Jonathan Frid, star of soap opera ‘Dark Shadows,’ dies

April 19, 2012

Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins, with Grayson Hall in “Dark Shadows.” (Pictorial Parade/Getty Images)

A Yale graduate, Frid was a theater actor looking for a teaching job until he was hired to play a 200-year-old vampire on “Dark Shadows,” according to a biography on his Web site. At its peak, the show was watched by 20 million viewers, according to TV Guide.

After “Dark Shadows” ended in 1971, Frid returned to stage acting and also appeared at “Dark Shadows” conventions. He also starred in the films “House of Dark Shadows,” “The Devil’s Daughter” and Oliver Stone’s ”Seizure,” according to his bio.

“Dark Shadows,” which has developed a huge cult following, is making its way back into the mainstream, as Tim Burton’s film adaptation is set to hit theaters in May.

Indeed, Frid's final acting credit is a cameo in the film, which stars Johnny Depp as Collins.

Kathryn Leigh Scott, who co-starred with Frid on “Dark Shadows,” remembered him on her Web site as a “charismatic, entertaining, complex and plain spoken man.”

“He was irascible, irreverent, funny, caring, lovable and thoroughly professional, and in the end became the whole reason why kids ran home from school to watch ‘Dark Shadows’,” she wrote.

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