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February 04, 2006

Obituary of the Week

Not quite a life well lived, but certainly colorful:

Marion Wrottesley

Marion Wrottesley, who died on January 24 aged 83, was a raucously effervescent and flighty figure, equally at home in the fleshpots of Spain and the bedsitters of Kensington and Chelsea.

Egotistical, eventually penniless, but continuously alluring, she married the heir to a barony and hobnobbed with everyone from Somerset Maugham to the Kray twins, but had no worldly ambitions other than to flaunt her own charms and to express her hatred of hypocrisy.

Update

Equally baroque, but even better known, "Grandpa" Al Lewis also died this week, age 95:

Al Lewis, the cigar-chomping patriarch of "The Munsters" whose work as a basketball scout, restaurateur and political candidate never eclipsed his role as Grandpa from the television sitcom, died after years of failing health. He was 95.

. . . Lewis, sporting a somewhat cheesy Dracula outfit, became a pop culture icon playing the irascible father-in-law to Fred Gwynne's ever-bumbling Herman Munster on the 1964-66 television show. He was also one of the stars of another classic TV comedy, playing Officer Leo Schnauzer on "Car 54, Where Are You?"

But Lewis' life off the small screen ranged far beyond his acting antics. A former ballplayer at Thomas Jefferson High School, he achieved notoriety as a basketball talent scout familiar to coaching greats like Jerry Tarkanian and Red Auerbach.

He operated a successful Greenwich Village restaurant, Grandpa's, where he was a regular presence -- chatting with customers, posing for pictures, signing autographs.

Just two years short of his 90th birthday, a ponytailed Lewis ran as the Green Party candidate against incumbent Gov. George Pataki. Lewis campaigned against draconian drug laws and the death penalty, while going to court in a losing battle to have his name appear on the ballot as "Grandpa Al Lewis."

February 4, 2006 at 11:09 PM | Permalink

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