Jonathan Frid – DARK SHADOWS Star Dead at 87
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