Eleven ‘Dark Shadows’ Actors You Probably Didn’t Know Were Gay


Dark Shadows, an American Gothic soap opera premiered on ABCTV on June 27, 1966. For the next five years, it ruled daytime TV and became one of the most watched and talked about soap operas in history — presenting vampires, ghosts, werewolves, man-made monsters, zombies, witches and warlocks (something for everyone) to a horror-hungry daytime audience. The series maintains a cult following to this day, and is available on DVD. The show employed numerous gay actors including those listed below.

 oHumbert Allen Astredo was born on April 4, 1929 in Pasadena. After a series of odd jobs, he enrolled in the Pasadena Playhouse acting program in 1950. He first appeared on TV in 1951 on Love of Life. He was a member of the entertainment unit of the US Army during the Korean War. In 1957, he co-founded the Hollywood Center Theatre, and later managed the Los Angeles Repertory Theater Company from 1962 until 1963. He made his Broadway debut in Othello in 1964. He studied at the Actors Studio, and performed Off-Broadway and in Joseph Papp’s Shakespeare in the Park. He performed in regional theater productions. He was cast as the warlock Nicholas Blair in Dark Shadows in 1968. He also played the roles of Charles Dawson and Evan Hanley before leaving the show in 1971. He appeared in the 1970 feature film, House of Dark Shadows. He appeared on Broadway in Les Blancs (1970), Murderous Angels (1971-72), An Evening With Richard Nixon (1972), and The Little Foxes with Elizabeth Taylor in 1981. Astredo was a successful commercial actor, and played various roles on many soap operas including Another World, The Edge of Night, The Guiding Light, Love of Life, and Loving. In 1982 he played in The Little Foxes in London, and in 1985 was in the national touring company of Dracula. Humbert Allen Astredo was bisexual. He had a short marriage in the late 1950s and had one daughter. Astredo retired in 1990. He died at his home in Guilford, Connecticut on February 19, 2016. He was 86 years old.

 nChristopher Bernau (Herbert Augustine Bernau) was born on June 2, 1940 in Santa Barbara. He studied drama at the University of California, and appeared in the 1962 New York Shakespeare Festival’s Antony and Cleopatra. He toured in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 1964. He worked Off-Broadway, in regional theater productions and performed at Canada’s Stratford Festival. He was cast Philip Todd in Dark Shadows and played the role on and off from 1969 through 1970. His most famous role was that of the villainous Alan Spaulding on the soap opera Guiding Light from 1977 to 1984, and again in 1986 and 1989. Christopher Bernau was gay. He was one of the few soap opera actors to be publicly out with the soap opera press. He was diagnosed with HIV in the 1980s, but continued to work on Guiding Light until he was too ill and frail to work. He died of AIDS related diseases and heart failure on June 14, 1989 in Santa Barbara. Christopher Bernau was 49 years old.

 nDon Briscoe (Cecil Donald Briscoe) was born in Yalobusha County, MIssissippi on March 20, 1940. He appeared in several minor roles on television before being cast as Chris Collins/Chris Jennings/Tom Jennings/Timothy Shaw in Dark Shadows in 1968. He played the roles until 1970. Don also starred in the 1970 film, House of Dark Shadows. Don Briscoe was gay. In 1970 he suffered a traumatizing assault, and subsequent nervous breakdown from which he never recovered. He never appeared on screen again, and died at his home in Memphis on October 31, 2004 from heart disease. He was 64 years old.

