Ever felt like the odd one out in your family? Well, imagine being the only ‘normal’ person in a family of monsters! That was the life of Marilyn Munster, the ‘unfortunate’ niece in the iconic TV show ‘The Munsters.’
But don’t feel too bad for her, because behind those ‘plain’ looks was the talented actress Pat Priest, who managed to stand out even among a family of vampires and werewolves. So, let’s dust off the cobwebs and take a stroll down Mockingbird Lane as we delve into the life of Pat Priest, the woman who made being ‘normal’ seem extraordinarily fun!
Pat Priest was born as Patricia Ann Priest on August 15, 1936, in Bountiful, Utah. Her mother, Ivy Baker Priest, served as the United States Treasurer, under Dwight D. Eisnehower, and her father, Roy Priest, was a local government official.
Prior to her acting career, Priest worked as a high-fashion model in New York City. She appeared in various fashion magazines and even landed the cover of several publications. Her modeling career helped her gain visibility and paved the way for her entry into the entertainment industry.
Priest’s acting career began with performances at local church events and later at Lions Club and Rotary Club events. Her career took off when her family moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked in local TV before moving to the West Coast for her husband’s naval transfer.
She began her acting career in 1963, making appearances in television shows such as “The Jack Benny Program” and “My Favorite Martian,” however, it was in 1964 that Priest landed the role that would define her career, Marilyn Munster, on the CBS television series “The Munsters.”
“The Munsters” is a comedy series that aired on CBS from 1964 to 1966. The show is centered around the Munsters, a family of lovable monsters with a comically macabre yet wholesome lifestyle. The family includes the Frankenstein’s monster-like father, Herman, the vampire-like mother, Lily, the vampire Grandpa, and Eddie, along with Lily’s niece Marilyn, who is a regular human and considered to be the odd one by the rest of the family.
Beverley Owen, who initially played Marilyn Munster in the television series “The Munsters,” was replaced by Priest after the first 13 episodes due to personal reasons. According to reports, Owen had difficulty adjusting to the demanding production schedule of the show, and she also felt homesick as she was newly married and wanted to be closer to her husband, who was studying on the East Coast.
Marilyn is the only ‘normal’ member of the family, a pretty, very wholesome and very naive, young woman who is considered unattractive by her family and is pitied by them for her ‘unfortunate’ appearance.
What did she do after The Munsters?
After “The Munsters” ended, Priest continued to act in various roles but struggled to escape the shadow of Marilyn Munster. She made appearances in popular TV shows like “Bewitched” and “Mission: Impossible,” and even starred in a few films, including “Easy Come, Easy Go” with Elvis Presley.
In the 1970s, Priest decided to retire from acting to focus on her personal life. She moved to Idaho, where she raised two sons and became involved in local theater productions.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Priest made occasional appearances at conventions and fan events, often alongside her “Munsters” co-stars Butch Patrick and Al Lewis. These events allowed her to reconnect with fans and celebrate the enduring popularity of “The Munsters.”
What is Pat Priest doing now?
Today, Pat Priest lives a quiet life in Idaho. She is retired from acting but still makes occasional appearances at conventions and fan events. Despite the challenges she faced in her career, Priest looks back on her time on “The Munsters” with fondness and is grateful for the opportunities it provided.
In 2022, Priest briefly returned to acting and made a voice appearence in Rob Zombie’s The Munsters movie. Butch Patrick would also lend his voice in the movie as well.
In an interview, Pat discussed her brief role in the new Munsters movie. She humorously mentions that her appearance was so fleeting that if you blinked, you might have missed her. Despite her older age and a raspy voice due to a paralyzed vocal cord, she was asked to voice the stewardess in the movie. She found it amusing, questioning why they wanted her to do the stewardess voice when she sounded like an old grandmother.
However, she took on the role without any issues and found the experience fun. She believes they wanted to include her and Butch in some way, which she appreciated. She also enjoyed watching the movie, although she candidly admits that she had some criticisms.
The Munsters In Retrospect
Despite her limited role in “The Munsters,” Priest remains positive about the experience. She credits her mother for instilling in her the belief that she could do anything she set her mind to, which has helped her maintain a positive outlook on her acting career.
She reflects on her life with satisfaction, stating, “I’ve done everything I wanted to do and gone everywhere I wanted to go. Whatever happens in the future is all just pluses.”