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April 23, 2012

Jonathan Frid, Dark Shadows' Barnabas Collins

The veteran stage actor achieved fame in the role of a brooding vampire in the daytime drama Dark Shadows, which aired on ABC from 1966 to 1971.

Jonathan Frid, an actor best known for the role of vampire Barnabas Collins on 1960s television series Dark Shadows, died April 13, 2012, in his birthplace, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He was 87.

The time of his passing was just a few weeks away from the release of a feature film version of Dark Shadows, starring Johnny Depp and directed by Tim Burton. Frid, along with several of his Dark Shadows castmates, shot cameos for inclusion in the movie.

Depp plays the character Barnabas Collins, Frid’s role in the original, a daytime drama that ran on ABC from 1966 to 1971.

In addition to Dark Shadows, Frid appeared in other television roles and in movies including the 1974 horror film Seizure, directed by Oliver Stone.

Frid also performed readings at Dark Shadows conventions, which achieved popularity in the 1980s.

He was John Herbert Frid on December 2, 1924. After graduating from McMaster University, he attended London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and later earned a Master’s degree in directing from the Yale School of Drama.

For many years he worked in the theater as part of English and Canadian repertory companies. He also performed at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego and the American Shakespeare Festival.

In 1986, he appeared in the Broadway revival of Arsenic and Old Lace with Jean Stapleton.

Frid, who never married, also established his own production company, Clunes Associates, to create and tour a series of one-man readers’ theater shows across North America.

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