 nJoel Crothers was born on January 28, 1941 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was raised in NYC and attended the Birch Wathen School. He made his Broadway debut at the age of 12 in The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker in 1954. He appeared in dozens of TV shows during the later 1950s and early 1960s. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard in 1962. He appeared again on Broadway in A Case of Libel (1963-64) and Barefoot in the Park (1966-67). In 1966 he was cast as Joe Haskell (and Lt. Nathan Forbes) in Dark Shadows, and stayed with the show until 1969. Joel worked Off-Broadway and in regional theater. He starred in many soap operas including The Secret Storm (1969-71), Somerset (1972-76), The Edge of Night (1977-84), and Santa Barbara in 1985. He was nominated for two Daytime Emmy Awards in 1982 and 1983. Joel starred in the Off-Broadway premiere production of Torch Song Trilogy, playing the bi-sexual lover of the author/star Harvey Fierstein. He left the production before it moved to Broadway. Joel Crothers was gay. Although his friends and co-workers knew his sexual orientation, he remained closeted in his public life. He was publicly “engaged” to actress Veleka Gray (his costar from Somerset) at the time of his death. He contracted HIV in the early 1980s, and desperately hid his failing health. He died on AIDS-related lymphoma in Los Angeles on November 6, 1985. Joel Crothers was 44 years old.

 nLouis Edmonds (Louis Sterlin Edmonds) was born on September 24, 1923 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He began his acting career Off Broadway in the 1950s. He appeared in Ernest in Love, and on Broadway, in Candide (1956-57), The Taming of the Shrew (1957), The Duchess of Malfi (1957), Maybe Tuesday (1958), A Passage to India (1962), and Fire! (1969). Edmonds made his TV debut in 1950 in Studio One. He earned more than 20 minor acting credits on TV and in film before being cast as the patriarch, Roger Collins, in Dark Shadows. He starred in the role (and that of Joshua Collins and Brutus Collins) from 1966 until the show’s finale in 1971. He also starred in the 1970 film, House of Dark Shadows. From 1979 until 1992, he played the role of Langley Wallingford on All My Children. He earned three Daytime Emmy nominations for that role. Louis Edmonds was gay. He never hid his sexuality from this friends or co-workers, and publicly came out in this biography, Big Lou. Edmonds had a home in the Pines, and entertained lavishly. He was close friends with his Dark Shadows co-star, Jonathan Frid. Louis Edmonds died of respiratory failure in Port Jefferson, New York on March 3, 2001. He was 77 years old.

 n Jonathan Frid (John Herbert Frid) was born in Ontario, Canada on December 2, 1924. He served in the Royal Canadian Navy in WWII. He graduated from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario in 1948. In 1949, he began studies at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. He moved to the US in 1954 and earned a MFA in Directing from the Yale School of Drama in 1957. While still a Yale student, he starred in A True And Special Friend, and starred in several productions at the now renowned Williamstown Theater. He worked Off-Broadway, and starred in stage productions in Canada, England, and regional theaters in the US. He made his Broadway debut in 1964 in Roar Like A Dove. Frid starred in numerous productions for the CBC, but his life changed when he was cast as the vampire leading man – Barnabas Collins – in Dark Shadows in 1967. He starred in the 1970 feature film, House of Dark Shadows, and made a cameo appearance in Tim Burton’s 2012 film-reboot, Dark Shadows (his final film appearance). His life and career would be eclipsed by the role of Barnabas until his death. After Dark Shadows, he appeared in the TV movie The Devil’s Daughter, and Oliver Stone’s feature, Seizure. He returned to Broadway to star in Murder in the Cathedral, and Wait Until Dark. In 1978, he moved back to Canada, but returned to NYC to star in Arsenic and Old Lace on Broadway in 1986-87. In 1994, he retired to Canada. He made occasional stage appearances in a one-man show, and starred in the play Mass Appeal in 2000 in Hamilton, Canada. Jonathan Frid was gay. He led a very private life, but did spend a lot of time with his good friend, and fellow Dark Shadows gay actor, Louis Edmonds, at his beach home in the Pines. Frid also secured jobs on the show for a couple of men he was involved with. Jonathan Frid died of pneumonia in hospital in Hamilton, Ontario on April 14, 2012. He was 87 years old.

 nAnthony George (Ottavio Gabriel George) was born in Endicott, New York on January 29, 1921. After serving in WWII, he moved to Hollywood. He made his acting debut in the 1950 film, Black Hand. He played dozens of roles in television and film, and costarred in The Untouchables (1960), and costarred in the TV series, Checkmate (1960-62). In 1967, he was cast as Jeremiah Collins in Dark Shadows. He had a successful career in soap operas in Search for Tomorrow, and One Life to Live. He was a longtime, close friend of actor Earl Holliman. Anthony George was gay. He retired to Newport Beach, California where he died of emphysema in hospital on March 16, 2005. He was 83.

