Friday, April 20, 2012
Actor Jonathan Frid, best known as the man who brought vivid life to one of the most iconic undead characters in TV history, vampire Barnabas Collins in the soap opera "Dark Shadows," died on Friday at the age of 87.
He died of natural causes after a fall at his home in Ancaster, Ontario, though his family chose not to release the news until now.
Frid was a classically trained stage actor, who began his stage career after a tour with the Royal Canadian Navy during World War II. He studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London before going to receive a Master of Fine Arts degree in directing from Yale in 1957.
His talents were a strange match for "Shadows," but Frid's training brought an unexpected subtly to his performance, capturing the imaginations of viewers, including Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, both of whom were rabid fans of "Shadows" when they were young and labored for years to turn the soap into a feature film.
Playing a 200-year-old vampire who is unearthed in the late-1960s, Frid's Barnabas was not a villain but a complex and often sympathetic antihero, who through the soap's 1966-71 run continued to mourn the loss of his true love while trying to crave his bloodlust and protect his descendents from the evil witches and monsters that plagued their beloved family mansion, Collinwood.
The big-screen version of "Shadows" is set to open on May 11 and is easily one of the most anticipated films of the summer. Frid shot a cameo for the film, marking his first film role since 1974's "Seizure" (Olive Stone's feature-directing debut). While on set in London, he got to spend time with Depp, who plays Barnabas, and as Frid's "Shadows" co-star Kathryn Leigh Scott told The Wrap, both Depp and Burton were effusive with their praise for the actor and his most famous character.
"Both Johnny Depp and Tim Burton looked at Jonathan and said, 'We wouldn't be here without you,' " Scott said.
After being based in New York City for more than 40 years and working to great acclaim both on and off Broadway, Frid retired to Canada in 1994, though he continued to act, performing one-man shows for charities in both Canada and the U.S., and appearing at "Dark Shadows" conventions, which have only grown in popularity over the years. He reportedly always felt a close connection to "Shadows" fans and maintained a website so they could follow what he was up to.
Frid's cameo in Burton's "Shadows" will be his last onscreen performance.
The sad news is that when I Googled "Barnabas Collins" 90% of the pictures that came up had Johnny Depp's face on them. The sadder news is that Jonathan Frid, who was the original Barnabas Collins on Dark Shadows from 1967-1971, passed away in Canada at the age of 87. USA Today says that Jonathan died from natural causes on Friday the 13th. After reading that he died on Friday the 13th, I expected a flash of lightning followed by a shadow on the wall in front of me of Jonathan rising from the dead. It didn't happen.
Jonathan joined Dark Shadows during the second season and Barnabas was only supposed to stay around for a handful of episodes, but he became a regular after audiences ate him up. After Dark Shadows ended, Jonathan did a few movies, television shows and plays before retiring in Canada.
Before you say, "Well, on a positive note, at least he won't be here to hiss at the mangled carcass of Dark Shadows butchered by Tim Burton", Jonathan shot a cameo for the movie last year. Let's hope that mess doesn't even make it to the dollar theaters in heaven.
from THE NY DAILY NEWS
Jonathan Frid, who played vampire Barnabas Collins on “Dark Shadows” decades before half the actors on TV grew fangs, died April 14 at a hospital in his native Hamilton, Ontario.
Frid was 87 and reportedly died peacefully of natural causes.
Like any good vampire, however, Frid won’t be gone for long. He makes a cameo appearance in the new Tim Burton film of “Dark Shadows,” which stars Johnny Depp and premieres May 11.
“It’s a sad day,” Burton said of Frid’s death. “I’m glad I had the opportunity to meet Jonathan on the set this past Spring. He left an indelible impression. Barnabas lives on!”
“Dark Shadows,” a campy Gothic daytime soap opera, launched in 1966 with few expectations and became a cult fave, peaking at close to 20 million viewers during its five-year run.
While the cast was designed as an ensemble, Frid became a breakout star. He didn’t appear until the show was several months into its run, at which point his character was accidentally released and took up residence with the Collins family at their home on Widows’ Hill.
Barnabas, who wasn’t a bad sort as vampires go, had an agenda he often had some trouble carrying out. That was true for everyone on the show, though, as everyday soap opera dramas about love and betrayal were compounded by the presence of werewolves, witches, warlocks and an alternate universe.
