Barnabas Collins is a 175-year-old vampire from the town of Collinsport, Maine.
Having bridged the centuries, he has been both an adversary and an ally to his extended
family members over the course of several generations.
Barnabas Collins was born the son of Joshua and Naomi Collins at some point in the latter
half of the 18th century. As a young man, he became active in the family business and
developed close ties with his uncle, Jeremiah Collins. Other members of Barnabas
immediate family included his aunt, Abigail, his beloved sister, Sarah, and his cousins,
Millicent and Daniel Collins.
In the mid 1790s, Barnabas traveled to the island of Martinique where he met Josette DuPres.
The two instantly fell in love and began a passionate romance with each other. During their
courtship however, Barnabas had an affair with Josette's maidservant, Angelique Bouchard.
Angelique fell obsessively in love with Barnabas, but Barnabas spurned her affection an
act that would have disastrous consequences in Barnabas' future. Barnabas asked Josette to
marry him and the two arranged for the wedding to take place at the family estate known as
Collinwood (In the future, this version of Collinwood will come to be known as the Old House).
Barnabas returned to Collinsport to inform his family while Josette briefly returned to her
home in France to collect her belongings (and her family).
Within a few days time, Josette and her family, the countess Natalie DuPres and her
brother Andre DuPres arrived at Collinwood. Josette, brought her servant, Angelique with
her, unaware of the woman's indiscretions with her betrothed. Angelique pleaded with
Barnabas to abandon Josette and marry her instead, but Barnabas was adamant and completely
Enraged by his behavior, Angelique used her magic to choke Barnabas Collins, forcing him
to fall gravely ill. When this failed to force Barnabas to abandon Josette, Angelique used
her power to make Josette fall in love with Jeremiah Collins. She used the same magic on
Jeremiah and before long, Josette abandoned Barnabas to marry his uncle instead. Barnabas
was furious and challenged Jeremiah to a duel. Angelique secretly supplied Barnabas with
a good luck charm that protected him, and Barnabas dealt Jeremiah a fatal wound.
After the death of Jeremiah, Angelique forced Barnabas into marrying her. Joshua nearly
disowned Barnabas over this, but his mother, Naomi, wanted nothing more than for Barnabas
to be happy, and gave him the estate as a wedding gift. On their wedding night, Barnabas
learned of Angelique's true nature. He discovered that she was the secret cause of so much
misery at Collinwood. Barnabas tried to kill Angelique, but she miraculously survived.
Fearing for Josette's safety, Barnabas met with her and pleaded with her to leave
Collinsport. He gave her a handcrafted music box and told her that he would meet her in
Boston in a few days. Angelique learned of this and tried to prevent Barnabas from
returning to his lover. Barnabas shot Angelique in the chest, killing her. With her final
breaths, Angelique placed a curse upon Barnabas. A large bat flew into the parlor of
Collinwood and bit him upon the throat. Within days, Barnabas Collins died and rose from
the grave as a vampire. Joshua Collins decided to keep his son's death a secret, so he
buried him in the secret room of the family mausoleum, fabricating the story that Barnabas
had gone to England. Angelique tried to prevent his rising as a vampire by driving a
wooden stake through his heart. She was too late, and he strangled her.
One of the first to discover Barnabas' secret was his little sister, Sarah. One evening,
Sarah ran out into the cold, evening rain in search of Barnabas. The following day, she
developed severe pneumonia and died soon after. The death of Sarah Collins tormented
Barnabas tried to hide the knowledge of his resurrection from his love, Josette, out of
fear of the vampiric lust for blood overtaking him, but he eventually succumbed to his
inhuman nature and bit Josette, drinking some of her blood. Josette became her vampire
lover's thrall, and agreed to share his undead state. But before the lovers could be
reunited, Angelique caused Josette to have a horrifying vision of herself as a blood-sucking
ghoul. Josette could not live under the shadow of such terror, and so threw herself from the
top of Widows' Hill onto the rocks below. This single act represented the greatest tragedy
in Barnabas Collins' life.
By 1796, Barnabas had continued to plague the town of Collinsport, feeding indiscriminately
off of various women. Several people, including his own mother and father, learned about
Barnabas resurrection and his true nature. Joshua Collins was horrified to see what had become of his son. However, he did not have the strength to end Barnabas life even when Barnabas begged him to do so. At Barnabas' request, Joshua kept him secured in the tower room at the newly constructed Collinwood. However, his cousin, Millicent Collins and mother, Naomi both discovered Barnabas great secret a discovery that would lead to the insanity of one and the suicide of the other.
Once again, Barnabas pleaded with Joshua to end his life. Instead of killing him, Joshua had the loyal servant, Ben Stokes seal Barnabas within his coffin inside a secret antechamber in the Collins family mausoleum at Eagle Hill Cemetery. Joshua, Ben and Barnabas were the only ones still alive who were even aware of the existence of this hidden room. He secured the coffin with thick chains so that Barnabas would remain trapped for all time.