GeneGene Lindsey was born in Beaumont, Texas on October 26, 1936. He first appeared on TV in 1963 on the show, The Doctors. He had small roles in the films Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964) and Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970). In 1970, he was cast in the role of Randal Drew in Dark Shadows. He later appeared in the film, All The President’s Men. His final acting role was in the TV movie, Drop Out Father, in 1982. Gene Lindsey was gay. He died of AIDS-related illnesses on April 1, 1988. He was 51 years old.


 nKeith Prentice was born on February 21, 1940 in Dayton, Ohio. He studied in NYC at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. His Broadway credits include The Sound of Music (1959-62), and Sail Away (1961-62). His musical theater credits include Paint Your Wagon and The King and I. In 1968, he starred in the controversial, Off-Broadway production of The Boys in the Band. He starred in the 1970 feature film adaption of the play. Keith Prentice was gay. He was a close friend of actor Jonathan Frid, who helped him get the role of Morgan Collins in Dark Shadows. Prentice played the role in 1971. He appeared in the films The legend of Nigger Charley (1972) and Cruising (1980). In 1982, he co-founded the Kettering Theatre Under the Stars, and directed summer shows there until his death. Keith Prentice contracted HIV and died of AIDS-related cancer on September 27, 1992 in Kettering, Ohio. He was 52 years old.

 nCraig Slocum (Warren Stanley Slocum) was born on November 14, 1934 in New York City. He first appeared on Broadway in End as a Man in 1953-54. In the late 1950s he had small roles in several films including Is This Love?, Unwed Mother, The Young Captives, Riot in Juvenile Prison, and A Private’s Affair. In 1968-69, he played the roles of Noah Gifford and Harry Johnson on Dark Shadows. Craig Slocum was gay. He had type 2 diabetes, and died from insulin shock in New York City on September 12, 1978. He was 43 years old.

 nBrian Sturdivant was a close friend of actor Jonathan Frid. Frid helped him get the role of Claude North on Dark Shadows. He played the role in 1970. He had minor roles in the films Diary of a Mad Housewife, The Coming Asunder of Jimmy Bright, and Von Richthofen and Brown. Sturdivant disappeared from the acting scene in 1971.

[These bios were written by Hollywood historian Michael Michaud, who is the author of Sal Mineo, A Biography, Famous Enough, A Hollywood Memoir, and Alan Sues, A Funny Man]

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64 Responses to “Eleven ‘Dark Shadows’ Actors You Probably Didn’t Know Were Gay”

  1. David-Elijah Nahmod

    Thank you for telling the truth about these fine actors. Let’s not forget Clarice Blackburn, who played Collinwood housekeeper Mrs. Johnson–Blackburn was a lesbian. Her 1995 New York Times obituary named her only survivor as a “friend”, another woman.


