Thursday, 19 April 2012

Jonathan Frid

I am so saddened to hear of the death of my good friend and fellow actor on Dark Shadows, Jonathan Frid. He was a warm-hearted and compassionate man with a lovely sense of humor, and he was a staggeringly charismatic actor, who is personally responsible for the lasting success of the Dark Shadows TV show in so many ways,

His introduction on the soap opera saved it from cancellation and initiated five years of wonderful stories, of which his character of the reluctant vampire was most often the centerpiece. It was his choice to make the vampire terrifying but also tortured by guilt, and in doing this he became the heartthrob of thousands of housewives across the country watching him over their ironing. They longed to be bitten!

My personal association with Jonathan was life changing. I had been in New York just over a week when I auditioned for the part of Angelique on camera with Jonathan, doing the scene in which I tearfully entreated him to love me and not my mistress Josette Of course my head was spinning but he leaned in before the red light went on and said, “You know, she’s a witch.” Without that bit of information, I might never have put the evil spin on the moment that snagged me the role. How fortunate for me that he was there! He also whispered in my ear, “I hope you get it,” which sent my confidence soaring.

When I had been on the show for several weeks, I was doing another “tearful scene” of heartbreak and rejection. He said to me during rehearsal, “You should stop trying to be the heroine.” I was shocked to receive this bit of criticism. “Stop crying,” he said. “You’re the villain! You have the plum role.” Once again, his presence in my life was a gift. He gave me the best advice. When I insisted that I was not “the jealous type,” he simply said, “Dig deeper.”

I played countless scenes with Jonathan, and as is now well known among the fans, he often forgot his lines. He famously told us that once when he performed Shakespeare in a college production, he found himself saying lines from Hamlet in the middle of Richard III! When he “went up” on camera during a scene with me, I could tell by the panic in his eyes that he had lost his way, and I often had to get him back on track.

We were, as you all know, taping 'live' with no opportunity to cut and start over, or to edit, and I always worried that his performance would suffer. But, the following week when we watched the show and that moment would appear on the screen, I was amazed! He was mesmerizing. His dreadful actor’s dilemma became Barnabas’s dilemma, and Jonathan’s anxiety made Barnabas all the more convincingly troubled. He had that rare quality as an actor to bring his own inner truth to the moment.

When Jonathan returned to the Dark Shadows festivals in his eighties he was always received with a standing ovation. He was beloved by the fans! It was hard for him to maintain his high standards in the festival environment, but he always assumed that jovial attitude and made his audience laugh with his generous wit, When he did his readings of Poe or Shakespeare, he always gave a rich and layered interpretation, putting to use his wonderful classic actor’s voice and bearing. What a treat for us all.

Often, after someone dies unexpectedly, it is easy to look back and see that the signs were there. Kathryn Leigh Scott, David Selby and I went to London to film cameos in the new Tim Burton/ Johnny Depp movie, and undoubtedly, we would not have been asked to come if Jonathan had not been willing to join us.

It was difficult for him. He was disoriented and felt helpless away from his house in Canada. The second morning we were there, he packed up his bags early and went down to the lobby. There he demanded a taxi to the airport and told the concierge that he wanted a plane ticket back to Hamilton. It was as though he yearned for that refuge where he was embraced by all that was familiar, where he could feel safe.

We were all excited and looking forward to our scene where the four of us could be together again, but now we were afraid that things might fall apart. Convinced to stay and participate in the cameo moment we were all anticipating, he rode with us in the car to the studio. “Why is it so far?” he kept asking. And then he said, “Are we on the island?’”

Of course we thought he meant the island of England and we assured him that we were. Once in costume and on the set, he seemed shaky and irritable as we rehearsed our “moment,” the four of us walking through the door of Collinwood at a grand party, and being greeted by Johnny Depp

Filming can be brutally tedious and we stood there for several long minutes, Kathryn holding Jonathan up on one side and I on the other, both of us clinging to him for dear life while lighting and camera adjustments were made. Hunched over now and leaning on his memorable cane, Jonathan seemed ready to collapse. But when the assistant director came over with a chair and offered it to him, he exploded in anger and banged his cane on the floor. “Why does everyone think I need a chair! I don’t need a chair!”

Temperament and pride were still a vital part of his character, and he was still holding on to that rage, I think now, against the dying of the light. But on the way back to the hotel he said again, “Where are we? Am I on the island?” as if he had a sense where he would be going.

I am heartbroken that Jonathan could not see the movie he journeyed so far to be in. I was looking forward to a big hug and kiss this summer at the festival, and another set of self-deprecating, witty remarks to his adoring audience where the love in the auditorium was always palpable.

I will miss him so much. I am grateful to have known him. Take care, Jonathan, now that you have reached your island. Hopefully it looks like Hamilton. Our love goes with you.

95 comments:

  1. Lara, I just wanted to express my condolences to you on the loss of your dear friend, Jonathan. He will live forever in so many hearts.

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  2. That's a wonderful tribute to Jonathan, Lara. I recently read your piece about the trip to London in RETURN TO COLLINWOOD, and that told me right there that he was probably at the limit of his endurance. It is sad he won't be able to view the new movie, but seeing him in it will certainly be a treat for the rest of us. Condolences for your personal loss. I'm sure you have many, many treasured memories of him.

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  3. What a beautiful and heartfelt tribute! The last part is such a lovely sentiment; it sparked yet another round of tears for me on this very sad day.

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing this, Ms. Parker.

