Jonathan Frid, TV’s “Barnabas Collins,” Dead at 87

He passed away in his native Ontario on April 14th. Frid was the reluctant star who played a reluctant vampire on ABC’s daytime gothic drama, “Dark Shadows.” The vampire was originally only supposed to be a short-lived character but proved so popular that he became the main focus of the series.

I had a rare chance to meet him back in the 1980s when he was touring with a production of “Arsenic and Old Lace.” where he played the brother who looked like Boris Karloff. The night before that, I had seen him at a local library where he was doing his one-man show of Edgar Allan Poe readings.

I, of course, was an avid follower of the series when I was a child during the 1960s, rushing home after school every day to watch it on the color tv in my parents bedroom (and avoiding homework at the same time). The first clearly defined memory I can recall from the series is from the ‘1897’ story during the Laura Collins section of the story. My last memory from the original run is from the first episode of ‘1995 Future Time.’ I would not be able to learn who was turning the doorknob for many years until I finally read a synopsis of those episodes, and then later when the series would be released on videotape and dvd.

He was scheduled to appear at a luncheon in Tarrytown in late July and I had planned to take my son to it so that he could meet the first great TV vampire.

His last role was a cameo in the upcoming Tim Burton film of “Dark Shadows,” where the Barnabas Collins role that he created in 1967 would be played by Johnny Depp. I will miss him, as will his millions of fans around the world.

There is more info on his life and career here and here.


About davidccrowley

political candidate, father, husband and homemaker.
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