  2. This Old Bat

    Here we go again. It is so very easy to say that someone is gay ‘after’ they have passed on and too base the info. on rumors and decades of old gossip and stories, many of which are fabricated. There are many Women who are prudish and do not marry.and have female best friends when they get old that does not make them all Lesbians. Ms. Blackburn would have told you to mind your damned business as she was a hard nose. With no family,of he own, Ms. Blackburn gave legal rights to her friend to manage her affairs when she took ill. That is what you do when you become ill. when Clarice took ill. Many older women esp widows have and need female friends. Women are more social than are older men.
    Ohhhhh plzzz, SMH Don Briscoe was NOT gay nor was he assaulted. THAT is yet another fabricated gay gossip story that gets bigger and bigger with each telling. Louis Edmonds was attracted to him briefly and found that he was not gay. They got together and only smoked joints. It was ‘drugs’ that messed up poor Mr. Briscoe as he was trying to cope with what would later be called Bi polar Disorder Many people not diagnosed self medicate, many times out of desperation. This was before Dr.s could diagnose it, this happened as well with actress Carrie Fisher. Mr. Briscoe moved back home to live with his parents. Just because someone appears in a gay themed play ie ‘Boys in The Band’, does ‘not’ make him gay. SMH Gay people don’t like to be labeled nor stereotyped by straight people, usually bullies, haters and bigots but yet gay bars are just full of people who just love, love, love to gossip and tell Hollywood stories where they think that ‘every’ actor is gay. Mr. Jonathan Frid was gay but never publicly came out and that was the way he wanted it. and Mr. Edmonds spoke about this at two different conventions at his autograph table to a small intimate group of gay fans and yes, that is just my say so and no proof. Edmonds was a proud man with a tell it like it is
    personality. However, from his generation many, many older gay actors lived a private life. Mr. Frid would have been thee first to have told YOU that his personal life and sexual orientation is no one’s business and that his fans have no right to it. Mr. Frid could have done many things to raise money and awareness with his celebrity. He had plenty of opportunities to Come Out to fans and too donate convention and one man show charity money to AIDS foundations/charities and to even give lectures about the parallels between Barnabas and being a closeted gay person. Now that would have been cool. However he did not because he was not a political activist nor involved with the LGBT community nor did he even want that kid of attention. He was not the type to be a spokesperson for the LGBT community. That was not whom he was. He was ‘out’ to family and friends and was not ashamed of being gay but did not discuss it. Mr. Frid grew up in an older generation where gay people were taught to feel shame and guilt and it was illegal to be Homosexual and it was still considered to be equated with Pedophilia and mental illness.. Mr. Frid did not have that extroverted ‘out’ personality like Mr. Louis Edmond’s did. Being gay was a very, very small part of Mr. Frid’s life esp later in life where he just enjoyed his retirement back in Canada with his relatives. Financially, I don’t know how many DVDs and autographs and personal appearances he would have made money off from had he told the hundreds of love sick older Women fans that he was gay. One of thee main reasons for all the arguing, debates and denial over Mr. Frid’s sexuality for decades is because all these older women used to be love sick teenage girls in love with Frid’s character and just like the Beatles and The Monkees, the teenage girl fans back then could not and can not accept the fact that their teen idols that they love are not the exact same in real life. These older Women can not see Mr. Frid beyond having portrayed Barnabas or associate all of Barnabas’ qualities as being that of Frid’s as well. The sensitive deeply troubled compassionate tortured soul that women were attracted to.
    Mr. Frid did not publicly come out to any of his fans at the years n years of conventions nor at any of his One Man Shows, because he felt it was no one’s business Soooo, let all these older lonely Cat Ladies have and hold onto their heart throb image of the perfect guy they wanted to date or marry or even have as a father figure. Their hearts still belong to Mr. Frid or Barnabas. Some you gay ‘activists’ and younger out n proud gays need to seriously realize that while there is no shame ‘now’ in being gay, you don’t understand the mindset of gay people from previous generations. Just because they might live to a time when it’s suddenly okay to come out of the closet does not mean that after a life tie of being private that every gay person ‘must’ do this. It is up to each person to make that decision.
    R I P Mr. Jonathan Frid. May your soul be comforted by the knowledge that your fans still love and remember you all these years later.


    • Johnny'sBoy

      This Old Bat. What an appropriate name.

      Methinks thou doest protest too much. You also might ask any random seven year old if he could teach you how to spell and use proper grammar, then perhaps, just perhaps, someone would take you seriously.