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  5. It was with shock at first and then sadness when I heard that Johnathan Frid had passed away. He along with all of the cast members of Dark Shadows are very near and dear to my heart because they are all part of my childhood and I consider them my friends. He will be missed very deeply by me. Rest in Peace my friend.

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    1. I agree Delvin. I and my sisters watched Dark Shadows growing up as well. I watched the full 5 years twice in the later years. Each time I'd think that they are again like guests in my home. It was so good to welcome them and listen about their life. I'm thrilled that at least four of them could get shots in the new movie. The new movie doesn't live up to the greatness of the real DS TV show. You Lara you were and still are very beautiful. Everyone on the DS set was so good looking and wore such pretty clothes. Each one of you were great actors and actresses. Hollywood realy missed out not hiring all of you to play other roles. Today when a friend told me that Jonathan had passed we talked a long time about DS. She'd hurry home after work to watch the show in the 60's. He lives on in our hearts.

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  6. Thank you so much for this. I just found out that Jonathan passed and I am heart broken. You guys gave us such pleasure! I myself have been a DS fan since 69, I got to see Jonathan in Dallas I think it was 84 & I have never tired of it. I was looking forward to the film, but I am very afraid they messed it up, but I will go just to see you all. I was hoping for Charlize Theron to play your Angelique, she is the only one that comes close to your beauty & charm. I hope one day to get to go to another DS convention. You take care & my God bless.

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  7. Lara thank you for sharing your wonderful story of Jonathan. I grew up adoring you all. You were the highlight of my teens and I gave up several parts in school plays in order to be at my television by 4 o'clock. I am looking forward to Tim Burton's Dark Shadows but in my heart, there will never be another actor who can do the roles justice that you and Jonathan and the others brought to life. Much love, Kim

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  8. So sad to hear of Mr. Frid's passing. As a kid I was a Dark Shadows fan and hearing about the new Tim Burton film just started watching all the old episodes from S1:E1 this past weekend. I will be looking forward to his cameo in the new film and a hopefully a dedication or remembrance in the credits.

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  9. Dear Ms. Parker,

    That was a beautiful tribute to a wonderful actor and a very nice gentleman. I grew up watching Dark Shadows, and I have so many wonderful memories of watching Mr. Frid and you work your magic on the screen as Barnabas and Angelique. I thank you and him and all of the actors and people that were involved with Dark Shadows for giving me some of my fondest childhood memories.

    Sincerely,
    Jerry Donnelly

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  10. I remember when I lost my mother to breast cancer in 1992. People practically wanted to beatify her. But as her only son, I wouldn't have it. To do so would be to rob me of that diamond-in-the-rough that was her true persona. At the memorial service, I wanted to tell them about her volatile side, about the part that shined through the time we drove through the McDonald's drive thru and they'd forgotten to put the straws in the bag -- how she'd raced back to the restaurant the moment she'd noticed they were missing and demanded to speak with the manager. That imperfect, complicated mom was the one I knew and loved. Thanks for giving such an honest recollection of Jonathan. It captures his true, lovable nature much moreso than any number of fawning tributes could ever hope to.

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    1. Douglas, I heartily agree with your genuine and frank comment. What Lara did with her wonderful tribute will, I hope, help fans (who may not have known Jonathan until the last several Festivals) have a better understanding of the difficulties that he was enduring. I had heard from some fans who had met him (in the last several years) of their disappointment with his sometimes abrupt or grumpy demeanor. If people would realize that this was a man in his late 80s, very likely not feeling his best in a situation where he was dazzled by new faces with every step that he took, and if they would compare his situation with that of their own elderly parents (as you do here with the story of your dear mother) it would hopefully help ease hurt feelings and/or dashed expectations. Jonathan could be seen by many as larger than life. But to some who got to know him at an earlier time, he was deeply human, which can mean potentially flawed but also with an equal potential for great love for his fans, to which I can personally attest. Thank you, Douglas and again, thank you Lara!

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  11. So beautiful and moving, Lara. With your words here and your performances back then, you magnified him. Thank you.

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  12. Thank you for sharing your tales of Mr. Frid. I had the pleasure of seeing him on stage and seeing how he could "fill" a vast space.

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  13. Thanks for your kind words Lara. The tears have been flowing all day and your words help.

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  14. JONATHAN FRID A.K.A BARNABAS COLLINS I WILL NEVER FORGET HIM HE MADE DARK SHADOWS I USED TO RUN HOME FROM SCHOOL TO WATCH D.S I SAW JONATHAN IN 2 FESTIVALS. A POINT OF NO RETURN BARNABAS COLLINS IS IN AND JONATHAN FRID WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN BY HIS FANS. THE DREAM CURSE REALLY SCARED ME WHEN BARNABAS OPENED THE DOOR AND SAW THE SKELETON BRIDE STANDING THERE.REST IN PEACE JONATHAN. DARK SHADOWS WILL LIVE IN THE HEARTS OF FANS FOREVER MY HEART FELT SYMPATHY GOES OUT TO HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND THE WHOLE CAST D.S. R.I.P. BARNABAS

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  15. JONATHAN FRID WILL BE MISSED

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  16. Thank you so much for your lovely comments, your cherished memories. I've been watching the 1897 episodes (I adore Count Petofi) this past week, and had no idea that Mr. Frid had passed away until this morning when some few Facebook friends informed me. I had been spending the past couple of days defending the original series to other Facebook friends who insist that it was terrible. I was enchanted by the series as a kid in high school, and it enchants me still, and fills my old age with Gothic joy.

