’s not alone in that. You know who else lives in Maryland? John Astin. That’s right. Gomez Addams. Although he’s actually a native MD-er. Both he and Gwynne should be on the state seal. As Herman and Gomez, of course.

I ain’t gonna lie. I’ve made that joke plenty of times.