Actor Jonathan Frid, best known for his role as vampire Barnabas Collins on the popular Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows, has died in Canada at the age of 87.
News of Frid's death comes only a few weeks before the world premiere of director Tim Burton's take on the 60s era soap, with superstar Johnny Depp in the role of Barnabas.
The soap opera, which debuted in 1966, was originally a contemporary daytime drama, with elements of suspense. The show didn't catch on with audiences until the appearance of classically-trained actor Frid as the tortured, 200-year-old cursed vampire Barnabas, destined to live eternity as a blood-sucker. The show quickly became a sensation, and featured not only vampires, but werewolves, witches, the re-animated dead and time travel.
The show would influence a slew of future actors and directors, including Burton and Depp, who both acknowledge their appreciation of Frid and the role that made him a star. Actress Kathryn Leigh Scott, who played the object of Barnabas' love and devotion, Maggie Evans/Josette DuPre, remembered her time working with the actor: “I’m so grateful to have worked with Jonathan, and to have known him as the charismatic, entertaining, complex, and plain-spoken man that he was,” she wrote. “What fun we had working together! He was irascible, irreverent, funny, caring, lovable, and thoroughly professional.”
Frid filmed his final movie appearance, a brief cameo for the Dark Shadows reboot, late last year.