The actor Jonathan Frid has died at the age of 87, from natural causes, MSNBC.com reports today (April 19, 2012). The star of the original TV show Dark Shadows passed away on April 14, 2012, in Ontario, his hometown.

Dark Shadows was a 'gothic soap opera,' which ran between 1966 and 1971. At its peak, it attracted around 20 million viewers. Frid played the role of the "elegant vampire" Barnabas Collins, recently freed from his chained coffin and returning to his family estate. He quickly became the star of the show, which has now been adapted for the big screen, courtesy of Tim Burton. Burton's movie version stars Johnny Depp in Frid's role. Depp stars alongside Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer and Chloe Moretz. Jonathan's co-star in the series, Kathryn Leigh Scott, paid tribute to her former colleague, saying "May Jonathan Frid, 'our reluctant vampire,' live on in our hearts! How blessed I am to have known this dear man and to have such wonderful memories of him, both on screen and off. 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.'

After the Dark Shadows series ended, Jonathan Frid went on to star in Dial M for Murder and Murder in the Cathedral. He also makes a cameo in the Hollywood version of Dark Shadows, which is scheduled for release in May 2012.