The show was also notorious for its clumsy production values, which the producers were smart enough to incorporate as it rolled along. Sets would sag, lighting fixtures would show, a stagehand would walk into a shot.
Fans loved it. Almost a half century later, “Dark Shadows” consistently makes almost every list of top cult TV shows.
Frid himself, a classically trained actor with a master's in directing from Yale Drama School, was for many years less of a fan.
His costar Kathryn Leigh Scott, who played Maggie Evans and Josette DuPres, called him “our reluctant vampire.”
“I tried to fight Barnabas,” Frid said in an interview several years ago. “I couldn't understand why so many people watched the show. But they did, so I couldn't leave.”
After “Dark Shadows” ended he returned to his roots in classical stage work. He performed Shakespeare extensively, starred in “Arsenic and Old Lace,” and created three well-received one-man shows.
He was close to 80 before he gave in to the pleas of "Dark Shadows" fans and seemed to fully embrace Barnabas. When he started attending “Dark Shadows” conventions, he was hailed as the prodigal vampire.
He reprised Barnabas in 2010 for a “Dark Shadows” audio drama, “The Night Whispers,” and agreed to the Depp/Tim Burton film, in which he plays an older Barnabas who comes upon the younger Barnabas.
Age doesn't matter all that much to vampires, but there is an exchange about the cut of his hair.
Frid moved to the U.S. in 1954 to pursue his acting career and he was based in New York for the next 40 years. He almost moved to Los Angeles just before “Dark Shadows” took off, he said, but since the show was filmed in New York, he never left.
He returned to Canada after he mostly retired from the stage in 1994.
He admitted in an interview several years ago that while "Dark Shadows" may not have been his most epic role, he did find a few Shakespearian elements in the vampire.
Equally important, Barnabas also enabled him to land more of the classical roles he loved because it made his name a valuable marquee commodity.
“How blessed I am to have known this dear man and to have such wonderful memories of him, both on screen and off,” Scott wrote on her website. “He was irascible, irreverent, funny, caring, lovable and thoroughly professional, and in the end became the whole reason why kids ran home from school to watch “Dark Shadows’.”
By MARGALIT FOX | The New York Times
Jonathan Frid, a Shakespearean actor who found unexpected — and by his own account unwanted — celebrity as the vampire Barnabas Collins on the sanguinary soap opera “Dark Shadows,” died last Friday, April 13, in Hamilton, Ontario. He was 87.
He died from complications of a fall, said Kathryn Leigh Scott, who played several characters on the show. Mr. Frid, who lived in Ancaster, Ontario, leaves no immediate survivors.
Mr. Frid, along with several castmates, makes a cameo appearance in Tim Burton’s feature film “Dark Shadows,” to be released on May 11. Johnny Depp stars as Barnabas.
Though the befanged Mr. Frid was the acknowledged public face of “Dark Shadows” — his likeness was on comic books, board games, trading cards and many other artifacts — Barnabas did not make his first appearance until more than 200 episodes into the run. The character was conceived as a short-term addition to the cast, and early on the threat of the stake loomed large.
Broadcast on weekday afternoons on ABC, “Dark Shadows” began in 1966 as a conventional soap opera (with Gothic overtones), centering on the Collins family and their creaky manse in Maine.
The next year, with ratings slipping, the show’s executive producer, Dan Curtis, chose to inject an element of the supernatural. Enter Barnabas, a brooding, lovelorn, eternally 175-year-old representative of the undead. Today TV vampires are legion, but such a character was an unusual contrivance then.
The ratings shot up, and not only among the traditional soap-opera demographic of stay-at-home women. With its breathtakingly low-rent production values and equally breathtakingly purple dialogue, “Dark Shadows” induced a generation of high school and college students to cut class to revel in its unintended high camp. The producers shelved the stake.
Swirling cape, haunted eyes and fierce eyebrows notwithstanding, Barnabas, as portrayed by Mr. Frid, was no regulation-issue vampire. An 18th-century man — he had been entombed in the Collins family crypt — he struggled to comes to terms with the 20th-century world.
He was a vulnerable vampire, who pined for his lost love, Josette. (She had leaped to her death in 1795.) He was racked with guilt over his thirst for blood, and Mr. Frid played him as a man in the grip of a compulsion he devoutly wished to shake.
Mr. Frid starred in almost 600 episodes, from April 18, 1967, to April 2, 1971, when the show went off the air. (It remains perennially undead on DVD.)
Mr. Frid received nearly 6,000 fan letters a week. “I wish you’d bite ME on the neck,” read one, from a woman in Illinois.
Others contained snapshots of the letter-writers’ necks — and everything on down — laid bare.
All this, Mr. Frid said in 1968, was exquisitely ironic in that “the other vampires we’ve had on the show were much more voluptuous biters than I am.”
It was also an exquisitely unimagined career path for a stage actor trained at the Yale School of Drama and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Mr. Frid, as he made plain in interviews, was as conflicted about his calling as Barnabas was about his own.
The son of a prosperous construction executive, John Herbert Frid was born in Hamilton on Dec. 2, 1924; he changed his given name to Jonathan early in his stage career.
After service in the Royal Canadian Navy in World War II, Mr. Frid received a bachelor’s degree from McMaster University in Hamilton; he later moved to London, where he studied at the Royal Academy and appeared in repertory theater. In 1957, he earned a master’s degree in directing from Yale.
Mr. Frid spent his early career acting in North American regional theater, appearing at the Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts and the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Conn. On Broadway, he played Richard Scroop, Archbishop of York, in “Henry IV, Part 2” in 1960.
Long after “Dark Shadows” ended, Barnabas remained an albatross. Mr. Frid reprised the role in the 1970 feature film “House of Dark Shadows”; the few other screen roles that came his way also tended toward the ghoulish. He starred opposite Shelley Winters in the 1973 TV movie “The Devil’s Daughter,” about Satanism; the next year he played a horror writer in “Seizure,” Oliver Stone’s first feature.
Returning to the stage, Mr. Frid played Jonathan Brewster — a role originated by Boris Karloff — in a 1986 Broadway revival of the macabre comedy “Arsenic and Old Lace.”
As critical as he was of “Dark Shadows,” Mr. Frid was equally critical of his performance in it.
“I’d get this long-lost look on my face,” he told The Hamilton Spectator in 2000. “ ‘Where is my love? Where is my love?,’ it seemed to say. Actually, it was me thinking: ‘Where the hell is the teleprompter? And what’s my next line?’ ”
Daniel E. Slotnik contributed reporting.
Pop Culture's 1st Vampire Dies
Jonathan Frid, 87 | actor
Portrayed BARNABAS COLLINS
Dark Shadows 1966 – 1971
from THE HUFFINGTON POST
TORONTO — Jonathan Frid, a Canadian actor best known for playing Barnabas Collins in the 1960s original vampire soap opera "Dark Shadows", has died. He was 87.
Frid died Friday of natural causes in a hospital in his home town of Hamilton, Ontario, said Jim Pierson, a friend and spokesman for Dan Curtis Productions, the creator of "Dark Shadows."
Frid starred in the 1960s gothic-flavored soap opera about odd, supernatural goings-on at a family estate in Maine.
His death comes just weeks before a Tim Burton-directed version of Dark Shadows is due out next month starring Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins. Frid has a cameo role in the new movie in which he meets Depp's character in a party scene with two other original actors from the show.
Pierson said Burton and Depp were fans of Frid, who played a vulnerable vampire in one of the first sympathetic portrayal of the immortal creatures.
"Twenty million people saw the show at its peak in 1969. Kids ran home from school and housewives watched it. It had a huge pop culture impact," Pierson said.
Pierson said Frid, whose character was added in 1967, saved the show and stayed on until the end of its run in 1971. He said Frid was never into the fame and fortune and just wanted to be a working actor. He said he loved the drama and finding the flaws and the humanity in his characters.
"That's why he had this vampire that was very multidimensional. It really set the trend for all these other things that have been done with vampires over the last 40, 50 years," Pierson said. "Vampires were not in the vernacular. In 1967, there wasn't a pop culture of vampire stuff, so here he was in this mainstream network show that aired at 4 P.M. that really took off. And then he did the movie which was also a big hit."
Frid had been an accomplished stage actor before "Dark Shadows" made him famous. The show has lived on in reruns.
Stuart Manning, editor of the online "Dark Shadows News Page", said Frid brought a new dimension to the role of the vampire by injecting the role with depth and a sense of regret for his immortal existence.
"Now that idea has been taken many times since – `Twilight' uses it, shows like `True Blood,' `Buffy' – which again I think shows the influence `Dark Shadows' has had," said Manning, who worked with Frid as a writer on the 2010 "Dark Shadows" audio drama spinoff, "The Night Whispers."
The youngest of three sons, Frid served in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. After graduating from Hamilton's McMaster University, he got a degree in directing at the Yale School of Drama and studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.
Frid starred in various theater productions with illustrious actors including Katharine Hepburn. But it was his turn in "Dark Shadows" and its first feature film adaptation, "House of Dark Shadows," that made him a commercial success and kept him busy throughout his career with reunions, fan events and dramatic readings.
He lived in New York for several decades before moving back to Canada in the `90s. His other credits include the 1973 TV movie "The Devil's Daughter," co-starring Shelley Winters, and Oliver Stone's directorial debut, "Seizure." He also starred in the Broadway revival and national tour of "Arsenic and Old Lace" in the `80s.
Pierson said Frid been in declining health in recent months. At Frid's request, there was no funeral and there will be no memorial.
"He really was kind of a no-fuss guy," Pierson said.
Frid never married. He is survived by a nephew, Donald Frid.
Obituary | Jonathan Frid
Portrayed Pop Culture's 1st Vampire
Barnabas Collins | Dark Shadows
1966 – 1971
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Dark Shadows | ABC Television (1966 – 1971)
"My name is Victoria Winters"
Recap up to the arrival of Barnabas...
Over forty years ago today...
Jonathan Frid, 87, Barnabas Collins
Pop Culture's 1st Vampire
Died on Friday, April 13, 2012 @ 87
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Posted by B.man at 4/18/2012 11:33:00 PM
Dick Clark was born in Bronxville, New York and was raised in nearby Mount Vernon, the son of Julia Fuller (née Barnard) Clark and Richard Augustus Clark. His only sibling, older brother Bradley, was killed in World War II. His career in show business began in 1945 when he started working in the mailroom of WRUN, a radio station owned by his uncle and managed by his father in Utica, New York. Clark was soon promoted to weatherman and news announcer.
Clark attended A.B. Davis High School (now A.B. Davis Middle School) in Mount Vernon and Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, and was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (Phi Gamma); he graduated in 1951 with a degree in business.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Monday, April 16, 2012
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Quotes from the Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci:These quotes are primarily from the English translation by Jean Paul Richter of 1888 (not all of them can be confirmed).
My works are the issue of pure and simple experience, who is the one true mistress.
Here forms, here colours, here the character of every part of the universe are concentrated to a point; and that point is so marvellous a thing ... Oh! marvellous, O stupendous Necessity— by thy laws thou dost compel every effect to be the direct result of its cause, by the shortest path. These are miracles...
The eye — which sees all objects reversed — retains the images for some time.
Let no man who is not a Mathematician read the elements of my work.
As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death.
Life well spent is long.
Poor is the pupil that does not surpass his master.
Shun those studies in which the work that results dies with the worker.
Whoever in discussion adduces authority uses not intellect but rather memory.
Variant: Any one who in discussion relies upon authority uses, not his understanding, but rather his memory.
Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.
It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.
Necessity is the mistress and guardian of Nature.
Human subtlety...will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature, because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.
Mechanics is the paradise of the mathematical sciences because by means of it one comes to the fruits of mathematics.
I am not to blame for putting forward, in the course of my work on science, any general rule derived from a previous conclusion.
The Book of the science of Mechanics must precede the Book of useful inventions.
Seeing that I can find no subject specially useful or pleasing— since the men who have come before me have taken for their own every useful or necessary theme— I must do like one who, being poor, comes last to the fair, and can find no other way of providing himself than by taking all the things already seen by other buyers, and not taken but refused by reason of their lesser value. I, then, will load my humble pack with this despised and rejected merchandise, the refuse of so many buyers; and will go about to distribute it, not indeed in great cities, but in the poorer towns, taking such a price as the wares I offer may be worth.
I know that many will call this useless work.