Jonathan Frid - DARK SHADOWS Star Dead at 87 - We Are Movie Geeks

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Jonathan Frid – DARK SHADOWS Star Dead at 87

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He made appearancs at fan conventions but after Dark Shadows went off the air in 1971, Jonathan Frid said goodbye to the cameras. He did star in Oliver Stone’s directorial debut SEIZURE in 1974 as a writer haunted by his demons (manifested by Martine Beswick and Herve Villachaize!) but reportedly Frid’s experience with SEIZURE was so unpleasant, he spent the rest of his career on the stage in Canada, his home. Jonathan Frid was of course the original Barnabas Collins on the ABC-TV soap Dark Shadows. He has a cameo appearance in the upcoming Johnny Depp/Tim Burton DARK SHADOWS feature film which opens in just over three weeks and I’m sure his legion of fans is looking forward to seeing him on the big screen.  He posted at his website that he was hoping to attend the movie’s premiere and I’m sure he’ll be honored there. I just interviewed Kathryn Leigh Scott, his Dark Shadows TV costar last week and asked her how Frid was doing. Here’s an except about Frid from the interview (to be posted here Monday night):

WAMG: Jonathon Frid is 88. How is he doing?

KLS: He’s doing just fine for an 88 year old. He’s showing his age though.

WAMG: I’ve always wondered this about Frid. When he left DARK SHADOWS in 1971, it seems like he could have become a big horror star along the lines of Vincent Price and I’m sure he was offered horror roles. But he chose to move to Canada and not make films (with the exception of Oliver Stone’s 1975 shocker SEIZURE). Do you know why?

KLS: He just wasn’t interested. First of all, I don’t think he liked the genre at all. He came on DARK SHADOWS to do a Gothic drama and it became what it became but I think he really created something that was remarkable, but I don’t think the horror genre was something he cared about. He didn’t even want to do the second DARK SHADOWS movie (NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS) in 1972. He though the first one was too violent and he fought against that the whole time, he made no bones about that with Dan Curtis. He was very disappointed with HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS which was quite a successful film. It saved MGM the year it came out, it was a huge success.

Jonathan Frid died on Friday the April 13th and his family just released the news last night. R.I.P. (finally) Barnabas



  1. Andrew Bayuk

    April 19, 2012 at 7:25 am

    I’ve been a huge fan of Jonathan’s Frid’s Barnabas since I was a child. I even wrote a song looking to capture the deep and complex character of Barnabas. You can hear that here:

    • Mark Margavage

      April 19, 2012 at 8:42 am

      I’m very saddened in the passing of Jonathan Frid, an extremely talented individual, not only in his famous Barnabas Collins roll, but also in his Shakespearian performances, and well told stories. An icon he was, indeed!

  2. Paul Sweeney

    April 19, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Truly THEE most Recognized & RELUCTANT Vampire for the ages…!!

  3. Linda Brandriff

    April 19, 2012 at 10:55 am

    He was the best.There will be no other Barnabas Collins. He will be sadly missed

  4. Mark Isenberg

    April 19, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Death comes to all so if Jonathan had no say about leaving on Friday the 13th then perhaps God was a fan of Barnabas Collins,too. Jonathan successfully would not let the vampire role shoebox his interest in great writers as his one man show on Poe or Shakespeare excerpts proved over the four decades since he left New York when Dark Shadows ended. Take a stroll in his site blogs and you will see even more of his sensitive appreciation for literature and even recently a return to his childhood home. I have a Barnabas bobblehead figurine from a previous DS summer fans festival but I am most proud of having seen him rehearse his Poe show in NYC decades ago. We were all lucky to be entertained by him.

  5. Darren Mitton

    April 20, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s incompetence must have killed him.

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