Pat Priest, The Munsters

Patricia Ann Priest is an American actress known for portraying the second Marilyn Munster on the television show The Munsters after the original actress, Beverley Owen, left after 13 episodes.

If the horror tinged surf song that opened every episode of The Munsters isn’t playing through your head right now then you missed out on one of the most fun shows of the ‘60s. The series, a family sitcom about monsters living in a “normal” neighborhood was as far from scary as you can imagine, in fact, it was downright wholesome. The reason it was so heartwarming is because the show was created by the same team who made Leave It To BeaverJoe Connelly and Bob Mosher wanted the show to be essentially the same as Beaver, but with the Universal monsters. The show was a hit, and it’s gone on to inspire a cult following across the globe. 

This sweet, wholesome, porcelain-skinned beauty was your typical bouffant blonde of the early-to-mid 60s. She was picture perfect whether romping along the coast of Malibu Beach in a bikini or peering over a white picket fence as the girl-next-door. Pat Priest was born in 1936 in Utah. Her mother, Ivy Baker Priest (1905-1975), was a renown government official and served as United States Treasurer under the Eisenhower administration from 1953-1961. She also was California’s Treasurer while Ronald Reagan was Governor from 1966-1974. Living a glamorous débutante’s life in Washington D.C. during her mother’s 1950s term, she won attention as a beauty contest winner in the area. Stagestruck, she moved to Los Angeles and pursued commercials, modeling and community theater work. She happened to be in the San Francisco Bay area in 1964 when she got the call from Hollywood as a possible replacement for lookalike actress Beverley Owen, the “original” Marilyn Munster, who was suddenly leaving “The Munsters” (1964) series for marriage. Most viewers never caught on that there was a cast change. The decorative sitcom role did wonders for Pat as the prettiest resident of 1313 Mockingbird Lane, making her a minor household name. On the down side, she was given very little to do but to serve as a pretty and innocent foil for the weird and funny characters around her. Her one-joke premise revolved around her feeling “abnormal” amid her ghoulish relatives. The show ran another two seasons with Pat, then she went on to what would become a less-than-enviable post-Munsters career. Other than a few guest parts in such shows as “Bewitched,” “Perry Mason,” “The Virginian” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” the pickings grew scarce. Deemed too old to play Marilyn after the series was canceled (she was 30), she was replaced by red-headed Debbie (TV’s “Tammy”) Watson for the feature film Munster, Go Home! (1966), which included the rest of her TV cast. She did dally around with “Elvis Presley” in Easy Come, Easy Go (1967) one of his lesser vehicles, and also appeared in the sub-par cult horror flick The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant (1971), which co-starred Bruce Dern and Casey Kasem,but film roles were almost non-existent after that. Pat finally retired from acting in the 80s but still attends many of the nostalgic conventions and “Munster” revivals around the country. At last report, she was restoring and selling homes in the Idaho area. Married twice, she has two sons.