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(Pictured: Jonathan Frid appears in a still from Dark Shadows.) - Provided courtesy of ABC

Jonathan Frid, star of 'Dark Shadows,' dead at age 87

04/19/2012 by Olivia Allin

Jonathan Frid, who played the lead character Barnabas Collins in ABC's gothic soap opera series "Dark Shadows" died on April 14 in Ontario, Canada at age 87 of natural causes.

"Dark Shadows" aired from 1966 until 1971 and has been made into a Tim Burton film which stars Johnny Depp as Collins. Frid reportedly made a cameo in the film, which is slated for release on May 11, 2012.

The film also stars Michelle Pfeiffer as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, Eva Green as the witch Angelique, Jackie Earle Haley as Willie Loomis and Bella Heathcoate as Victoria Winters, one of Collins' love interests, Chlo Grace Moretz as Carolyn Stoddard and Helena Bonham Carter as Dr. Julia Hoffman.

"Jonathan Frid was the reason I used to run home from school to watch Dark Shadows. His elegance and grace was an inspiration then and will continue to remain one forever more," Depp said in a statement to People magazine on April 19. "When I had the honor to finally meet him, as he so generously passed the torch of Barnabas to me, he was as elegant and magical as I had always imagined. My deepest condolences to his family and friends. The world has lost a true original."

Frid was a theater actor who studied at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Yale School of Drama. He returned to the stage when "Dark Shadows" ended in 1971. After 40 years acting in New York City, Frid returned to his hometown in Canada and did one-man shows for charities.

In 1991, on the 20th anniversary of "Dark Shadows" finale, Fried told People magazine, "I only did the part for some pocket money to go teach on the West Coast. And, of course, because I didn't particularly want the job, I got it. An audition room full of cadaverous-looking creeps, and I must have really looked the part... I always thought I looked like this damn silly ass. I couldn't believe people were ever really scared."

Watch a trailer for the "Dark Shadows" movie below.

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