Home Actors Jonathan Frid – Biography

Jonathan Frid – Biography

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Jonathan Frid’s career in drama began when he first “offered his soul” to the theatre as a young boy at a “prep” school in Ontario, Canada. Following his graduation from McMaster University, he attended London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and later earned a Master`s Degree in directing from the Yale School of Drama. Frid was a leading actor in English and Canadian repertory and went on to work in many of the most celebrated regional theaters in the United States, including the Williamstown Theatre Festival, the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego and the American Shakespeare Festival, under the direction of John Houseman, performing with Katharine Hepburn in Much Ado about Nothing. He has appeared in major roles on-and-off Broadway, in such productions as Roar Like a Dove, Murder in the Cathedral and Wait Until Dark. But it was his portrayal of a complex, conflicted vampire on ABC-TV`s daytime drama series Dark Shadows (co-starring with Joan Bennett) and in the subsequent film House of Dark Shadows (1970) that earned him a place as an icon of American popular culture.

Jonathan Frid, actor,
This image from Dark Shadows was scanned from an original in the Northernstars Collection.

His other film credits include co-starring roles in The Devil’s Daughter (1972, with Shelly Winters) and Seizure (1974, Oliver Stone`s directorial debut). In 1986, Frid joined the Broadway production of Arsenic and Old Lace (co-starring with Jean Stapleton). He won critical acclaim for his villainous turn as the homicidal nephew and spent 10 months with the play`s national tour. That same year, he founded his own production company, Clunes Associates, to create and tour a series of one-man readers’ theatre shows across North America. Frid continues to perform his one-man shows, now under the banner of Charity Associates, to raise money for a variety of charities. Combining the arts of his voice and his zest for entertaining”, as one critic put it.

In June of 2000, Frid returned to the traditional professional stage in the play Mass Appeal at the Stirling Festival Theatre in Stirling, Ontario.

Jonathan Frid passed away in a Hamilton, Ontario hospital in April of 2012, just a few weeks before a film version of his hit TV series, Dark Shadows was to be released. Starring Johnny Depp in the role Frid created, the film by Tim Burton also stars Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter. Jonathan Frid makes a cameo appearance in the film.

Also see: Jonathan Frid’s Filmography.

All of the images used on this page were scanned from originals in the Northernstars Collection

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This biography is Copyright © 2001 by: Nancy Kersey. It was updated in April 2012 by Northernstars.ca. Click here for more information about copyright.