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Dark Shadows Icon Jonathan Frid Has Died! Fans and Colleagues remember the original Barnabas Collins!

Vampire and soap icon, Jonathan Frid who created the role of Barnabas Collins on TV’s long running series, Dark Shadows has died at age 87.  Reports are now in that Frid passed away on April 13 from natural causes at Juravinski Hospital in Ontario, Canada.

Jonathan Frid created a national sensation when he first appeared in the gothic horror soap spawning a rabid fan base that thrust the daytime soap into national prominence as both girls and boys, and adults, followed the daily adventures of the tormented bloodsucker and the Collins family.

Frid’s Barnabas set the stage for all the television vampire portrayals to follow- reinventing the character as a reluctant vampire, one who sought to rid himself of his curse. Just look no further than the CW hit, Vampire Diaries for starters.

Dark Shadows co-star Kathryn Leigh Scott paid tribute to Frid on her official website, writing, “I am so grateful to have worked with Jonathan and to have known him as the charismatic, entertaining, complex and plain spoken man that he was. What fun we had working together! 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.

Of course, the timing of Frid’s passing is very ironic, as fans will soon see Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s motion picture version of Dark Shadows, when it has its premiere in London on May 9The film version premise and look and feel already has Dark Shadows and Frid and Barnabas purists up in arms!

Leave a comment | 32 Comments


  1. Paula Kate Prince-Meserole

    April 19, 2012 at 8:38 am

    We will never forget the incredible world Jonathan Frid took us into each time he brought his Barnabas Collins to the screen.
    His powerful performances completely drew us in and took us all there to that fictional world of Dark Shadows.
    Thank you Jonathan. See you on the other side.

  2. Chaz

    April 19, 2012 at 9:11 am

    While I like Johnny Depp, I am not thrilled at the perspective it seems they took with this Dark Shadows film.

    R.I.P., Mr. Frid.

    • David Larsson

      April 19, 2012 at 11:15 am

      I would like to think that if Mr. Frid and other members of the original cast were willing to film cameo appearances for the film, then that must mean they felt the film overall was good.

    • ethel

      April 20, 2012 at 4:21 am

      i saw the trailer for the johnny depp film & from what i could see it is nothing like the original tv show – i will not pay to see such a mockery………..jmo

      • barbara t

        April 21, 2012 at 6:27 am

        Instead of naming it dark shadows they should have called it ANOTHER STUPID VAMPIRE MOVIE,Looks dumb to me to and I wont pay to see it either.

  3. David Larsson

    April 19, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Rest in Peace, Mr. Frid.

  4. Lisa

    April 19, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    I remember this Dark Shadows in bits and pieces – I was very ,very young when it was on.
    But I do remember watching the ‘ 90’s version with Ben Cross as Barnabas Collins…that was a good show – until the Gulf War coverage killed it.

    I’m looking forward to Johnny Depp’s turn at it though.

  5. lew

    April 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    A great actor who made Barnabas Collins and DS a must see. I will always remember Grayson, Thayer, Joan & Louis. I still don’t know what to make of the Johnny Depp/ Tim Burton film remake. It doesn’t make me want to run out and pay $11.50 to see it.

  6. Heidi

    April 19, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    I am glad the new Dark Shadows movie is so drastically different than the original. Remakes inevitably end up disappointing when compared to the original so why even bother?. I think they were very smart to take this approach instead. I look at this one with Johnny Depp as an entirely new story, which which, if it follows along the lines of the trailer I have seen, will be thoroughly enjoyable and funny!

  7. kay killgore

    April 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    How many years was Dark Shadows on and can’t we get the series on Amazon or not?

    • lew

      April 20, 2012 at 5:22 am

      I messed that up! 1966 – 1971 and the dvds can be found on netflix.

      • kay killgore

        April 20, 2012 at 8:45 am

        Thanks Lew and regarding the movie Tim Burton has a tendency to really sway from the original stuff and attempt to make something campy I will wait and see what you guys say about it before I indulge!

    • barbara t

      April 20, 2012 at 10:20 am

      I agree with you about Tim burton,I think dark shadows should have been left alone ,I will watch it , when I dont have to pay for it.

      • Susan M.

        April 20, 2012 at 5:18 pm

        Tim Burton made dark Shadows a comedy with Johnny Depp as barnabas collins. It was never a comedy.. I don’t like that they should stay true to the t.v, show…I watched Dark shadows.. I was 15 yrs. old at the time….Loved this show…It was different………..Remember Kate Jackson, Joan Bennett , ETC.. Angalique(not sure about the spelling). Who put the curse on Barnabas & made him a vampire…I was down the jersey shore w/ my cousins but, I had to run back to the house to watch D S. Liked Quentin ….So many memories…Barnabas was my favorite.. RIP…………

  8. mike

    April 19, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Jonathan Frid and Grayson Hall one of the great soap “couples” of all time.

    • Susan M.

      April 20, 2012 at 5:19 pm

      Julia was in love with Barnabas but he loved Josette…..

