Keith starred in the ground-breaking play and film Boys in the Band.
Dark Shadows Characters:
Morgan Collins, James Forsythe
Appeared in: 40 episodes
First episode: # 1186, January 11, 1971
Last episode: # 1245, April 2, 197
Born: February 21, 1940
Died: September 27, 1992; cancer and AIDS complications
As the dour characters of Morgan Collins and James Forsythe, Keith Prentice didn't have any opportunities to burst into song on Dark Shadows. But before he went to Collinsport, the handsome actor built an impressive resume of musical roles.
In 1958, at age 18, Keith left his home state of Ohio for New York City to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. After six months there, he was signed to understudy the juvenile lead in the long-running Broadway hit The Sound of Music, featuring Mary Martin. After skipping through the Alps for a year and a half in that Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, Prentice left to understudy the lead in Noel Coward's Sail Away. He played the role several times opposite Elaine Stritch.
His other stage musical credits included the part of Julio in Lerner and Loew's Paint Your Wagon, and The King and I, with Farley Granger and Barbara Cook in Washington, D.C., as well as Henry Spoffard in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Chick Miller in Wish You Were Here, Neil in Fiorello! Hank in Wildcat, and Nestor in Irma La Douce.
In 1968 he appeared off-Broadway in the non-musical The Boys in The Band, a controversial play featuring gay characters at a dramatic birthday party. Today, with gay-themed TV shows and movies like Will & Grace and Trick finding mainstream success,it may be difficult to imagine how ground-breaking Prentice's play was.
After completing the movie version of Boys in the Band in 1970, he joined the cast of Dark Shadows. Keith, who was gay, became a friend and frequent house guest of Louis Edmonds and his lover Bryce. "Keith always brightened his corner here," Louis once told me, at his Long Island home. "He gave me a lovely smoking jacket that I kept wearing until it was in tatters."
Keith's other films included the TV movie The Legend of Nigger Charley (1972) and Cruising (1980).
In 1983, Keith Prentice founded the Theatre Under the Stars in his hometown of Kettering, Ohio. He directed productions there for the next decade. He died in Kettering, of cancer and AIDS-related complications, on September 27, 1992.