TORONTO – Jonathan Frid, a Canadian actor best known for playing Barnabas Collins in the 1960s original vampire soap opera “Dark Shadows,” has died. He was 87.
Mr. Frid died Friday of natural causes in a hospital in his hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, said Jim Pierson, a friend and spokesman for Dan Curtis Productions, the creator of “Dark Shadows.”
Frid starred in the 1960s gothic soap opera about odd, supernatural goings-on at a family estate in Maine.
His death comes just weeks before a Tim Burton-directed version of “Dark Shadows” is due out next month starring Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins. Mr. Frid has a cameo role in the new movie in which he meets Depp’s character in a party scene with two other original actors from the show.
Pierson said Burton and Depp were fans of Mr. Frid, who played a vulnerable vampire in one of the first sympathetic portrayal of the immortal creatures.
“Twenty million people saw the show at its peak in 1969. Kids ran home from school and housewives watched it. It had a huge pop culture impact,” Pierson said.
Pierson said Mr. Frid, whose character was added in 1967, saved the show and stayed on until the end of its run in 1971. He said Mr. Frid was never into the fame and fortune and just wanted to be a working actor. He said he loved the drama and finding the flaws and the humanity in his characters.