Rest in Peace: Jonathan Frid
We have some very sad news to pass on to our readers today as reports are coming in that the great Jonathan Frid, aka Barnabas Collins from "Dark Shadows", has passed away at the age of 87 in Ontario, Canada.
Frid, who was born December 2nd, 1924, reportedly died of natural causes at Juravinski Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, this past Friday, April 13th. In addition to his iconic portrayal of Barnabas on the soap that ran on ABC from June, 1966-April, 1971, the actor also starred in the 1973 television movie The Devil's Daughter and the 1974 horror film Seizure.
He filmed a cameo appearance - his final acting credit - in Tim Burton's forthcoming Dark Shadows film remake, which stars Johnny Depp as Barnabas.
"The death of Jonathan Frid has left all of us at MPI deeply saddened," said Malik Ali, CEO of MPI Media Group, home of the "Dark Shadows" series on DVD. "As a gifted actor in the role of Barnabas Collins, Jonathan was the heart and soul of 'Dark Shadows' and, as recently as last week, was graciously taking part in activities surrounding the series. He never tired of meeting fans and was always excited to hear about new 'Dark Shadows' releases...MPI remains committed to preserving Jonathan's legacy and that of everyone who helped make 'Dark Shadows' an enduring and beloved phenomenon."
On her website (where we found the below photo), Frid's former "Dark Shadows" co-star Kathryn Leigh Scott posted the following comments:
May Jonathan Frid, “our reluctant vampire,” live on in our hearts! How blessed I am to have known this dear man and to have such wonderful memories of him, both on screen and off. [Such] good times we shared: star-crossed lovers playing Barnabas and Josette in both “Dark Shadows” and the film, House of Dark Shadows, and good friends off the set for more than 40 years. My favorite scene in all the 1,225 episodes of “Dark Shadows” was Maggie Evans’ introduction to Barnabas Collins in April 1967, 45 years ago this month. That we hit it off, bonding as two “outsiders,” was plain to see. Later, I became the embodiment of his long-lost love and doomed fiancée, Josette DuPrés.
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.”
I am so grateful that nearly five decades later, Jonathan, David Selby, Lara Parker and I were invited to play cameos in the new Dark Shadows, directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins. How wonderful for the four of us to work together again and celebrate the legacy of “Dark Shadows.”
L-R: Lara Parker, Kathryn Leigh Scott, David Selby, Jim Pierson ("Dark Shadows" Marketing
and Festival Director), and Jonathan Frid on location for the Dark Shadows feature shoot
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.”
I took that moment to thank Johnny Depp for his very generous comments about Jonthan Frid and the iconic character of Barnabas Collins that Jonathan had created. Both Tim Burton and Johnny Depp responded: “But we wouldn’t be here without you.”
Yes, of course, it’s all a “a bit different.” We all understood that. Johnny Depp and Tim Burton would make, what we originated 45 years ago, their own — as well they should! But what a treat that those of us who were part of creating the world of “Dark Shadows” should be invited to participate in the new film and to carry on the legacy. The three days we worked together at Pinewood on Dark Shadows were the last days we were all together. I’m so grateful for the hugs and farewells we shared as we all departed on our separate journeys home. I’m so grateful that those wonderful times we shared are chronicled in Dark Shadows: Return to Collinwood, because all four of us contributed to the book. My last communication with Jonathan was his Foreword to the book. How many friendships — let alone working relationships! — endure the travails of five decades?
I love you, Jonathan. Rest in peace.
There's nothing we can add to that other than sending our sincere condolences to Jonathan's friends and family. Thanks for the wonderful memories, kind sir; you were indeed one of a kind!
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