Beverley Owen, best known for playing the original Marilyn Munster in the hit 1960s television series The Munsters, has died aged 81.
Owen’s daughter confirmed the news, telling TMZ that the actress died surrounded by family and friends at her home in Vermont, US, on February 21 after a battle with ovarian cancer.
Owen was reportedly diagnosed in January, 2017, and had kept her illness hidden from the public.
The actress appeared only in the first season of The Munsters — the CBS sitcom about a friendly family of monsters — where she played the ‘unattractive’ teenage niece of the Munster family. Although Owen was clearly the most beautiful star of the show according to viewers, the family of monsters hilariously dubbed her plain thanks to her human-like qualities.
Despite being a rising star on the series, Owen quit the show after just 13 episodes to marry writer and producer Jon Stone. The pair were married from 1967 to 1974 before they separated for good.
Owen was replaced on The Munsters by Pat Priest, who played the role of Marilyn for the rest of the series and Owen’s own acting career slowed down after her departure from the show. She appeared on stage and in television commercials and in 1972 took on her biggest role outside of The Munsters, starring as Dr Paula McCrea for nine months on soap opera Another World.
Her Munster co-stars have already started paying tribute to her online, with Butch Patrick, who played Owen’s onscreen cousin Eddie Munster, posting a tribute on Facebook, saying: “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.”
Meanwhile, fans were quick to share their condolences, with one writing: “RIP Beverley Owen. Thank you for the laughs and being a true Munster on the inside.”
Another added: “Rest in Peace, Beverley Owen. She was my favourite Marilyn. She gave up a successful TV career for love. Very admirable.
While a third wrote: “RIP to the original Marilyn Munster, Beverley Owen.”
Owen began her TV career on As the World Turns and went on to have roles in Wagon Train, Another World, The Doctors, Kraft Mystery Theatre, The Virginia and Bullet for Badman before earning stardom on The Munsters. Before becoming an actress she received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and later studied American history and obtained a masters degree in the late 1980s.
She is survived by her two daughters.