As 2012 winds down, it's a pleasant surprise to see JONATHAN FRID's name appearing so frequently in year-end retrospectives. When the actor passed away in April, it took a solid day for major media outlets to even recognize it. His low profile during his final years meant that some news services were worried nobody remembered him, while others were pretty sure he died years ago.
THE CANADIAN MOVIE DATABASE has a feature about "Northernstars" who passed away in 2012, which features Frid prominently (which is doubly ironic when you consider DARK SHADOWS didn't air in Canada during it's heyday.) There's not much there that his fans won't already know; it's mostly just a rundown of his stage and screen credits. But it does point to one troubling detail that has slipped through the cracks this year: When, exactly, did Jonathan Frid die?
NJ.com says he died April 14. Frid Wikipedia page claims the April 14 date is correct (a fact attributed to Frid's nephew) but his death was originally reported as April 13. I'm not suggesting there's a conspiracy to cover up his death; I'm just pointing out there are a lot of sloppy writers in the world.
The NJ.com story is worth reading, if only for the quotes from Frid taken from a 1990 interview. "(Dan Curtis) wasn't in New York at the time they actually cast the role of Barnabas," Frid says. "I doubt whether I ever would have been Barnabas if he had been there. Because he wanted somebody who was very aggressive, very macho and very strong. And violent, in a sense. But while he was away, the mice played. The associate producer, with the writers, decided that they wanted to go for a more complex kind of character."
MassLive.com actually includes Frid's death as one of the "Top 10 Entertainment Stories of 2012," saying "Our love for the show however, is also immortal and Jonathan Frid will live on when we remember those afternoons spent watching him and the Collins family after school."