Once in a blue moon, a television show comes along that captivates the minds and imaginations of people across the nation. In the late 60s, that show was Dark Shadows. Every day, young people would eagerly rush home from school just to find out what the latest was at Collinwood – the home where the series primary characters resided.
Dark shadows aired weekdays on the ABC television network from June 27, 1966, to April 2, 1971. The series chronicled the lives, romances, trials, and tribulations of the wealthy and absolutely psychotic Collins family who lived in Collinsport, Maine where a number of spooky, supernatural occurrences took place.
The show became especially popular after the vampire character Barnabas Collins was introduced ten months into its run. The series also featured all sorts of ghosts, ghouls, witches, werewolves, and zombies while exploring subjects like time travel and parallel universes.
What at one point was a popular Gothic soap opera has now transformed into a cult classic that is still loved by millions of fans today. To honor Dark Shadows’ 55th anniversary this year, let’s take a moment to pay our respects to the show’s actors that are sadly no longer with us. But just so this video isn’t completely morbid, we’ll also see what some of the surviving cast members are up to these days. So let’s go ahead and get started, shall we?
Throughout her career, Bennet appeared in more than 70 films spanning from the silent movie era well into the age of talkies and television. She is perhaps best remembered for her film noir femme fatale roles in Fritz Lang’s films like Man Hunt, The Woman in the Window, and Scarlet Street.
On Dark Shadows, Bennett played the matriarch of the Collin’s family, Elizabeth Collins Stoddard as well as her ancestors Naomi, Judith, and Flora Collins. For her portrayal of those characters, she earned an Emmy nomination in 1968.
In December 1951, Bennett’s manager, producer Walter Wanger who had been her husband for 11 years at that point, shot her agent in a jealous rage. The resulting scandal all but ended Joan’s film career.
Bennett died of heart failure on December 7, 1990, at the age of 80 at her home in Scarsdale, New York. She was laid to rest in Pleasant View Cemetery in Lyme, Connecticut.
Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on September 24, 1923, Edmonds was best known for his roles in Dark Shadows and All My Children.
In 1960, Edmonds appeared in the musical Ernest In Love thus kicking off his career as an actor. From 1966 to 1971 he played the cowardly, corrupt character, Roger Collins, on Dark Shadows. In addition to playing Roger, Edmonds also played Joshua Collins, the father of Barnabas, Edwards Collins the older brother of Quentin, Daniel Collins, a cousin of Barnabas, and Amadeus Collins, a lawyer who was the main prosecutor in Judah Zachary’s trial in 1682.
After Dark Shadows wrapped up, Edmonds went on to play Langely Wallingford and Lenny Wiasuk on All My Children. For those roles, Edmonds received Daytime Emmy nods in 1984, 1985, and 1986.
He retired from doing that show after his health began to deteriorate, and on March 3, 2001, Edmonds died of respiratory failure in Port Jefferson, New York.
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And don’t go anywhere just yet. Stick around to see if the actor who played Barnabas Collins, Jonathan Frid, is still alive.
Crothers was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on January 28, 1941. He was an actor who was primarily known for appearing in soap operas. His most prolific role was that of Miles Cavanaugh on The Edge of Night whom he portrayed for eight years.
On Dark Shadows, he played Joe Haskell and Lt. Nathan Forbes. On The CBS Soap The Secret Storm, He played Ken Stevens, and on Somerset, he played the pianist/newspaper editor Julian Cannell.
Although he was openly gay when in the company of his co-stars, Crothers remained in the closet publicly and was engaged to actress Valeka Gray at the time of his death. The two became close friends while on the set of Somerset during the series final season.
During his last appearences on the soap Santa Barbara, Crothers was already growing quite ill. On November 6, 1985, he died from Lymphoma which he developed as a complication of having AIDS. He was 44 years old when he passed away in Los Angeles and his ashes were scattered in Lake George, New York.
Kathryn Leigh Scott
Scott was born Marlene Kathryn Kringstad in Robbinsdale, Minnesota on January 26, 1943. While working as a Playboy Bunny in the original New York Playboy Club, Scott studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. After graduating, she landed the ingenue lead in Dark Shadows. Scott ended up playing four distinct roles in that series: Maggie Evans, Lady Kitty Hampshire, Rachel Drummond, and Josette du Pres.
Aside from her work on Dark Shadows, Scott is also known for her contributions to 1970s Dark Shadows TV film spin-off House of Dark Shadows, 2017s Three Christs, and 1983s Phillip Marlowe, Private Eye. As an actress, she was highly influenced by her mentor Joan Bennett.
Most recently she played Marnie Eisenhower in the 2020 drama film The 11th Green.