      These articles were written by Michael Michaud, who thoroughly researches any and all subjects he writes about. You might check out his books on Amazon, that is if your jealousy doesn’t stop you.


      • This Old Bat

        Just because someone writes a book does not make it the unshakable truth.
        I am very much aware of the 40 years of gossip and long stories told by gay fans on this subject and many of them were ‘never’ verified. The people i hung around with at the conventions would most certainly have verified it as they knew the actors personally.
        Gay people hate it when they are stereotyped by Straight people. However, when I walk into any gay bar, that is all I hear, gay people gossiping and stereotyping actors and public figures about their personal lives, mannerisms, looks and assumptions about sexual orientation . Too many people both gay and straight assume that just because someone did not marry or remarry that it makes them gay. I was one of the teenagers that hung out outside the ABC studio and I watched the actors all come n go. I’d listen to their conversations and heard their stories among themselves and at 35 years of the DS conventions. I knew some of the sources of the rumors and gossip stories. Fan whores trying desperately to make the whole DS cast gay so that they can feel better about themselves. SMH
        Just because a person is not good at sentence structure/grammar does not make their view point and knowledge any less valid. My previous comment was written in anger non stop writing because i was Pissed at the stereotyping and assumptions. Funny how the author with all of his research happened to have left out that the Make Up artist on the show was ‘confirmed’ gay as well as one of the show’s writers ‘confirmed’ gay after his death when it talked of his long time domestic partner, but I guess that did not come up in google searches.
        No sweetie, I am not jealous of people who like to print gossip and assumptions about people that are no longer with us. If those late actors had told us in life that they were gay or Bi then I would have been more than supportive, but several of these actors chose to keep their personal lives private. Sadly Mr. Frid chose NOT to come out publicly to his fans. However we all saw both Frid and Edmonds frequent the posh gay Nightclubs and bars but that is just my say so as I can not prove it.
        With Respect to Mr. Donald Briscoe RIP
        With Respect to Ms. Clarice Blackburn RIP
        With Respect to Mr. Anthony George RIP
        With Respect to Mr. Thayer David RIP
        With Respect to Mrs. Grayson Hall RIP
        All of these actors’ sexual orientation have been gossiped about and debated about for decades from fans, mostly from gay fans. If these actors had wished for their private lives to be a matter of public record then they would mentioned it to the fans publicly at the conventions and in fan interviews but they did not.
        Shall we believe that two of the DS actors were vicious enough to have sexually assaulted Mr. Donald Briscoe?
        Bullshite, that was yet another piece of shite gossip story that was told and retold for decades and it was always changing in detail.
        Yes, ‘anyone’ can write a tell all book based on google searches and gossip and stories and from IMDB
        A writer can say anything they want about people who have passed on and claim it’s true.


    • Cathy N. Mierlak

      Please give us”old cat ladies” a break.You are stereotyping us.Just like you say we are doing.Grow up.Life is what it is.


    • Jo An

      Who in the hell do you think you are? Go back and read what you wrote back then and see if it doesn’t sound as ignorant today as it did then? I was one of those youngsters, and then a young teen who watched Dark Shadows back in the day, and loved Barnabas character too. But I could clearly seperate the character from the actors portrayal! Why do people generalize and lump everyone who is of the same age together? To make yourself seem more superior. Everyone is different ahole. I’m 61, and straight, but I don’t care if someone else is gay, black, Asian or polka dotted. I love Jonathan Frid for his amazing acting skills. It was incredible what he contributed to not only the show, but to so many lives of ever fan who watched the show. It’s impact has lasted my whole life. Don’t denigrate us. Mr Frid would object to your pettiness too I’m sure. You jerk! If your even still alive, your a jerk? or as my Grandaughter would call you, your a circus piggy!


  3. Marilyn Willett

    I hate the fact that Frid was gay, Why wouldn’t he have liked a pretty 20 year old girl back then ? Why did his relative tell me he wasn’t gay?


    • This Old Bat

      Marilyn ummm seriously ? Why didn’t he like or want a girl? How about because his DNA and his Genetics pre programmed his sexual orientation . He was gay biologically It was and is not a choice. Tell us Marilyn if you think a person can just change their orientation and make themselves be attracted to someone then that means you can make yourself a Lesbian right? No you can not make yourself be attracted to a gender.
      You were born with a Straight Orientation and Mr. Frid was born with a Homosexual Orientation
      You hate the fact that he was Gay probably because just like most of his female fans to date, they daydreamed of dating him and of marrying him and of romance with him When the ladies find out he way a Gay Man that crushes their childhood dreams and fantasies Frid’s Family was born in a time in our past when people were taught that being Homosexual was wrong . Modern medicine has since proven that false but older people and religious people still wont accept it and deny that any of their family were gay because of all the deep negative association people still have with it.


      • Muni

        At the time Dark Shadows was on, I did know about any of the personal lives of the characters. I just enjoyed the program as a youngster. I was starting high school in 1971. Now after 50 years, I am 62, and have just watched the entire series on Amazon, I have come to the realization, that Barnabas would have been fun to talk with and b.s. I am ashamed to say I had no idea he died back in 2012, but I would have loved to have met him before he made his transition. As another person has said, he had his reasons for not coming out and I think it served him well. I just wanted him and Julia to get married and I think they did as a fate of character. Way cool. RIP Jonathan, Louis, Don, Joel, Clarice, and everybody else.


  4. Sef

    Sad to say but we live in societies where the majority of people bliethly assume that you r heterosexual. Me ? I like – enjoy – take delight in making the ” playing field ” even. And – human nature being what it is – people CAN NOT STAND IT. I flip it – I assume – bliethly – that everyone and their great aunt Enid r gay… It does not matter which one u r – but fair is fair. There r two sides 2 the fence. Now – that should get a few people up and swinging…


  5. Ellen Stuetz

    When all is said and done, what difference does any of this make? Why does anyone care about the sexual orientation of any of these fine actors, male or female? I have watched all of the Dark Shadows series on DVD. Even after reading all of these statements, it has not hindered my enjoyment in any way. Straight, Gay, Bi,……none of it matters when we, who are fans of Dark Shadows, sit down to watch what was the most popular day time drama of it’s time!!


    • georg

      I know why non-gays care. According to studies at Hopkins, gays are more prone to pedophilia, depression, ADD, and other types of mental illnesses. So if Person A says he or she is gay, and Person A wants to work as a Kindergarten teacher, then that raises red flags.


  6. Johnny T

    To reiterate Ellen’s sentiment. None of this matters. What concern is it of ours what their sexuality is? They were all very good actors and we enjoyed them immensely growing up. I loved those characters they portrayed and lets leave it at that. As a side note I don’t go around meeting people and saying hello I am John and I am gay. What is the point?


  7. Stephanie Skemp

    I am one of the older lonely Cat women who fell in love with Jonathan Frid’s Barnabas as a teenager and was lucky enough to attend his one-man show in the late 1980’s. His sexuality was his own business and I respect him for choosing to keep it private. Given how homosexuality was viewed by society as abhorrent, illegal or deviant, it’s not surprising that he would opt for privacy. I loved Dark Shadows and the entire cast, it was a much needed escape from adolescent angst for me. I hope that none of the cast members suffered discrimination or abuse because of their sexual preferences and that they all realize how much joy they brought the fans, especially us old lonely Cat women! RIP Mr. Frid, Mr. Edmonds, Ms. Blackburn, and all others who have passed on. Thank you and the rest of the cast members and crew for sharing your unique and wonderful talents with the world!


