THE MUNSTERS star Al Lewis is lucky to be alive after a third angioplasty in New York turned into a nightmare that almost ended his life.

The actor-turned-politician, who played a vampire GRANDPA in the hit TV show, checked into Manhattan's Mount Sinai Hospital on 30 June (03) but, during the heart procedure, an artery ruptured and doctors had to perform an emergency bypass.

That produced serious clotting in his extremities and the threat of gangrene. His right leg was amputated below the knee, as were the five toes on his left foot.

But optimistic Lewis, 93, is just happy to be alive.

He says, "The odds in Vegas were against me, I think, 1,000-1. I did ask, 'Why me? Who chose me for this role? I don't remember auditioning for this?' I'm glad I didn't have a vote on the amputation."

17/09/2003 21:17