'Munsters' Star Beverley Owen, Original Marilyn, Dies at 81

Beverley Owen, known for playing the original Marilyn Munster on the first season of the 1960s sitcom The Munsters, died last week, her family said. She was 81.

the-munsters-beverley-owen_getty-Silver Screen Collection : Contributor
(Photo: Silver Screen Collection / Contributor, Getty)

Owen's daughter, Polly Stone, told TMZ that the actress passed away on Thursday, surrounded by friends and family at her home in Vermont after a private battle with ovarian cancer. The news outlet reports that she was diagnosed in January 2017 and kept the news private.

Her Munsters co-star Butch Patrick, who played Eddie Munster, grieved the loss of Owen on Facebook on Sunday.

"Beautiful Beverly Owen has left us. What a sweet soul. I had the biggest crush on her. RIP Bev and thanks for your 13 memorable Marilyn Munster episodes," Patrick captioned a set of photos of a young Owen.

The actress left her role on The Munsters after 13 episodes to marry Jon Stone, a writer and producer who helped create Sesame Street and some of its beloved characters, like Cookie Monster, Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. They were married from 1967 to 1974; she was replaced for the remainder of the series by actress Pat Priest. Stone died in 1997 at age 65 from complications caused by Lou Gehrig's disease.

Starring Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo and Al Lewis, among others, The Munsters was based on a family of friendly monsters who often wondered why everyday people reacted to them so strangely. It aired from 1964 until 1966.

Fans took to Twitter to mourn Owen's passing.

"RIP Beverley Owen. Thank you for the laughs and being a true Munster on the inside," one Twitter user wrote.

"Rest in Peace, Beverley Owen. She was my favorite Marilyn. She gave up a successful TV career for love. Very admirable," another said.

Although she's best known for The Munsters, Owen's first job in television was on As the World Turns in 1956; she also appeared on shows like The Doctors, Kraft Mystery Theater, Wagon Train, The Virginian, Another World and Bullet for a Badman before earning fame on The Munsters.

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In addition to Polly, Owen is also survived by daughter Kate.