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  17. Thank you for your warm and generous post regarding Mr. Frid. I concur with you and others who have said that his tragic romantic character saved the show. I must also say, with all due respect to Jonathan,that you were my favorite actor. The b*tch fights between Angelique and Laura were the most delicious scenes of all!

    I wish you nothing but joy and success in your endeavors.

    Russ Ranard

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  18. What a beautiful, kind tribute to a man who inspired so many of us.

    I live about 20 minutes south of Hamilton, and Spring arrived early this year for us, meaning that Jonathan got to enjoy the reawakening of the trees and the most beautiful time of the year here in Canada one last time.

    Thank you for your lovely words and for all you have given to the Dark Shadows family over the years.

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    1. I read your remark and it inspired me to send you a poem I wrote and posted to the DS Blog site. I think this says it for me:

      A poem for Jonathan.

      How are we to get over losing you
      when spring has sprung,
      with winter dreariness gone,
      when the hope was that
      you would keep going strong,
      and, with us, another while go on?
      How are we ever to say goodbye,
      your gentle, gifted presence not to know?
      How are we to let you go?

      Kristine

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  19. This is a wonderful post. I've admired you and Kathryn and Jonathan and many others over the past two years as I've watched every episode of Dark Shadows for the first time (even though it was around when I was 10 years old). And I always respected Jonathan so much for being direct, kind, honest, humble and professional. I wish I had known him but he lives on through his legacy.

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  20. Lara--
    I have told Kathleen that I feel so selfish in my mourning...there is a great hole where a childhood idol once stood...but we were his friends from afar and you were his immediate friends...my sympathy to you and to the family of Master Jonathan Frid..for a master crafter of character he was and a wonderful man on top of it all...we love you and send you our thoughts and prayers...Rita Gregory

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  21. I was so happy to meet you at festival 2010, Lara.. You wrote to Big fan on the picture I got of you..the chemistry in the roles of you and Jonathan made me an instant fan. I'm a West Coaster Canadian, and though i haven't been to Hamilton, I liked the fact Jonathan loved his home...the best for you,

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  22. Thank you for such a wonderful and moving recollection of Jonathan Frid. As a child though I was always glued to the television waiting for you, Angelique (or some incarnation of your character,) to show up. I hope you're doing well (and enjoying the glass swan.)

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  23. Thank you for your tribute, Lara. And thank you, and the others, for being there to help and support Jonathan during the cameo. What a great lasting tribute, that he was able to be in this movie, and that you helped him have this come to pass.

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  24. Beautifully said! I noticed that Jonathan didn't look his usual spry self in the publicity photos. I was pleased to meet him at one of the first festivals in 1984 and to thank him for the years of entertainment he gave us. Thank you, too!

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  25. Rather than a curse, this heartfelt remembrance was a blessing. After all these years, you are finally Jonathan's heroine. You didn't have to dig deep into your wonderful persona to find that, Lara. We, the fans, adore you as well. Thank you for this touching display of love.

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  26. Thank you for such beautiful words about this remarkable actor and human being. I've been to many Festivals to see the two of you and could always see the incredible bond between you and your fellow players. You have given all of us one of the most amazing entertainments ever.

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  27. Lara-what a beautiful tribute to Jonathan, I have to admit I get a bit weepy eyed as I read through this. Though I've never been to a Dark Shadows convention, and though I just recently re-discovered this show that I watched after school in my early grade-school days-the love that you reference in the audience is as palpable in your words as it is in our visions of this iconic character and man.

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  28. CALIBAN
    Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises,
    Sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not.
    Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
    Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices
    That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
    Will make me sleep again; and then, in dreaming,
    The clouds methought would open, and show riches
    Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked,
    I cried to dream again.
    The Tempest 3.2.148-156

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  29. I am glad you remembered the irascible side of Jonathan. It was part of what made him what he was, the fire the burned inside of him that came out on stage and on film. I am grateful that you, Jonathan, Kathryn and David went to do that cameo. It is going to mean all the more to us now.

    You have blessed me personally by your generous compliment to me after my costume gala performance at my first Fest in 2006. You bless Jonathan's memory with what you have written here, and I thank you.

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  30. Dear Lara,

    I am truly at a loss for words and filled with overwhelming sadness at Jonathan's passing. You two were truly one of TV's first supercouples and your scenes together were nothing less than electric - how fortunate you were to be part of this iconic show and your portrayal of Angelique was no less iconic than Jonthan's portrayal of Barnabas. You were absolutely magic together and that's how I will remember Jonathan.

    As we bid him farewell I wish to thank you and the rest of the cast for filling our eyes with wonder, our TV screens with suspense, fear, and romance, and our hearts with love and affection for the iconic characters you created.

    RIP Jonathan - we will miss you so much.

    With great respect.

    Elaine
    Israel

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  31. That was a very beautiful tribute. It brought more than one tear to my eye. Thank you for sharing it with us. I know its been comforting to me to hear memories and sentiments shared from the rest of the Dark Shadows cast. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart.

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  32. That was a great tribute, to a man who was loved by all of the Dark Shadows fans, although I don't think the upcoming movie will do him, any justice, because it looks like a comedy instead of the gothic classic, Dan Curtis created. Johnny Depp could and will never be as good as Jonathan. I met him at one of the conventions, he was a very nice gentleman. I as well as the true fans will truely miss him!
    R.I.P. Jonathan!