      • barbara t

        April 21, 2012 at 8:16 am

        Susan m,I agree with everything you said april 20th at 5:18 pm,your right dark shadows wasnt a comedy ,I remember everybody ,it was a good soap and I loved it ,wish these hollywood people would leave the classics alone they cant be changed and they cant be remade .Only reason people will see this movie is johnny depp.It does look stupid.

  9. Jan

    April 19, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Johnny Depp took part in a project that I really think mocked the hell out of Dark Shadows. The only real thing FRID had been known for…I’d have been pissed.
    ALL the ICONS are leaving us, and there are NO real anything to replace any of them, that to me is sooo tragic.

  10. Jan

    April 19, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    My Uncles Grandfather from his mothers side was a garbage man on the same street as FRID lived….he’s say hello everytime to him.

  11. Christy

    April 19, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    I agree Chaz, actually I can’t stand what was done to Dark Shadows and earlier remake was a sham too!

    I found it more ironic that he died on Friday, the 13th! I wonder if his grave will be marked as our beloved vampire, Barnabas?

    I don’t think of him standing at the pearly gates in street clothes as much as I think of him, in his cape, with his cane and turning back to look at us one last time, before turning away, and wandering into the fog and slipping from our sight.

    I will continue to miss him.

  12. NeeNee

    April 19, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Back in 1967 when I was a newly-married 19-year-old wife, discovering the soap world literally saved my life. I had lived all my life in Iowa and then moved to the Florida panhandle where my Air Force husband was stationed. Within weeks, I was drawn to Days of Our Lives, General Hospital and Dark Shadows. All were half hour soaps then. One Life to Live debuted the next year, I believe, and I watched it, too.

    Frid was a Shakespearean actor who brought that elegance to the small screen as vampire Barnabas Collins. He could be menacing, but for the most part was kind of like Dr. Pepper: just misunderstood!

  13. Christy

    April 19, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    I just got thru signing and reading thru the guest book for him on Lots of us “kids” signing that we ran home from school to watch Dark Shadows. One person even said the whole block would vacate the street (out playing) to go watch Dark Shadows. I gotta get the DVDs… anyone have them?

  14. Barbara

    April 19, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Loved Dark Shadows! Jonathan Frid’s portrayal of Barnabas Collins cannot be topped by anyone. Such sad news today to hear of his passing. Condolences to his family, friends and all the millions of his fans worldwide. Rest in peace, Mr. Frid.

    • Susan M.

      April 20, 2012 at 5:20 pm

      I agree >>>>>>>>>

      • Susan M.

        April 20, 2012 at 5:21 pm

        It use to come on at 4:00PM on abc………

  15. MBmomof3

    April 20, 2012 at 3:57 am

    Dark Shadows was my first soap. I was 5 & my older sisters would make me watch it with them because they were too scared to watch it alone. I loved DS & many other soaps along the way.

    I remember meeting my friends at the local cinema to see a Dark Shadows movie in the early 70’s & being so scared riding my bike home alone in the dark. Thanks for the memories Mr. Frid.

  16. ethel

    April 20, 2012 at 4:16 am

    i never missed dark shadows – we ran home every day from school to see it – i really loved barnabas collins!

    • ethel

      April 20, 2012 at 4:23 am

      mr frid passed away on friday the 13th………………….hmm something to think about!

  17. RJ4

    April 20, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Sorry to hear about Mr. Frid. Not too long ago I thought of Dark Shadows and looked it up on Youtube. Saw parts of episodes with Mr. Frid a.k.a. Barnabas Collins. His facial expressions and movements were iconically classic (can you say that?). Brought back memories of when I was a kid and couldn’t wait to watch the campy episodes. They were eerie but funny at the same time – a parody of gothic horror fiction whether they were supposed to be or not. Nevertheless, they were entertaining. RIP – Mr. Frid – may you rise again like Barnabas.

  18. Angie

    April 20, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    I was a big fan of Jonathan Frid and “Dark Shadows”. I would NEVER miss an episode. It was a GREAT love story (between Barbabus and Josette) and Angelique (the witch) added lots of fun. So did the entire cast. We saw Jonathan Frid is person at the height of his fame at a local department store in New Jersey, and fans went “crazy” over him. I remember him pretending to bite a woman on the neck while the crowd cheered. Not many people may know, but Jonathan Frid was once a Shakesperean actor. I have a portrait of him hanging in my office. It’s been there for YEARS! May he rest in peace

  19. Judith Sekscenski

    April 21, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    My dear friend Paula and I were 6 years old when DS came on the air. Our mothers both worked. We would rush to be in front of the tv at 4pm everyday. In those days, Paula was the only kid who wore a wrist watch. If we were out playing, we stopped everything to run into the house and get the tv “warmed up”. RIP Mr. Frid. Yet another piece of my childhood passed into history.

  20. joanne spatharis

    May 30, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    what can I say . I miss Jonathan Frid ! I luved the whole cast but he was my favorite ! Rest in Peace Jonathan . You will be missed ! I used to hurry home from school just to catch Dark Shadows . Thank you joanne .

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