LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Jonathan Frid, the actor who immortalized the campy vampire in the ’60s era daytime classic “Dark Shadows,” has died.
Frid was 87.
He died from complications of a fall, according to former cast member Kathryn Leigh Scott, who played Maggie Evans and several other characters on the gothic soap.
“Dark Shadows” was a national craze for much of its run on ABC daytime from 1966-1971.The show was a slow ratings starter — centered around the bored and rich Collins family.
About six months into the run, producer Dan Curtis decided to add supernatural elements to the program — vampires, ghosts, witches, people coming back from the dead, going back in time, people playing dual characters and a parallel universe.
Frid was Barnabas Collins, a brooding, reluctant and sometimes conflicted vampire who found love elusive.When he joined the cast in early 1967, the ratings shot through the roof.
A generation of today’s adults can recall running home from school to watch the program. It spawned two theatrical movies, board games, a lunch box, trading cards and comic book craze. A short-lived prime time version — with actor Ben Cross as Barnabas – aired in 1991. Another pilot, in 2004, was shot but never aired.
Frid died on Friday the 13th. He makes a cameo in the upcoming Johnny Depp version of “Dark Shadows” due out May 11.
For many years, Frid ran from his celebrity and refused to attend fan events. He came to embrace his legacy in later years selling postcards, greeting cards and autographs on his site, jonathanfrid.com.