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  33. I'm not sure what it is, my soul perhaps, which feels a connection to your tribute. You didn't have to share it but I'm glad you did. When my time comes I too will look for that island of happy reunions - the last mystery glimpsed by the mind of Jonathan Frid. Thank you.

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  34. Thank you so much for this tribute. I've always appreciated your honesty and as others have stated, am particularly grateful for your candid remarks detailing your experiences with Mr. Frid on the set of the new movie.

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  35. We feel so sad at his passing. He was great!

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  36. Thank You.......Lara, for the special words in homage to Mr, Jonthan Frid. You & Him was the hole show.

    I hope you and the rest of the cast keep appering at the
    festivals.

    Love..
    Kathy K

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  37. Beautifully written with grace and dignity Laura. I too learned today of his passing by the President of our Dark Shadows group in Orlando, Fl. through an email. It was odd, I had been feeling quite depressed for some odd reason this last week and could not pin point the source, I believe I know it now. It feels like a "part" of me has been lost.I am grateful I met him twice, one at his show in Georgia about 10 years ago where he was gracious enough to sign an original drawing I did of him. I also was able to read to him a poem I wrote, "With Love to Jonathan"to him on stage. He thanked me and asked for a copy in which I gave him the one I read from along with copies of original artwork I had done of him. This memory is dear to my heart. I also met him in Tarrytown, NY for a convention 5 years or so again where he was sitting at a table in the venders room talking with people. I took his hand and said "You are truly a remarkable man", where he flashed me a big grin. It was truly a poignant moment I cherish. He will always be in our hearts and Barnabas will always be our immortal One. I know that Jonathan will still be entertaining and charming again in the next world. Until we meet again, I wish you peace...

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  38. Beautifully written, Thank you.

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  39. What a wonderful and thoughtful farewell you have written for your friend. We, the fans, feel the loss but celebrate the work left behind for it will stand. Our condolences to you for the loss of your friend. There is an old show business toast, taught to me, many years ago by an elderly actress named Maggie: "I HAVE LOVED YOU DARLING, BUT THE SHOW CLOSED" (my Father had died during one production and her words seemed the proper farewell and allowed me to focus on the production at hand) The show closed, but the love continues. Again, thank you for your words about Mr. Frid. I was lucky enough to have met him many years ago and I treasure that moment.

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  40. What a feisty man to re-join the DS festivals in his mid 80s. 2006-2010 were probably the best of those later years. His website diaries indicated great interest and enthusiasm during that time period. Yet, as one gets older, time and people do appear differently, almost dream like. Often there is a sudden turning point, and 2011 must have been that turning point, suspected but unbenknownst to us who followed his site closely. I just wanted to feel his presence and know he was there. I think I may have deluded myself with wishful thinking, especially when his site became more active beginning in the fall. News of his passing was a shock because I had decided he would live well into his 90s, frail but sound. He must have wanted to go to England, or perhaps he did it for his fans, or his fellow cast mates; he has never said that I know of, but he sure appeared calm and in control in the video and this gave me hope. Now that this was not the outcome, and as I said in another post, his was a life well-lived. So here's to you Jonathan. This day has been spent grieving and trying to come to terms like so many of you here. Way too much is made of line flubs. Most of the actors messed up their lines frequently, making the same sorts of mistakes. A few were close to flawless in their delivery. To me Jonathan was incredible and it had nothing to do with the biting of necks, but rather that his soul was turned inside out and you could read emotion in his facial expressions and in his voice and it was just wonderful. No other soap opera acting comes anywhere close to the quality performances by Dark Shadows actors, in my opinion. It was stirring. Forgive me. The healing process is slow and makes me go on a bit. Thank you, Lara. You were part of something very unusual and very special as a leading Dark Shadows actor.

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  41. What a beautiful tribute to Mr Frid. It is beautiful because it is written with love and honesty. He fought the good fight in those last months. Now,it is time for him to rest, surrounded by love and peace.

    I hope that his good friends and his family are comforted by their memories.

    RIP, Mr Frid. You are a class act.

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  42. So sad to hear about Jonathan's death. I grew up watching Dark Shadows and was thrilled when the Science Fiction channel picked it up as an anchor show when it debuted. It gave me the chance to watch the entire show from start to finish. Barnabas and Angelique were my favorite characters and I absolutely loved the way both were portrayed by you two.

    I look forward to seeing the new movie and all of the cameos from the original Barnabas, Angelique, Maggie and Quentin.

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  43. That was so sweet Lara. I would not have visited this site if Mr. Frid had not just passed away. He was such an icon for my childhood as were you. I am so touched to see your beautiful post about him. You are still beautiful too!

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  44. Thank you for sharing this, Lara. I have enjoyed your novels based on Dark Shadows, very much!

    As a fan of Jonathan's work and and the entire cast, it is so nice to see the lifelong friendships you have developed and maintained over the years.

    I'm glad you got to work with Jonathan one more time. The movie will be bittersweet, but it is something that all of us will treasure.

    I met Jonathan three times on his Readers Theater show tours and his kindness and willingness to chat with fans is something that I will never forget.
    The first time I met him was at Marietta College in 1993. I want to share this but I am sure there is nothing unusual about it as everything I have read concerning Jonathan's passing has said what a warm person he was.

    On this occasion, I arrived at the theater early as I had driven quite a way to see the show and he was the only one there sitting alone in the audience seats. However, I wasn't sure it was him until he got up from his seat, I assumed it was someone who was also attending the show.

