The Munsters has been a beloved television show from its premiere in 1964 to its syndication which still runs to this day. If you’ve been following Universal Monsters Universe, you may have seen our pieces on Fred Gwynne who played Herman and Yvonne De Carlo who played Lily. Join us as we profile the next cast member in the series, Butch Patrick.
Butch Patrick was born Patrick Alan Lilley on August 2, 1953 in Los Angeles, California. He began his acting career in 1961 when he starred in the movie The Two Little Bears. Patrick would follow up his debut with guest spots on various television programs and soap operas. Patrick once said about his early acting career, “I owe my career to my sister. She was the one who got me started and gave me all the encouragement. She always wanted to be an actress and was on the casting call sheet one day. She was asked if there were any other children at home. She told them about me, and I got some small roles, then some bigger ones…” It wouldn’t be long before he the biggest role of his career which was also the role he would be forever remembered by.
In 1964, Butch Patrick replaced Happy Derman as Eddie Munster when The Munsters premiered on September 24. Patrick beat out 500 boys for the part. When asked about how he got the part, Patrick said, “I had a lot of experience. But maybe it was because my fangs were my own teeth. My teeth were so bad, that even when I closed my mouth they stuck out. I was about a head smaller than the other kids, and they liked that because it played off Herman’s height.” The show ran for two seasons and came to an end in 1966. Patrick lived on the East Coast and traveled back-and-forth while on the show. He was very close with Yvonne De Carlo who he said was a mother to him on set. When the show ended, he went back to guest-starring on shows including I Dream of Jeannie, Gunsmoke and The Monkees.
In 1971, Patrick once again landed a regular role, this time on Sid and Marty Krofft’s Lidsville. He portrayed Mark, a boy who gets lost in a world of singing and dancing hats. The show, which ran for only one season, also starred Charles Nelson Reilly and Billie Hayes. In 1975, he left acting to work for his father where he learned bass guitar. In 1983, he recorded a song under the band name Eddie and the Monsters titled, Whatever Happened To Eddie? Set to The Munsters theme tune, the song described life as Eddie Munster. Patrick released a second song in 2007 called, It’s Only Halloween. As recently as 2012, Patrick made cameos once again on various shows such as The Simpsons and Macabre Theatre alongside Natalie Popovich aka “Ivonna Cadaver.”
Butch Patrick continues to make appearances at various shows and conventions to this day. Eddie Munster may be all grown up now, but he is still a fan favorite at said events. You can even find replicas of his werewolf doll, Woof Woof at events. The Munsters and its characters have, like many shows of their era, endured the test of time and are still beloved today.
(Joe Grodensky – @JoeGrodensky)