Actor Who First Popularized Vampires in Scripted Shows on TV Dies

Apr 19, 2012  •  Post A Comment

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


  1. Oh man. We’re all so damn old. I’ll always remember getting home from school, sitting in the den with the TV, chewing on popcorn while Jonathan chewed up the scenery…and a few necks!
    RIP JF

  2. He probably saw the previews of the new dark shadows and couldn’t take it lol I think it looks very funny!

  3. For those of use born in the post WWII decade, he was the first TV Star that we developed and owned. Every afternoon my friends and I would come home from school and watch Dark Shadows. My first make-out party was watching Dark Shadows with girls in the neighborhood. It was truly a revolutionary program at that time for us in the first half of the Baby Boom generation.

  4. Those would have been my comments exactly! I wouldn’t go anywhere after school unless it was somebody who also watched Dark Shadows. So glad he did a cameo in the new movie. RIP Jonathan.

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