    He was very friendly. I mentioned I had driven a ways to attend the show, was not familiar with the campus and wanted to make sure I found the right venue and to get something to eat before the show. He shared directions with me to the coffee shop. I did have something to sign, but he said he would do that after the show at the autograph session. He recognized me after the show and we chatted a little for a short time. I don't recall the exact conversation, but I was pleased that he remembered me coming into the theater earlier. Of course, I was somewhat awed concerning who I was talking to, but his friendly and down to earth manner the entire time was something that I will never forget and always treasure.

    To see the love you all the cast members have expressed is very helpful to all of us who admired both the man and his work and feel a great loss at his passing even though many of us did not know him personally.

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    1. What an incredible story. I am really glad you shared this bit of Jonathan's history. I agree that his death has hit some of us very hard. He has such a unique gift that I swear he is part magician and part alchemist. It is great that you got to three of his shows!

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    2. Meeting him is something I will always treasure. I'm not a "fan girl" of a lot of things, but his work and the show in general have remained one of my top interests for years.

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  45. Thank you for sharing your beautiful memories.

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  46. Thank you Lara for this great tribute. Jonathan will be missed so much by all of whom he influenced in both large and small ways. I was one of those many who "ran home" to watch DS at 4PM every day.
    I attended his final DS Festival last year, which was a sudden decision - and it was distressing to see that he indeed appeared very frail. However, his strong speaking voice during the Festival belied his physical appearance. That temperament and pride Lara mentioned was evident as I caught his eye in the hotel hallway [a well-deserved break: escaping the crowds of fans] as he was sneaking into a side room. He gave a me an annoyed look, and quickly shut the door. This memory of him I will always treasure. We fans are so lucky to have experienced such a class act.

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  47. thanks, Lara, for that beautiful and heartwarming trubute....i'm so fortunate to have been part of that original audience, the memories of running home from school to watch all of you is as fresh as ever...best wishes.
    Gregory Hines

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  48. I have just herd about his death on the Classic Horror films Board website! I haven't herd about this yet anywhere on the news! I have seened Dark Shadows only a few times but enjoyed watching it! My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Jonathan Frid! May he Rest in Peace!

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  49. Thank you Ms. Parker for your lovely tribute to Mr. Frid. He will be sorely missed by all Dark Shadows fans, and I know especially by you and Ms. Scott. I
    am planning on attending my first DS festival at Tarrytown in July, and I was really looking forward to meeting Mr. Frid and you and Ms. Scott. I'm sure it will be a truly different festival without his presence, but I know that he will be well remembered for all of the great times that he gave us. I watched you guys all through college, having to fight 65 other guys in my fratenity, for a seat in our tv room. Dark Shadows was truly the best show ever. May he rest in peace and may perpetual light shine upon him.

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  50. Ms Parker I am deeply sorry for this tradgic loss of Mr Frid. I grew up watching the show..now at 54 I still watch my vhs. Your words broke my heart. such kind words. And then to read on how he was feeling broke my heart. Mr Frid gave us all memories which will never be forgotton. All of you I love! Mr Frid was so remarkable in DS, I looked up at him as a father figure. So young at 9 yrs old...I watch the vhs tapes often..since his passing I have started from the beginning! The birth of Barnabas Collins! To see him was such a feeling..my heart just dropped...filled with both saddness and joy.. Thank you for posting Ms Parker, From Cindy Ann

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  51. I am so sad ... when I found out I was overwhelmed with sorrow. I felt like I lost my own family member. I was only 10 when I started watching Dark Shadows & Barnabas Collins was MY VAMPIRE! I wanted him to be real & bite me & be with him forever. I was just a little girl having a crush on him. But as I got older I looked up to him more as a father figure...how kind he is etc. We have lost a great man. I am very sorry Ms. Parker for your loss and everyone's loss of a magnificent man....may he rest in peace with the Angels in Heaven. Love Cindy Ann

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  52. I'm so tremedously saddened to know Jonathan Frid is no longer with us. As I told him in a message once, his vampiric influence greatly enriched my childhood and I now find his spirit in every stroke of my brush, in every note of my music, in everything I create. I'm glad I had the chance to tell him thanks.
    Also, thank you so much, Lara, for providing me this opportunity to say a few words.

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    1. Reading these comments is wonderful. I was struck by your remark about music especially. If music is sooting, gentle and beautiful, he comes right to mind as if he is composed of beautiful notes and materializes out of them somehow.

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  53. Running home to see Barnabas Collins on “Dark Shadows was one of my true childhood joys. For all the early day live TV flubs, he and the whole Dark Shadows cast and crew gave a whole generation of kids something that in the midst of Vietnam, race riots, assassinations, and political unrest we could treasure for a lifetime -

    Suspense, intrigue, and more fun in one half hour than you could have at two Barnum and Bailey circuses, three Disneylands, and a thousand little league games. Monday through Friday. 4:00 P.M.

    Thank you for that.

    RIP

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    1. Kel, Very much enjoyed your comment about circuses, Disneylands, and little league games not matching up to DS. I think as far as entertainment, goes it was the best show ever and your description says it well.

      And Ms. Parker thank you for pointing out that Jonathan was staggeringly charismatic. That certainly says it in a nutshell. Plus your vignette about your audition and how Jonathan, gave you that little boost "by telling you to dig deeper." There must have been a very deep resevoir for him to dig into to come up with his powerful scenes, ones that kept us so interested and wrapped up in the character of Barnabas Collins.

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  54. Lara thank you for the wonderful comments about Jonathan. The thought of him passing had been on my mind for about a week before it happened, it kept praying on my mind. I hope he is enjoying his peace, and the reunion with loved ones. I am sure he is thinking of all his good friends still here and treasuring his chance to know them. I hope you are still enjoying the Afghan I sent you. Yes I am still crocheting, now I am trying some Amish embroidery, inbetween all my other projects, even repaired and made new quilts. I guess my hands always have to be busy. Hope your grandson is doing well. I got a new one in Dec. my oldest son finally found a beautiful wife over a year ago and now he has something he has always wanted, a wife, a child, and allot of cows on a ranch. Life is funny. Now my husband wants to move over by him and have our cows on a ranch by him (something we have always wanted) Yesterday was our 36th wedding anniversay. Wow! now the years seem to have gone fast. But when you think of everything that has happened it seems like allot. Take care and my thoughts are with you. A friend always Joelene

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  55. We loved you and Jonathon, Angelique and Barnabas. At times, we hated you, too!! I have never been able to express how dear the characters and cast were to me, how those goofs on camera made me love you all more. I often thought of it as local theater, although you were all professional throughout. There was something even more endearing as you worked hard to present the twisting plots despite the limits placed by the live TV, the daily pressure, the early special effects. Jon made me appreciate acting in a way no one else did. It was not effortless, it was hard work, and we cheered you all on every day. Thank you for all you did, for your kindness to the fans, for loving Jon.

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  56. robert and i love your show we like too thank you for all the star's of dark shadows for binning there for us i wish there bring
    dark shadows back yes my husband is 61 and i 37 and i love how you wait back in time as a in-faith -pagan and uua that maid i beivled all faith but i get too the groth thing and rob jon. wet good we give two thume up blessed be my freind call me herne or keith and robert , mettin's our cat

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  57. Lara,
    I am so sorry for your and the rest of the cast's loss. Jonathan Frid was am amazing talent who will never be replaced.

    I also ran home after grade school. I was short, but I was quick when properly inspired. I could made in home from school 4 blocks away before the end of the opening credits.

    To you, the rest of the cast, crew and especially the writer--thank you for inspiring me as a writer and film maker. You may have driven us all nuts at the time, but you also taught me the importance of cliffhangers.

    Since I believe in miracles, I am still hoping that we will work together someday.

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  58. Greetings from Memphis! Thank you for your lovely words about Jonathan Frid. His sensitive interpretations completely changed vampire lore for all time, from the classic Bela Lugosi vampire character in the 1930s to the modern interpretations in the Twilight series in the 2000s; few actors have had such influence upon characters that span well over 70 years. While I know the new 2012 Dark Shadows film will be a mere caricature of the classic series, I remain a longtime fan and will look forward to seeing you and Kathryn Leigh Scott, David Selby, and Jonathan Frid in your cameo roles. And in your appearance, I hope we will get a glimpse of "the look" that you do so well! With gratitude, David O.

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  59. My wife and I just finished the entire DS series late last night (4/23/2012)...the last episode was aired 4/2/1971.. I grew up as a child in the sixties (born in '56) watching Dark Shadows. My wife and I started watching the entire series in January 2010. I introduced her to Dark Shadows not knowing how she would take to it...she fell in love with the show. It took us 2 1/2 years to complete the viewing. I felt a great sense of loss when we finished seeing the series...and it is with a great sense of loss at the passing of Jonathan Frid. So many times my brother and I used to mimic being vampires because of Dark Shadows and Jonathan.

    To Lara and all the remaining actors/actresses...God Bless You!

    Steve
    Swanzey, NH

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  60. I have been greiving for the past few days. Even though I didn't know Jonathan Frid personnaly, he, as well as the rest of the cast, came into our homes every afternoon for years. We grew to love the charactors and missed them so very much when the show ended. It is like losing someone you have cared about. And it's like losing a part of my childhood. RIP Jonathan.

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  61. Lara, although Angelique was my favorite character on Dark Shadows, Barnabas too was a intricate part of what made the show so successful. I have many episodes and they have been edited to really just his scenes with you. That was a wonderful tribute to him from you. Though he is gone of this world, Angelique and Barnabas will live forever in our hearts and memories.

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  62. Beautiful tribute, Lara. Myself and my friend Wally Wingert were glad to have met Jonathan the couple times when we did. We enjoyed meeting you all at the various festivals both in Los Angeles and in New York. This deeply saddened me to hear the news of his passing. Wally had texted me while I was at work. I did all I could to not cry at my desk.

    Jonathan will live on in that special place in all our hearts.

    ~Christine~

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  63. Lara -

    Your letter was amazingly written and is so very touching. I was an avid Dark Shadows fan as a little boy and never missed an episode after school. We all ran from school as though it was going to be our last breath taken. You, Jonathan and the rest of the cast were amazing and influenced so many around the world.

    Thanks for playing a wonferful part as Angelique in the show, and thanks for sharing your beautiful letter to our best friend, Jonathan, since some of us were kids.

    Rest in peace dear friend, Jonthan Frid aka Barnabas Collins.

    Much love,
    Malcolm Smith

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  64. Some of that is painful to read. And yes, it is sad that he wasn't able to view this next incarnation of DS.

    Thanks for filling us in, LP.

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  65. Thank you Ms. Parker for sharing your memories of Mr. Frid. Your candor and evident fondness for him shines through. I am a very recent fan of the original Dark Shadows. I first saw the 1991 Ben Cross version and was initially reluctant to plow through five years worth of a original. Am I ever so glad I did. Everyone's contribution to this fascinating show has been such a treat to behold. Hopefully the show will continue to live on in you, Ms. Scott, Mr. Selby as well as the other actors who have given us, the fans, an enduring treasure

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  66. LAURA AKA ANGRLIQUE YOU AND BARNABAS MADE A BEAUTIFUL COUPLE I KNEW ALL THE TIME BARNABAS REALLY CARED ABOUT YOU. BUT HE REALLY LOVED JOSETTE. EVERYTHING YOU PUT HIM THROUGH.YOU DESTROYED HIM WHEN YOU WHEN YOU PUT THE SPELL ON HIM TO TURN INTO HIS FAMOUS ROLE A VAMPIRE BARNABAS COLLINS.HE WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN.AND I KNOW IN MY HEART THAT WHEN I ATTENED THE FESTIVAL IN TARRYTOWN N.Y MY HEART IS GOING TO BREAK NOT SEEING JONATHAN THERE.THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN MY 3RD TIME SEEING HIM. GREAT WEBSITE FOR REMEMBERING HIM THANK YOU LAURA.R.I.P.JONATHAN

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  67. R.I.P. JONATHAN SADLEY MISSED MY ALL OF YOUR FANS. AND MY HEART GOES OUT TO JONTHANS FAMILY. AND THE CAST OF THE MOST LEGEND SHOW THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER SHOW LIKE DARK SHADOWS. AND ALSO I WOULD LOVE TO SAY THANK YOU JOHNNY DEPP FOR BRINGING IT BACK TO THE BIG SCREEN FOR JONATHANS LAST PROFORMANCE R.I.P. BARNABAS.

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  68. Hi Lara,
    You were my favorite on Dark Shadows, and I was only twelve years old when I started watching, but I saw every season, and almost every episode. Never dreamed we'd have a vehicle for communicating this way, or any other way for that matter! Your tribute to Jonathan Frid was deeply moving. So very sorry for your loss!

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  69. What a lovely tribute.

    It's fitting that he was able to walk through the doors of "Collinwood" one last time with his old friends (and onscreen foes ^_^).

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  70. Dear Ms. Parker, I am saddened at the loss of your dear friend. You, Mr. Frid and Mr. Selby were a part of my life for many years. I hope that you will teach at NYU again as I was sorry to have missed your course. Kind regards from New Jersey

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  71. Hi Lara,
    I was very saddened to hear of Jonathan's passing, I like a lot of people watched Dark Shadows from the very begining to the end. He and you were my favorite characters on the show, I even named my first daughter after Angelique because I though you were so pretty as a witch. I would like to know how you all feel about the new movie, I am here to say that I have been very disappointed in the previews of the becoming a comedy. The show does not deserve this. Thanks again for your blog on "Barnabas" he is dearly missed.

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  72. Barnabas has gone to another parallel time and we hope to see him there. Thank you Angelique, Quentin, Maggie, Professor, Julia, and the rest of those residents of Collinsport for the memories.

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  73. Thanks for joining the cast of the 2012 Dark Shadows movie, it was great to see you,David,Katherine and most of all Jonathan on the silver screen! God bless you, Daphne

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  74. Dear Ms. Parker,
    That was a beautiful tribute to Mr Frid! Truly, you are a great friend! My condolence to Mr. Frid's family, you and the rest of the Dark Shadows'(DS) cast, and other close friends. Last year, I attended my first DS Festival in NY. Because I was very determined to attend the DS Festival, I traveled by myself to NY. It was an honor, priviledge, and pleasure to finally see Mr. Frid on stage and walking through the memorabilia room. I took so many pictures of him too. I'm so very blessed to have finally seen Mr. Frid, you, and the rest of the cast at the 2011 DS Festival. I will cherish those moments forever. During the running of DS from 1966-71, I was David Henesy's age. Therefore, after attending last year's DS Festival, I decided to purchase the entire DS DVD collection and watched the entire series. I was so much in awe because there was a lot I misunderstood as a child about the series! It helped me appreciate the DS's cast and understand the storyline more. Thank you so very much! Ms Parker, "Angelique" is STILL my favorite!! Love Always, Sabrina F Brown

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  75. What a lovely tribute to a fine man and actor.

    Like many teenagers, I couldn't wait to get home from school to watch "Dark Shadows." I hated Wednesdays because I had a piano lesson after school. The first thing I did afterward was call a friend to find out what had happened on Dark Shadows. Barnabas and the gang became my friends -- I wanted the Collins family to be real. Thanks for all the memories -- and Angelique's laugh still gives me the creeps!

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  76. Mr. Frid was hardly the conventional leading actor. Others were taller, clean-cut, more handsome, etc. But what other actor could have kept the enchanting and quite formidable Angelique from stealing the show ? Indeed, he so fulfilled the role, that without either titan the show would have been terminally unbalanced.

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  77. Saw the new movie recently and I loved it. It inspired me to re-watch the original series on Netflix again after decades. Seeing some of the old series I've got to say, you and Frid looked so beautiful together, and had such chemistry, I wish we could have seen the day where Angelique and Barnabas could have loved each other after so much atonement.

    Sorry for your loss of Frid. Though he did not get to see the new movie, at least we got to see him one last time. He gave so many memories to so many, and so have you.

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  78. Miss Parker, You & Jonathan Frid created magic and your work continues to be a wonderful childhood memory for me & my sister-we raced home everyday after school to watch you-BRAVO! Frank Holmes of Louisville, Ky

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  79. My condolences on the loss of your friend, Mr. Frid. What a lovely remembrance of him -thank you for sharing. I am amazed he even attempted to travel so far to do that cameo in his condition. So many elderly can become very disoriented away from home and get upset by it. Hopefully it was overall a happy experience for him...and for you to be with him one more time.

