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Actor Who First Popularized Vampires in Scripted Shows on TV Dies Digital Spy

The actor who originated a classic television character -- who will be played by Johnny Depp in a big-screen reboot -- has died. Jonathan Frid, who played the vampire Barnabas Collins in TV’s “Dark Shadows,” was 87, Digital Spy reports.

Frid died of natural causes at Juravinski Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. His final performance will be a cameo in Tim Burton's adaptation of "Dark Shadows," which is set to premiere May 11. Along with Depp as Barnabas, the movie also features Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter.

Frid catapulted to instant fame when cast on "Dark Shadows" in 1966. At the time, the gothic horror program was an ABC daytime drama. Frid was a sensation as the vampire who wanted to be cured of his affliction, appearing on magazine covers and engendering a loyal legion of fans.

"Dark Shadows" ran from 1966 to 1971, all with Frid, and spawned feature films and prime-time iterations of the "Dark Shadows" franchise.

jonathan-frid-barnabas.jpgJonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins