Jonathan Frid, the original star of the Dark Shadows series that helped reboot and practically define the modern-gothic genre, died at the age of 87.

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The Canadian-born actor who played the sexy vampire passed  away in his hometown of Hamilton, Ontario on Friday the 13th.

Frid played the iconic character on the cult classic soap opera from 1966-1971, and turned on a new generation to the gothic/horror genre, a style which had been winding down in popularity after multiple successes within the Roger Corman and Hammer Studios companies. Barnabas was first only to have a brief guest appearance, but became so enormously popular, that he became the focus of the show.

Frid was born in 1925 and, after serving in WWII, graduated from Yale School of Drama in 1957. He worked in television and theater prior to Dark Shadows,  but nothing eclipsed his portrayal of Barnabas Collins, which he kept reprising years after the show ended at conventions and reunion projects. The show, which could be called the weirdest soap opera of all time, went on to be hugely popular, not just with the housewives that it was geared to, but with both young boys and girls alike.

On May 11, the big-screen adaptation of Dark Shadows directed by Tim Burton, and starring Johnny Depp in the infamous role of Barnabas, will be out in theaters. Frid’s last acting work was in fact a cameo in the upcoming film, where the original cast was reunited to be in a party sequence.

On set of the 2012 film Dark Shadows , Courtesy of