Best known for her role as the original Victoria Winters from 1966 to 1968 on Dark Shadows, Alexandra Isles later retired from acting and began working at the Museum of Television and Radio where she was a curator specializing in arts, drama, and children’s programming. In 1991, after receiving a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Isles launched her career as a producer and director. Some of her most celebrated works included the award-winning documentaries The Power of Conscience: The Danish Resistance and Rescue of the Jews, both of which debuted in 1995, as well as 1999s Scandalize My Name: Stories From The Blacklist, and 2011s Hidden Treasures: Stories from a Great Museum.
Isles films have been featured at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and various other film festivals including the Human Rights Watch and the Margaret Mead Film Festival. Currently, she works at the Metropolitan Museum as a Volunteer Educator.
Ryan is an American film, television, and stage actor who has been fortunate enough to have worked in show business for more than six decades. He is best known for playing Burke Devlin in Dark Shadows and later on, he played Thomas Gibson’s father Edward Montgomery on Dharma & Greg. You might also remember him as the villain General Peter McAllister in the 1987 action film Lethal Weapon.
Ryan was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was raised in Louisville, Kentucky. After serving in the United States Navy during the Korean War, Ryan went to Barter Theater in Abingdon, Virginia where he made his acting debut in Thunder Road alongside the theatre’s founder Robert Porterfield.
While Ryan was an original cast member on Dark Shadows, he was fired from the show in June 1967 due to his alcoholism and was subsequently replaced by actor Anthony George. He later went on to appear in shows like Barnaby Jones, The Chisholms, and Executive Suite. Some of his other acting credits include the films Liar Liar, Magnum Force, and Hot Shots Part Deux.
Besides acting, Ryan was also the president of the Screen Actors Guild Foundation for a term.
Barrett was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, on October 5, 1943, but she spent most of her early years in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. After graduating from High School, she attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas, before finishing up her schooling at UCLA in LA. After earning her degree, she married Ralph Pine, her agent.
Barrett and Pine moved to New York City where she landed the role of Carolyn Stoddard on Dark Shadows in 1966. After Dark Shadows was canceled in 1971, Barrett went on to appear in soap operas like The Doctors, One Life TO Live, Somerset, and Ryan’s Hope. After appearing in 1986s Belizaire the Cajun, Barrett retired from screen acting.
In 2009, she reprised her role as Carolyn on the audio drama Curse of the Pharaoh. Since then, she has appeared in the New York production of Francis Patrelle’s The Yorkville Nutcracker.
On Dark Shadows, Ford played Sam Evans, the alcoholic widower, artist, and father of Maggie Evans. He was handed the role when Mark Allen departed the series after portraying the character for just 22 episodes. Ford also played the character Andre du Pres, the father of Josette du Pres in the show’s 1795 plotline.
Ford went on to play Karl Devlin on the CBS soap opera Search for Tomorrow.
Ford was a morbid alcoholic for the majority of his adult life. On August 7, 1983, he died after suffering a heart attack in New York City. He was 57 years old.
On Dark Shadows, David played various characters including Matthew Morgan, Ben Stokes, Professor T. Elliot Stokes, Sandor Rakoski, Mordecai Grimes, and Count Petofi.
On the big screen, David portrayed Reverand Silas Pendrake in 1970s Little Big Man. He also enjoyed roles in films like Save The Tiger, The Eiger Sanction, and Rocky.
Besides Dark Shadows, David played numerous characters in TV series like Kojak, Columbo, Charlie’s Angels, Hawaii Five-O, and The Amazing Spider-Man.
David died of a heart attack on July 17, 1978, in New York City at the age of 51.
Hall was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 18, 1922. She was widely regarded for her avant-garde theatrical performances from the 1960s to the 1980s.
On Dark Shadows, she played several prominent roles including that of Dr. Julia Hollman the loyal confidant and friend of the vampire Barabas Collins. She also played several other key roles on that series including those of Countess Natalie du Pres, Magda Rakosi, Julia Collins, and Constance Collins.
After a six-month battle with lung cancer, Hall died in 1985 at the age of 62.
Frid was a Canadian actor from Hamilton. Ontario. In 1964, he made his Broadway debut as an understudy in the 1964 play Roar Like a Dove.
Frid was best known for playing the vampire Barnabas Collins on Dark Shadows. After that series concluded in 1971, Frid returned to performing on Broadway appearing in productions like Murder in the Cathedrals and Wait Until Dark.
In 1978, he returned to Canada but later returned to New York City in the early 80s. In 2008, he reprised his role as Barnabas Collins for the first time in 39 years on the Dark Shadows audio drama, The Night Whispers.
His last film appearance was a cameo in Tim Burton’s 2012 film Dark Shadows. Frid Died at Juravinski Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario of pneumonia on April 14, 2012. He was 87.
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