Jonathan Frid Dead: Original Barnabas Collins Dies at 87 One Month Before ‘Dark Shadows’ Movie Release

Jonathan Frid, the infamous actor who played the original Barnabas Collins in the gothic 1960's soap opera series Dark Shadows, died in Canada at age 87 last week, just one month before the release of Tim Burton's movie.

According to Digital Spy, Frid died of natural causes in Ontario, Canada at the Juravinski Hospital in Hamilton on Friday, April 13. He was 87-years-old.

Frid played the protagonist Barnabas Collins on the ABC soap opera from June 1966 to April 1971, which is considered a cult classic. He will make a cameo in the Dark Shadows film by Burton alongside Johnny Depp, and fellow original costars Lara Parker and Kathryn Leigh Scott in the upcoming film.

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, Leigh Scott wrote on her website. 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.'

Since his work on Dark Shadows, Jonathan Frid has inspired a cult fan base from his classic role, shared by those of all ages. Frid also stared in the 1973 television movie The Devil's Daughter and 1974's Seizure. He also did a stint on Broadway in 1986 with Larry Storch and Jean Stapleton for the revival of Arsenic and Old Lace.

The new film featuring Johnny Depp also stars Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller, Bella Heathcote, Chloe Moretz, and Gulliver McGrath and is directed by Burton and hits theaters May 11.

The official film synopsis from Warner Bros. Pictures reads:

In the year 1752, Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England, to start a new life in America. But even an ocean was not enough to escape the mysterious curse that has plagued their family. Two decades pass and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet -- or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy ... until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him alive.

Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972. He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once-grand estate has fallen into ruin. The dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better, each harboring their own dark secrets. Matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer) has called upon live-in psychiatrist, Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter), to help with her family troubles.

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