John Herbert Frid (December 2, 1924 – April 14, 2012) was a theater, television, and film actor, best known for playing the role of vampire Barnabas Collins on the gothic television soap opera “Dark Shadows.”
May Jonathan Frid, â€œour reluctant vampire,â€ 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. These photographs chronicle the 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 â€œoutsiders,â€ was plain to see. Later, I became the embodiment of his long-lost love and doomed fiancÃ©, Josette DuPrÃ©s.
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 â€œran home from school to watchâ€ “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.” 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. â€œI see you’ve done the hair,â€ Jonathan said to Johnny Depp, â€œbut a few more spikes.â€ Depp, entirely in character, replied, â€œYes, we’re doing things a bit differently.â€
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: â€œBut we wouldn’t be here without you.â€
Yes, of course, it’s all a â€œa bit different.â€ 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.