Saturday, April 21, 2012

Jonathan Frid, RIP

I just learned that Dark Shadows actor Jonathan Frid has died at age 87. The Chicago Tribune reports:

"Jonathan Frid, star of the original 'Dark Shadows,' died of natural causes in Canada last Friday (April 13) at the Juravinski Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario.

"Frid was best known for playing Barnabas Collins on gothic soap opera 'Dark Shadows,' which aired on ABC from June 1966 to April 1971. The character of Barnabas appeared a year into its run on TV and catapulted the show's popularity.

"Frid did not do much acting other than in 'Dark Shadows' and did not have an acting credit since the 1974 film 'Seizure' until he filmed a cameo for the 2012 release 'Dark Shadows,' which features Johnny Depp as Barnabas."

Well, that's not true. Jonathan was a seasoned stage actor long before being cast as Barnabas in Dark Shadows. He went on to do much stage work after Dark Shadows, notably his one-man-shows.

I interviewed Jonathan in 1986. He was gracious and kind, even buying me lunch and inviting me into his home. At that time he lived in an apartment in New York City.

I returned a week later to see Jonathan's one-man-show, which he performed in his apartment for select fans. He normally changed his show's contents every few months, pre-testing new material before his fans.

Much of Jonathan's show consisted of him reading short-shorts, so I lent him a copy of Fredric Brown's Nightmares and Geezenstacks, which is filled with excellent short-shorts. Jonathan liked some of Brown's tales, and would have liked to incorporate them into his show. But due to copyright considerations, he couldn't do so without permission.

I was honored to have met and interviewed Jonathan Frid, and will continue to admire the body of work he left behind.

No comments: