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September 12, 2008

Erinie as the Vampire
Ernie Grunwald
as the Vampire Manager

Ernie Grunwald guest stars in "Mr. Monk's 100th Case" as the enthusiastic manager of The Morbid Café. He's a native of Toronto, Canada and studied theatre at the University of Toronto.

Since relocating to Los Angeles Ernie's had recurring roles on The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, It's Like You Know, and One on One. He has also guest starred on many other TV shows including The New Adventures of Old Christine, My Name Is Earl, NYPD Blue, Reno 911!, Bones and Eli Stone, as well as being featured in the William Shatner "reality" miniseries Invasion Iowa. He film credits include, Cellular, Dudley Do-Right, Men in Black II, and Stealing Harvard.

I emailed Ernie a bunch of questions and he kindly answered every one of them.


How did you get the role on Monk?

I got the role after auditioning for the casting directors and some of the producers. My manager convinced them that I'd be right for the part and got me the meeting... I guess she was right.

How did you prepare to play the role? What did you think of the character?

I loved the character. I got to put a spin on playing a wannabe actor hamming it up for the camera, which is great fun. As for preparation, let's just say I've seen a lot of bad acting, the trick was to make it look like good acting!

How long did your scene take to shoot?

100th Case 3

Ernie Grunwald 3

The scene was quick and painless to shoot (aside from the false teeth they tried to stick onto my real teeth - luckily they fell off during shooting so we didn't end up using them). The whole thing took about half a day.

Where was your scene shot?

We shot in a funky lounge near Silverlake.

What was your day like working on Monk?

I had a great time on set. Meeting Tony was a great thrill, he's one of my favorite actors, and the fact that he was so kind and seemed to really enjoy my work made it all the more special.

What's your best memory of working on the show?

My best memory was seeing Tony's reaction to my work. He gave me some great pointers and was happy with the results, which made me very happy. He told me it was some of the funniest stuff they shot all season. That will always be a warm memory for me.

100th Case 6

Did you work with the entire cast? What was your impression of each of them?

I actually only worked with Tony and Traylor, had a great time with them.

Did you watch the show before you got the role? What did you think of it?

100th Case 5

I always thought it was a great idea for a show, great to see how well it's been received over the years.

You had a role in Men in Black II. Did you meet Tony Shalhoub at that time? Or was this the first time?

My role in MIB II was tiny! I didn't get to meet Tony until Monk.

How would you compare working as a guest on Monk to other work you've done, for instance your recent appearance on Eli Stone?

I've been really lucky, most of the shows I've worked on have been a lot of fun. The show you mentioned, Eli Stone, was a nice departure, as it was one of the more dramatic roles I've done in a while.

Ernie in Eli Stone

After Monk I worked on Hannah Montana, had a fun time with Miley Cyrus. Then I got to work with Julia Louis-Dreyfus on The New Adventures of Old Christine, so I've recently had the pleasure of working with several TV icons!

My Name is Earl
Ernie in My Name is Earl

What do you enjoy most about acting? And least?

I love the work, getting to meet interesting people and seeing how they work. The business part of it can get a bit trying, but as long as you don't take things too seriously or personally it can be a lot of fun.

What do you like to do when you're not working?

When I'm not working I like to spend time with my gal, walk, write, read, try new restaurants, watch stuff in Hi-Def. Thrilling, eh?!

Professionally speaking, what's the one thing you'd most like to do that you haven't done yet?

Hm, that's a good question. When I was growing up I always wanted to work with Steven Spielberg, which I haven't had the chance to do yet, so tell him to give me a call ;)

100th Case 4

Would you give me a little information about your background. Where you're from? How you got into acting?

I did plays in high school, then studied theater at the University of Toronto, where I got to work with some great teachers. I did some TV work in Canada, then landed a role in a short-lived series called The High Life on HBO. It was produced by David Letterman, which was a great thrill for me as I grew up watching him. I moved to LA after the show was canceled and have had the good fortune to live and work here for the past twelve years.

Ernie Grunwald 1

Toronto or L.A., which do you like more?

I grew up in Toronto and my family is still there so it will always be a very special place to me. My "adult" life in Los Angeles has also been special on many levels, so I'm very grateful to have lived and worked in both.

What's next on your agenda?

I just came back from holiday after getting to work on a few fun shows, and look forward to every next opportunity.

100th Case 1

Ernie Grunwald as the Vampire Manager in "Mr. Monk's 100th Case"


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