I’m saddened to learn of the death of Jonathan Frid. He was a delightful, considerate, witty man, and the perfect vampire for Dark Shadows. I was intimidated by him when I was a kid—he treated me nicely, and he and Mom often roared with laughter at the crazy things they had to do for the show—but he was a star, and thus, even though he was kind and thoughtful when he was in our kitchen, I never quite knew how to behave around him. The man had charisma.
That said, when I worked with Dan Curtis in LA for the 1991 Dark Shadows (I was on the writing team—weird experience I’ll write about someday), Dan told me the following story about Frid’s hiring:
Dan had asked his casting people to find a vampire. Then he went to England. While in England, he received two packages of photos of two actors. One had the standard headshot, the other had pictures of an actor on stage. Dan chose the actor on stage, let the casting people know his decision, and continued his work in England. When he returned, Frid was on the set and Dan met him for the first time.
Then he went upstairs, called his second into his office, shut the door and said: “That’s our vampire?! Jesus, he looks like Edward Everett Horton!”
Which just goes to show—sometimes luck is better than intuition.