  8. Jax

    Reminds me when my dad was in World War ll,his buddy came from the same home town as Ava Gardner. Ava kept in contact with her Army buddy constantly. She told of a famous actress who was married four times,who was a lesbian,not bisexual but an out and out lesbian. See these were the days when people couldn’t come out and your career would be over if they found out you were homosexual . I have never seen this woman listed as a lesbian but l believe old Ava. She confided in an old friend,and this actress drank ,and couldn’t keep a man. She had children by men,but that doesn’t mean anything. The truth be told,we don’t know the half of it.


  9. Friend

    The sentiments expressed by This Old Bat are 100% accurate, and their post was fairly well written. A few grammatical errors is hardly grounds to dismiss their argument. That would be a logical fallacy, don’t you think? To completely discredit their information because of a few minor errors?

    There is a good deal of information in this article. I know the author’s sources in many cases unfortunately are from google sources, and I don’t think anonymous chat boards at Data Lounge hardly constitutes reliable evidence. It is disappointing that as a published author he could not discern between reliable and unreliable sources.

    Many of the actors, including Jonathan Frid, were gay. I know a couple things more about Frid I could say, but I won’t. That he is gay has been an open secret for decades, and there is plenty of evidence to be found. I believe That Old Bat and his comments about seeing Edmonds talk about it and seeing them in the nightclubs. I can’t verify those claims, but they are very much in line with what I know.

    Don Briscoe–the assault is wishful thinking on the part of deluded fans. I don’t want to ape what That Old Bat said, but he lays it all out quite clearly, and everything he says can be backed up from reliable sources. The assault story comes from fans and also from a posting on Data Lounge, which really reads more like fantasy play than anything else. Drugs issues is what has been given as the cause of his troubles. Whether he could be bisexual or even gay is a possibility, but we really just do not know at this point. Certainly Edmonds concluded he was not gay, but he could have been mistaken.

    Brian Sturdivant and Craig Slocum both come from the same source. Sturdivant is the actor references on Data Lounge that was claimed in a “fantasy” post that Frid helped get a job. I could believe it being true about either, but the sources are simply not credible. I believe Astredo as well is mentioned, but the source on that is iffy at best. Blackburn I had heard was a lesbian, but I am unsure of the source, so I cannot say 100%.

    I wish they were all gay, but I think a lot of this is poor research on the part of Michael Michaud. The prose is eloquent, but in some cases the sources are not reliable and the information is wrong. Some of these people have been dead decades or were reclusive and private, and they soap opera actors, not extremely well known, living in a different era, so information may be hard to come by. If you want to go interview family and friends and get them to go on record, feel free. I would love to see that. Even if they were gay though some many not know if they were not out.


  10. Sandy

    I can’t name the actors or all the characters they played, had a hard enough time trying to follow plot(s). I do think George Lucas got the idea of jumping from current story to past to future in his star wars series. A lot of movies resemble some of story lines in the series. I’m in mid 50s now & am binge watching the entire series. I am up to season 22.. I have the Barnabas Collins board game intact with fangs. Such a crazy show. Who cares about sexuality of actors. They kept us all entertained & that’s what matters.


  11. Friend

    I stand corrected about Craig Slocum.
    A quote about him from a James Dean biography published in 1975, Craig going by his nickname Rusty:

    “He had a vital gift for bringing people into their own focus,” said Rusty Slocum. “When you were with Jimmy, he could make you feel like you were the one person in his life.”

    Slocum was an eighteen-year-old would-be actor who hung around with Dean and was part of his circle. It was a crowd he later cryptically, or maybe not so cryptically, described as “Jimmy’s little girlfriends and boyfriends.”

    Read into that what you will!


  12. Sue Budd

    Okay, these guys I’m pretty sure are (were) gay: Frid, Edmonds, Crothers, Bernau, Prentice. (As if it matters.) This is my first time hearing any such thing about Astredo, Sturdivant, Lindsay and George, but I suppose I can believe it. I don’t think Don Briscoe was gay, and if the alleged assault is also fiction, then thank God for that. (I love these actors and don’t want to think that anyone got hurt.) I think Rusty Slocum was heterosexual. But of course DS was on when I was a teensy kid so what do I know? LOL! Very informative reading all your thoughts, everyone, thanks.


