Jonathan Frid, the vampire who set generations of fans’ hearts fluttering as the charismatic Barnabas Collins on the 1960s soap opera Dark Shadows, died this past April 14, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada it was announced last night. He was 87.
Although the show did not start out as a daytime drama with a supernatural bent when it premiered in 1966, Dark Shadows‘s producers began adding such things as ghosts about six months into its run. But it was the addition of the character Barnabas Collins, a vampire member of the Collins family who had been imprisoned in a tomb for two centuries, and Frid’s mesmerizing performance that really served to boost the show’s rating. The series was so popular that it spun off the movie House Of Dark Shadows in 1970. Although the film did well enough to spawn a sequel, Night Of Dark Shadows, Frid declined to participate citing fears of being typecast into the role.
Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Frid was primarily a stage actor with the Dark Shadows series being only one of two forays into television. The other was the 1973 made-for-TV film The Devil’s Daughter. His only other feature film work was in Oliver Stone’s 1974 directorial debut Seizure.
Alongside his former Dark Shadows co-stars Kathryn Leigh Scott, Lara Parker and David Selby, Frid had filmed a cameo for director Tim Burton’s big screen adaption of the series starring Johnny Depp which opens next month.