The Original Ladies of the Munsters

Before Lily, it was Phoebe, but she looked too much like Morticia

In this unaired pilot for the 1964-1966 CBS sitcom, The Munsters, we see the original Munsters’ lady of the house, Phoebe, played by Joan Marshall, looks like another then-popular horroresque housewife who was on another then-popular horror-themed sitcom on rival network ABC. Therefore, Miss Marshall’s Phoebe was let go in favor of Yvonne DeCarlo’s Lily and the rest is history.

Beverley Owen
Beverley Owen

The other female character in the main cast, Marilyn Munster (the “unattractive” black sheep of the family), originally played by Beverley Owen (pictured at right), remained the same throughout the show’s run, but Miss Owen left the show after the first 13 episodes (about a third of the way into the first season) and was replaced by Pat Priest. However, Miss Priest was snubbed in the casting for the 1966 feature film Munster, Go Home! in favor of Debbie Watson, an actress who was under contract with Universal Studios (the producers of the film) at the time and was slated to become a big star. Therefore, it was decided by the then-studio powers that were, to cast her as Marilyn Munster in the film and give her the exposure as sort of a springboard to her career, which never did amount to much. These days, Pat Priest, although not the original, is best known by fans as Marilyn Munster.



About the author

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Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Chris flirted with the music business there and in Nashville before joining the U.S. Army and serving in South Korea. He remained in Asia for several years afterwards, teaching English, traveling, and covering the regional entertainment scenes. Currently in a mindset between Seoul and San Francisco, besides Idol Features, you can also catch his writings in the print edition of the monthly magazine, Effective.

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