Monday, February 06, 2006

A Life Well Lived

Current mood: pensive

Category: News and Politics

Al Lewis and Betty Friedan died within a day of each other.

One of them wrote The Feminine Mystique and co-founded NOW. The other played Grandpa on the hit television show, The Munsters.

Most people don't know Al Lewis was not only an actor, he was a social activist.

Racial justice, free speech, voting rights, prison reform, the anti-war movement were some of the causes he supported throughout his long life.

Unlike so many celebrities, Al Lewis understood it wasn't all about him. He made a difference, and he will be missed.

(From the internet)

In 1988, he accepted the Green Party nomination for governor of New York saying, "We don't inherit the world from our ancestors, we borrow it from our kids."

Although he lost to incumbent Republican Gov. George Pataki, he still managed to collect more than 52,000 votes with his name on the ballot as "Grandpa Al Lewis."

Lewis' first political work was for the Sacco and Vanzetti defense committee. Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, two Italian anarchists, were executed in Massachusetts in 1927 for a double murder and robbery amid doubts about their guilt.

Lewis worked in the 1930s to free the Scottsboro Boys -- nine black teenagers accused of raping two white women in another highly publicized case. All but one were sentenced to death, but eventually they were cleared.

"If anything I consider myself an anarchist," he once said on his weekly radio show on WBAI in New York City.