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  80. Dear Lara,

    I hope the East Coast DS Convention was great! I'm looking forward to pics and a newsletter about it. I'm eagerly awaiting your book in Oct? Here's another poem for you about intense infatuation..albetit love?

    “Limerence”
     
    Obsessive
    romantic thoughts
    and
    passion
    for reciprocity
    an
    awful
    aching for ecstasy.
     
    Unreasonable love.

    Sincerely,

    Cynthia L. Marcolina

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  81. Jonathan was a master of his art. I'm sorry to hear he had such a difficult time during his last performance. I'll never forget him or the rest of the cast of Dark Shadows. I remember picking the French name Angelique for my French name in French class in High School. Dark Shadows was the one bright spot in my day in a crap childhood and it helped me hang on. :)

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  82. It is funny reading how you felt you had to be kept from being too much of a heroine type, and guided into being more of an evil villainess because I think that this combination unintentionally worked to give us a character who felt more real than many of her types played by others in the same role or in similar-type roles did.

    Most of the time the actresses playing the role of evil villainess with an obsessive love, comes across as just insane, mentally unstable, twisted, or drama-queen-without-a-justifiable-cause. But somehow your characterization of Angelique comes across as cruel, sadistic, vengeful (and all those traits traditionally assigned to Angelique) yet at the same time we felt she truly did love Barnabas. It made her into a conflicted character rather than just a sick, twisted one.

    There are some aspects of your Angelique to which many can relate. I could never relate to the Joan Collins, Glenn Close or Demi Moore trouble-maker ex-lover types, their motives were not understandable. But your Angelique came across as the woman who had a grand/first love, loved so deeply, gave her all, planned around him, and thought she had found her true love/soul-mate. Of course she wanted to marry him, build a life with him, be intimate etc. But, no matter what the rejection did to Angelique, she still couldn't help loving him and it showed in the way you played her. I think many people can relate to that character. I also believe that the mixture of your wanting to be a heroine combined with the role of necessary villain to create the characters believability and one we could relate to in spite of all her evilness. She was conflicted, evil yet still loving perhaps conveyed because you were conflicted on how to play the role at times as well.

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  83. I have watched D.Shadows on the second rerun I was to young to understand it the first time in 1966 heck I was not but in the 3rd grade. I remember my mom watching it and when we were older we talked a little a bout it and that how I met my school friend she was a bit older than I and she explained it to me and we been friends for 48 years and she died this summer so has my om now I am going to have to find a chat board to post with other D.S. fans now. I miss all that have pas on from the show its like heck were ll dieing!!!! whats going on and I am 54 and truly I have to say I do wish they would put it back on TV for this Generation to watch and relies they did not have the computer tech. to make Angelic fly through the air and burn in flames like no and all Mr Curtis and the rest had was just know how.

    Ms. Laura I love your books just bought a new one this month for my on birthday gift. My next one will be Ms Scot's an I have your new book on pr-order.

    May Mr Frid RIP I miss him so greatly. To see him come through the doors of the new movie it was a bittersweet moment to see him I was laughing and crying at the same time.

    Just remember your always be those cast members in the show/movies that you were, in our hearts.

    Well off to find a place to talk to oother D.S. Fans.

    Bye to you and all the others.
    Julie Baswell/aka

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  84. Oh I am going to miss you Mr Frid. I tried to meet you but could not get to the D.Shadows Conventions. I tried but maybe one day we shall meet on that "ISLAND" you spoke of were you there yet.
    Love to the rest of you all.
    Also if anyone knows a good place for me to go that has a good 1966 D.Shadows post please post I check here and read at least every week. I feel like we have all lost a friend. As that poem goes he reads thats on the old LP and CD when I rest my Dear....
    He is now at rest.

    I have 3 small dogs and each one is named after a persons name on the show and I truly have ran out of names over the years I had a Labrador called Barnabas, a cat call Angelique "she showed her claws LOL" right now I have a cocker named Maggie and a Bishion named Ms Stoddered. There has only been on person who has figured out my pet names over the years and she works at my vets office. oh yeas a poodle named Josette. People say hummm thats a strange name I just say like Mr Frid would....If I have to explaine it you would not understand.
    R.I.P. Mr Frid.
    Your now at peace on that green covered grass........ I can not type out the whole poem I will cry. Its on the CD. Its going to be read at my on funeral and my family thinks I have lost it LOL.

    sorry for so many typos I am in a hurry.

    bye for now
    Julie B.

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  85. oh the poem starts out:

    "When I am dead my dearest weep not for me.......

    This will be read at my on funeral by Mr Frid through the CD I have and they now ave a copy to play. I have already made my on reservation with the funeral Director so everything is on file even whats to be sung and said, It takes he pain to away from your children. so to speak and typed out this poem and I know I will be happy to hear it read.

    I believe Mr Frid feels the same.
    Love to you Mr Frid R.I.P

    Also Hi to the rest and lets keep up with you all like David Hennessy I dont know whats going on with him.

    Thank you Ms Laura for keeping us all posted on whats going on and who is doing what.

    I just wanted to get that part of the poem right I messed it up on the first I wrote. I right now cant type to much I cry and can not see the key board.
    OK I truly got to go.
    by for now
    Julie B/ aka leeann

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