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Wednesday, August 11, 1999 Published at 11:05 GMT 12:05 UK


Al gets fangs into Big Apple

Al Lewis as Grandpa Munster in the hit 60s series

Veteran actor Al Lewis, best known as Grandpa in the classic 1960s series The Munsters, is joining the race to become New York's next Senator.

The 89-year-old, who played Hermann Munster's blood-sucking father-in-law, is hoping to become the Green Party's candidate and has formed a Senate exploratory committee.

[ image: Hillary Clinton also has Senate ambitions]
Hillary Clinton also has Senate ambitions
If he is successful, he could face New York's current mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, and possibly President Clinton's wife, Hillary, in the contest.

At a news conference, he dismissed his rivals for the job as "Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum".

Last year the cigar-chomping, blunt-speaking actor ran unsuccessfully for governor of New York on the Green Party ticket.

However, Lewis concedes that with "no machine and no money" behind him, winning a Senate seat or the governorship is "like climbing Mount Everest barefooted".

Circus roots

Lewis was born on 30 April, 1910, in Brooklyn, New York, and got his first taste of showbusiness in the 1920s when he performed in three different circuses.

He went on to appear in carnivals, then moved into radio, appearing in a soap opera.

[ image: Al Lewis also ran for New York governor last year]
Al Lewis also ran for New York governor last year
He later taught in a school and wrote two children's books. During World War II, he worked as a merchant seaman and was torpedoed twice.

After studying for a PhD in child psychology from Columbia University at the age of 31 he turned to acting in 1949, joining the Paul Mann Actors' Workshop in New York.

He went on to work in vaudeville, and by the end of the 1950s he was a familiar face on US television.

His other TV credits include Car 54, Where Are You?, Here's Lucy and Naked City.

His films include 1988's Married to the Mob and 1969's They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

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