In 1967, a man named Willie Loomis broke into the Collins mausoleum in search of the fabled
family jewels. He discovered the secret antechamber in the rear of the crypt and released
the chains binding Barnabas to his coffin. Barnabas rose from his coffin and attacked Willie,
turning him into his personal slave.
Barnabas donned modern clothing and introduced himself to the current family living at
Collinwood. He claimed to be a descendent of the original Barnabas Collins who moved to
England to sire a European branch of the family in the late 1700s. Although everyone at
Collinwood were astonished by the similarities between he and the likeness of his ancestor,
no one felt that Barnabas was anything other than what he claimed to be a distant cousin.
With the permission of the head of Collinwood, Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, Barnabas moved
into the Old House. He revealed that Willie Loomis was now working for him as his personal
handyman and assigned him the overwhelming task of returning the Old House to its former glory.
Barnabas proved himself to be a man of contradictions many times. Although capable of
great kindness and foresight, he could also be vindictive and sufficiently passionate to
commit severe blunders for purely emotional reasons.
His most complex emotional relationships were with Julia Hoffman and Angelique Collins.
With both he was at various times a bitter enemy and a devoted friend. Julia proved over
time to be his greatest single ally. Yet although he was willing to go to extraordinary
lengths on Julia's behalf, and clearly viewed her as his dearest friend (the order to kill
her broke the hold the Leviathans had over his mind for example), he never seemed to
reciprocate her romantic feelings for him. Indeed, he finally came to love Angelique
after she lifted the curse from him and gave herself up to save Quentin Collins (1840).
There are several items of note that have always been very important to Barnabas Collins.
Some of his prized possessions that he has owned or coveted over the years include:
Gold and silver handled, wolf's-head cane, Black signet ring, Portrait of Josette,
Josette's music box, Portrait of Barnabas, Portrait of Barnabas II.
John Herbert Frid was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, on December 2, 1924, the youngest of three sons who were born to Herbert and Flora Frid. Herbert owned the Frid Construction Company, and Flora had been a nurse.
The quiet young Frid began acting, as many do, in a high school production. Soon he joined the Hamilton Players, where he won an award for Best Actor.
During World War II, Frid served in the Canadian Navy. He was on a ship heading for Japan when the war-ending bomb was dropped.
After the war, he studied drama at McMaster University, graduating in 1948.
A year later, he was accepted at the Royal Acdemy of Dramatic Arts in London.
Two years later, he was working in repertory companies in Canada. He then enrolled in the Yale School of Drama to study directing and lighting. He earned his Masters of Fine Arts in Directing in 1957.
Jonathan Frid has worked in some of America's greatest regional theaters, including the Williamstown Theater Festival, the Old Globe Theater in San Diego, and the American Shakespearean Festival, and has played a wide variety of roles.
In the beginning, his intentions had been to get a lot of acting experience in order to become a great drama professor. In 1967, he returned home to New York after a long national tour, planning to move to California and find a teaching position. But his agent called him to go on an audition for an ABC soap opera called Dark Shadows. The job would be for just a few weeks. Interested in the extra money for his move to California, he decided to go on the audition. Frid won the role of vampire Barnabas Collins.
The ratings, which had been near the cancellation point, shot up overnight, and Jonthan Frid became a household name and a national phenonomon. And the "few weeks of work" turned into four years.
During the Dark Shadows period, Frid continued doing stage work, starring in Dial M For Murder and Wait Until Dark.
He also starred in movies, House of Dark Shadows and Oliver Stone's Seizure. He co-starred with Shelley Winters in the TV movie, The Devil's Daughter.
When Dark Shadows went off the air in 1971, he decided to take a break and travel throughout Mexico and Canada for a few years. He also worked for awhile at Penn State University.
In 1978, Frid moved back to new York and began experimenting with readings, seminars and theatre workshops. By 1985, he had the idea of creating a professional one-man show to tour colleges and regional theatres. In 1986, he founded Clunes Associates, developing three one-man shows -- Foods and Fiends, Fridiculousness and Shakespearan Odyssey. He toured with these shows across the nation, making hundreds of appearances over the next eight years.
In December 1986, Frid appeared in the role of Jonathan Brewster in the stage production of Arsenic and Old Lace, touring with Jean Stapleton, Marion Ross, Gary Sandy and Larry Storch for the next year and a half. He used his nightsoff to do his one-man shows at local universities and colleges.
After 40 years in New York City, Jonathan Frid returned to his native Canada in 1994, purchasing his first house and car. He has formed a new company, Charity Associates, making several appearances each year for charity (mostly in Canada). Other than that, he is retired from public life, but stays busy with his new company and his gardening.
Jonathan Frid is joined by Lara Parker & Kathryn Leigh Scott, and again more recently, Marie Wallace
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