Sunday, March 21, 2010

50 Greatest Soap Actors: #49 Jonathan Frid

NAME: Jonathan Frid
RANK: 49
SOAP ROLES: Barnabas Collins, DARK SHADOWS (1967-1971); Dr. Field, AS THE WORLD TURNS (1964-1966)

1971 Golden Laurel Award nomination for Star of Tomorrow, Male

Alan Carter: Talk about being known for and stereotyped by a role. It's not like DARK SHADOWS lasted 40 years or that Frid played the role all that long, but there was something about him and the show that made us, literally, run home from school to watch. Do kids run home to watch soaps these days? No, they have DVRs and Hulu and cell phones and the internet. But I imagine if Frid was around on DARK SHADOWS, they'd still be running.

Roger Newcomb: Jonathan Frid became a pop culture icon in a role that was only supposed to last a few weeks. He didn't debut until the 211th episode of DARK SHADOWS but his Barnabas helped catapult into the sensation it would become. Here's hoping that Frid makes a cameo in the new Johnny Depp Dark Shadows movie that will go into production sometime this year.


  1. "50 Greatest Soap Actors" caught my attention, but now I'm quite perplexed. I admit I watched DS and Frid regularly, but DS lasted only 5 years. How can this panel place Frid (#49)above Tristan Rogers (#50)? Five years of a vampire vs 28 years (with a few breaks of course) of Tristan's iconic RS? What gives? Not to diss Frid and his talent (no denying Frid's talent), but something is certainly amiss here with this ranking.

  2. Okay, you have got my interest already with actors who are #50 and #49 on your list! You are setting the bar REALLY high to be listing Tristan and Jonathan this low.

    It is because of Jonathan Frid and Dark Shadows that I started watching soaps (and haven't stopped since) instead of watching Sesame Street.

    And Tristan Rogers was definitely a major reason why I was scheduling my college classes around General Hospital. Recently, I was just watching the scenes between Tristan and Elizabeth Taylor when Helena Cassadine was first introduced...great stuff.

  3. Should Jonathan Frid be above Tristan Rogers? True it was only 4 years that he played Barnabas on Dark Shadows BUT all of DS is out on VHS and DVD! No other soap can make that claim. In the end it's all opinion. I can see how both sides can support an argument but in the end the whole list is up for debate.

  4. I do hope David Selby also lands on this list.

  5. I use to love him and love Dark shadows back in the days. I was a fateful watcher

  6. Seriously, whatever this panel is smoking. Pass it around.

  7. And speaking of DS, when the actresses list came out did the supremely menacing, beautiful Lara Parker make that list? If she didn't, she should have.

    Tristan should be much higher on this list, but Frid did deserve to make it.

  8. I can't remember any of the DS actresses making the list (I might be wrong), although I guess you could say the women have tougher competition. I do wish Grayson Hall, Lara Parker, or Nancy Barrett had made a place.

    Jonathan was very charismatic as Barnabas but his acting wasn't quite there for me, partially because he obviously struggled with the teleprompter. My favorite actors on DS were Joel Crothers and Louis Edmunds.

  9. Despite the short-lived run of Dark Shadows, I think Jonathan Frid should be higher up on the list. Only DS can boast that it is still popular, with DVDs, audio plays, a yearly festival, etc. No other soap can say that! I was hooked on Dark Shadows since the very beginning and when Barnabas Collins arrived on the scene, I stayed hooked to this day. Thanks for including JF on the list.

  10. There is more to Jonathan Frid than just Barnabas Collins. It certainly took talent to do what he did, which was save the show. Dark Shadows survives to this day because of what Jonathan brought to the role. The Festivals prove this by the mixture of people of all ages who attend. What other soap of that era can you watch today from start to finish?

  11. Yes, I'd say Frid should be much higher on such a list, too. Of all the characters on soaps there ever were, only Barnabas Collins is recognizable by most people across the board. The only other characters I can even think of (not being a major soap fan) might be Luke & Laura. Everyone loves the ones they are 'into,' but there must be something about a guy who can *still* pull in national crowds over 40 years later for the same part! (see ya in LA for the July DSF, lol!)