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 9. The film version premise and look and feel already has Dark Shadows and Frid and Barnabas purists up in arms!