Jonathan Frid, 87, the man known to fans around the world as Barnabas Collins, the suave vampire from the cult hit soap opera Dark Shadows, has died.
The Hamilton Spectator, of Hamilton, Ontario, reports the Canadian actor died of natural causes in his hometown of Hamilton at the Juravinski Hospital last Friday.
Mr. Frid's final screen role was a cameo in Dark Shadows, the soap opera's big-screen revamp directed by Tim Burton, starring Johnny Depp as Barnabas, and due out next month.
Kathryn Leigh Scott, who costarred with Mr. Frid on the original Dark Shadows and recently reunited with him to film her own cameo, paid loving tribute to the actor on her website.
"I am so grateful to have worked with Jonathan, and to have known him as the charismatic, entertaining, complex and plainspoken man that he was," she wrote.
"What fun we had working together! He was irascible, irreverent, funny, caring, lovable and thoroughly professional."
Scott recalled the moment when Mr. Frid and Depp first met on the Dark Shadows set: "I won't ever forget the moment when the two Barnabas Collinses met, one in his late 80s and the other in his mid-40s, each with their wolf's head canes. Jonathan took his time scrutinizing his successor's appearance. 'I see you've done the hair,' Jonathan said to Johnny Depp, 'but a few more spikes.' Depp, entirely in character, replied, 'Yes, we're doing things a bit differently.' "
Mr. Frid also starred in director Oliver Stone's feature-directing debut, the horror movie Seizure, in 1974.
Dark Shadows ran on ABC from 1966 to 1971. Originally conceived as a straightforward gothic soap opera by creator Dan Curtis, it languished in the ratings until Curtis began adding supernatural elements, first a ghost, then Barnabas Collins.
Mr. Frid joined the show in 1967 and it began to take off as a cult hit, especially with children, who rushed home from school to watch.
Outside of the Barnabas role, Mr. Frid had an extensive stage career, including a Broadway and national tour of Arsenic and Old Lace in the mid-1980s.