had to force myself to look at the reruns, but once I did, I realized
I wasn't bad."
-- Jonathan Frid
Collins, Bramwell Collins
in: 594 episodes
episode: # 211, April 18, 1967
episode: # 1245, April 2, 1971
John Herbert Frid; Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; December 2, 1924
The actor whose face is most associated with Dark Shadows
wasn't even part of the cast for the first 210 episodes of the show.
Jonathan Frid's tentative portrayal of reluctant vampire Barnabas
Collins helped catapult the show to enormous success.
World War II, Jonathan served in the Canadian Navy. In 1948 he graduated
from McMaster University and in 1949 was accepted at the Royal Academy
of Dramatic Arts in London. Over the next few years, he appeared
in stage and radio productions-as well as some early Canadian Broadcast
Corporation TV programs.
moved to the U.S. in 1954 and enrolled in the Yale School of Drama.
He earned a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Directing in 1957. Throughout
the 1950s and '60s, he performed in regional theater and on television
1962, he changed his stage name to Jonathan Frid.
A 1961 newspaper clipping shows Jonathan Frid in an early stage
1966, he took what was intended to be a 13-week role as Barnabas
Collins on Dark Shadows, but it lasted until 1971 and rocketed
him to worldwide fame. He became a pop culture icon as spiky-haired,
spiky-toothed reluctant vampire. His image was everywhere-on everything
from magazine covers to wristwatches.
was a frequent guest on such talk shows as The Tonight Show
and The Mike Douglas Show, and he received thousands of fan
letters each week.
starred in House of Dark Shadows, but he refused to be involved
in its sequel. Once the TV series was canceled, he hung up his cape
for good. However, he wasn't able to walk away from the horror genre
entirely. Over the next few years, he made a couple of movies, including
The Devil's Daughter, a 1972 TV movie starring Shelley Winters;
and Seizure, the surreal 1974 directorial debut of Oliver
the most part, into the 1980s he took time off, mostly dividing
his time between his New York apartment and his native Canada.
not at all ashamed of my work in Dark Shadows," he told
a reporter in the '80s. "I had to force myself to look at the
reruns, but once I did, I realized I wasn't bad. I overplayed. I
could have used a little more finesse, but I think I caught the
essence of what I wanted. The show was actually a very ambitious
project and even though it was often amateurish, we aimed high.
Sometimes we'd have two, three weeks of terribly bad shows, then
a very good one the daily routine was wearing, but it was a rewarding
returned to Broadway in a popular production of Arsenic and Old
Lace. Also in the 1980s he created and starred in several one-man
"readers' theater" shows, reading aloud classic tales
of horror, satire and humor. He performed these first at the Dark
Shadows Festivals, and later throughout the country.
with former DS costar Marie
Wallace, Jonathan made his directorial debut in 1993,
on the stage play Lion in Winter at the Georgia College Theatre
in Milledgeville, Georgia.
1994, he semi-retired and left New York to return to Canada. Several
years later, he again began performing his readers' theatre again
in the U.S, and in June 2000, he appeared in the play Mass Appeal
at the Stirling Festival Theatre in Stirling, Ontario.
several years, Jonathan attended Dark Shadows Festivals,
but he has not done so since moving to Canada.
life-long bachelor has chosen not to discuss his private life with
DAYTIME TV: As
the World Turns (Dr. Field), Look Up and Live, Dick Cavett
Show, Girl Talk, Mike Douglas Show, What's My Line, Good Morning
America (1987), Hour Magazine (1987).
Picture of Dorian Gray, Merv Griffin Show, The Tonight Show,
Dick Cavett Show.
The Devil's Daughter (Mr. Howard, 1973).
Milton Bradley's Barnabas Collins-Dark Shadows Game.
of Dark Shadows (Barnabas Collins, 1970), Seizure (Edmund
directed by Oliver Stone).
Alpha and the Omega (Dr. Jacobsen, 1986, NYC), The Royal Family
(Tony Cavendish, 1977, Penn State), Wait Until Dark (Harry
Roat Jr., 1971, Fort Worth/Houston), Murder in the Cathedral
(Thomas Becket, NYC, 1971), Dial M For Murder (Tony Wendice,
1969, Illinois), Two Gentlemen of Verona (Duke of Milan, 1966,
San Diego), The Tempest (Caliban, 1966, San Diego), Romeo
and Juliet (Lord Capulet, 1966, San Diego), The Critic (Prologue,
1965-66, Philadelphia), Poor Bitos (Julien/Danton, 1965-66,
Philadelphia), The Waters of Babylon (Butterthwaite, 1965,
NYC), Room Service (Sasha, 1965, Penn State), Richard III
(Richard III, 1965, Penn State), Skin of Our Teeth (Antrobus,
1965, Penn State), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Theseus/Oberon,
1965, NYC), The White Rose and the Red (multiple roles, 1964,
NYC), The Burning (Father Gilbert, 1963, NYC), Theatre Looks
at Love (multiple roles, 1963, Pittsburgh), The Taming of
the Shrew (Petruchio, 1963, Pittsburgh), Under the Yum Yum
Tree (Hogan, 1962), The Best Man (William Russell, 1962),
Don Carlos (Phillip II, 1962, NYC), The Storm (Kuligin, 1962,
NYC), The Moon in the Yellow River (Darrell and Blake, 1961,
NYC), Henry IV, Part I (Worcester, 1960, NYC; 1960, Boston),
Henry IV Part II (Richard Scroop, 1960, NYC), Julius Caesar
(Cassius, 1959, Fort Lee, NJ), Macbeth (Macbeth, 1959, NJ),
The Golem (Tadeus, 1959, NYC), What Every Woman Knows (Brother,
1958, NYC), Scythe and the Sunset (Dr. Myles MacCarthy, 1958,
Mass.), The Drunkard (1948, Canada).
Roar Like A Dove (Bernard, 1964), Arsenic and Old Lace (Jonathan
Frid's Fridiculousness (1989, national), Jonathan Frid's Shakespearean
Odyssey (1989-, national), Arsenic and Old Lace (Jonathan
Brewster, 1987, national; 1988, Florida), Jonathan Frid's
Fools and Fiends (1986, national), Hostile Witness (Defense
Attorney, 1966-67, national), Theatre Looks at Love (multiple
roles, 1963, school tour), Lincoln/Douglas Debates (Lincoln,
1963, school tour), Auntie Mame (O'Bannion, 1960), Much Ado
About Nothing (Friar Francis/Sexton, 1958, national A.S.F.
FESTIVAL (Stratford, CT): Much Ado About Nothing (Friar Francis/Sexton,
1957), Merchant of Venice (Salerio, 1957), Othello (Cypriot
Sargeant, 1957), King John (Chatillon, 1956).
FESTIVAL: The Late George Apley (Howard Boulder, 1955), The Rainmaker
(Bill Starbuck, 1955), The Crucible (John Proctor, 1955),
Tovarich (Concierge, 1955), Light Up the Sky (Owen Turner,
1955), Time of the Cuckoo (Signor Di Rossi, 1955).
Mother Goose (First Herald, 1952-53, Montreal), Crime of Passion
(Charles, 1952, Toronto). Also: two seasons of English repertory
in Ontario, 1948.
FESTIVAL: The Merchant of Venice (Gratiano, 1952), The Winter's
Tale (Camillo, 1952), Julius Caesar (Mark Antony, 1952).
BRITISH THEATER TOUR: The Third Visitor (James Oliver, 1950).
New Jersey, 1946; Milford, PA, 1946.