Jonathan Frid was always a modest man in life, and this in itself would not have been unique if it were not for the fact that he was also an leading actor working in the medium of television, where drawing attention to yourself is a way of life. Jonathan literally achieved overnight celebrity, and with it fame.

This was thrust upon him as he was about to enter middle age, a decidedly unlikely time in life to become a matinee idol. All because he auditioned for a daytime soap opera called Dark Shadows; he could not possibly have imagined at the time that within a year of playing this reluctant vampire, Barnabas Collins, he would be a household name across America — a bona fide heart throb receiving truckloads of fan mail while gracing the covers of teen magazines (magazines that up until that moment had never featured any personalities over the age of 30).

Jonathan Frid began his career as an actor in his native Canada, where his repertoire included Shakespeare and the classics. His manner and delivery of dialogue was old-fashioned and theatrical. This is perhaps the key to his success in the role of Banabas Collins; his mannerisms suited the character so well that, for those …

Read more of David Del Valle’s tribute to Jonathan Frid in Diabolique 11.