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Jonathan Frid Dead at 87

April 19, 2012 by Marc Berman in Highlights with 6 Comments
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Jonathan Frid, who played Barnabas Collins on 1966-71 daytime soap opera Dark Shadows has passed away. He was 87 and died of natural causes at Juravinski Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario on Friday, April 13.

Born on December 2, 1924 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Frid attended London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and earned a Master’s Degree in Directing from the Yale School of Drama. He honed his craft on and off Broadway in productions like Much Ado About Nothing, Murder in the Cathedral and Wait Until Dark and spent 30 years in live theater, but it was his portrayal of the complex and conflicted vampire on Dark Shadows that earned him a place in iconic TV culture.

“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,” said his Dark Shadows co-star Kathryn Leigh Scott. “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.”

Frid, Scott, and fellow Dark Shadows co-stars Lara Parker and David Selby have cameos in Johnny Depp’s upcoming comical remake, which arrives in theaters on May 4.

Written by Marc Berman

Marc Berman

Marc Berman is the Editor in Chief for TV Media Insights, the online destination for television and media. Berman has appeared on camera for “Extra,” “Entertainment Tonight,” “Access Hollywood,” “The CBS Evening News,” CNN, and more; and was the author of 2014 desk calendar, “This Day in TV History.”

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  • AlaskaJim

    I am so sad to hear that Jonathan Frid has passed away, as few weeks ago I was checking out his web-site and was so happy to see he was doing well at age 87. I would race home from elementary school to watch Dark Shadows for a few years, as I was 9 years old when it was cancelled in April 1971. Some of the episodes scarred the life out of me but I always came back for more. Now I am watching the episodes on DVD, as it is great that all 1225 epiosdes are available.

  • Troy Turner

    While the original run was a bit before my time, I’ve come to learn how beloved this series was, a bit before its time perhaps? Best wishes, and good memories to all…

  • krogers

    I loved Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins and I loved Dark Shadows. It was my first soap. I would run home from school to watch it. I remember when my dog had puppies I named them all after Dark Shadows characters

    • okicarol

      I glad I wasn’t the only one that rushed home from school to watch Dark Shadows. I loved watching that Soap. One of my friends mother named her baby boy Barnabas — I thought that was really ‘neat’— I just wonder how her now grown son feels about being named after a Soap character LOL — R I P Johanthan Frid

  • lillysmoonfire

    I so loved this man. My first Vampire Luv! Dark Shadows was the beginning of the daytime soaps for me. Scared the you-know-what outta me, but couldnt take my eyes off the television screen. Waiting for Barnabas to make his entrance into the room.. you will be missed my dear old friend. Thank you for your talents. Thank you for your passion to the arts. thank you for making part of my child hood a dream! God Bless you and yours.

  • susanmz

    Jonathan Frid and Dick Clark…days apart. The end of an era. RIP to you both.

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