  13. Cherie

    Sorry, I do not think Donald Briscoe was gay..He had mental issues from drug abuse which left him a recluse for many years until his death.


  14. Susie

    One thing we might all agree on is that all the cast loved one another, really treasured one another’s friendships. We might take the hint and try to do the same.


  15. anonymous

    Collinsport Historical Society today published an article taking information from this. Since they refuse to publish anything that contradicts their very narrow viewpoint, I thought I would publish my response here.
    In response to http://www.collinsporthistoricalsociety.com/2019/06/pride-month-queer-shadows.html

    Yes, Jonathan Frid is gay. That is well known. I have spoken to some who can confirm it. Though there is no evidence some of the actors listed were gay or bisexual. Some of the article is rumor. It is a good step forward to have this information on a prominent DS site, but we don’t want to rush and include information on others when there just is not information. I am very happy to see this article on a prominent site, but I think we may be rushing to include others.

    Briscoe – Edmonds wrote in his bio that he thought he might be gay, but it turns out he was wrong. He still could be. I’m not sure acting in Boys in the Band play makes him gay, although it invites the question.

    Gene Lindsey and Brian Sturdivant – I know the article where those names come from, but there is no supporting information. It wouldn’t surprise me, but I would like to see some facts or corroboration. Very little is available on Sturdivant–whether he is even alive or dead.

    Astredo – no evidence for this – aside from his name being in one article.

    I am pretty certain Clarice Blackburn was gay as well.

    I hope all the above are gay, but just do not see independent corroboration for some of these names unfortunately before it is listed as fact, as much as I would like some of them to be. Some such as Frid, Edmonds, Crothers, Prentice, and George are well known and do not need the corroboration. Has the reporter spoken to trusted and vetted sources who can verify some of these other names were gay? That is not mentioned. It doesn’t mean that some of them are not gay; we just don’t know.

    Additional comments:
    It is disappointing that a site that purports to have integrity would publish unverified rumors as fact. Yes, many of the Dark Shadows actors were gay. However, for some there is just no evidence, except gossip posted on web sites, such as Data Lounge, some of which reads like fan-fiction, fantasy, and yet is treated as fact on this web site, and then is copied and posted on Collinsport Historical Society. That site, however, will not allow any viewpoint that conflicts with those, and so the response was censored. Please…have a sense of integrity and don’t make a mockery of journalism.


  16. lon11848

    I wrote a post and something happened. I was a fan of Dark Shadows, I am a gay 62 year old male who loves Dark Shadows to this day. I remember seeing Jonathan Frid with a younger guy at a restaurant in the East 50’s in the 80’s, the restaurant was known for its gay patronage. Our eyes met and his was very ill at ease. Yes he was very private and nervous. I would see Joel Crothers in many gay bars I went too prior to his untimely death. I was on a flight from DC and Keith Prentice was on the flight, yes to being gay. I saw Gene Lindsey on the NYC subway and it was apparent he was, he did die of AIDS. I saw Louis Edmonds near Bloomingdale’s wearing a floppy Sombero, Poncho and sandals, yes he was sterotypical and it was fine. To each his own, everyone is entitled to their own lives and should not be judged. I did know Anthony George was “gay”. I assumed Humbert Allen Astredo may have been. He was married for a short time, divorced and had a daughter who died in 2008. I doubt Donald Briscoe was gay. Craig Slocum I don’t know it does not matter. I just wanted to write as a witness to seeing these gay actors in person in real life. May they all rest in peace. Thanks for chills and good times they gave us Dark Shadows fans.


  17. Sue Budd

    Ion11814, I love your comment! You’re exactly right–these things don’t matter. I believe that you’re right about all these fellows being gay, with the exception of Don Briscoe, who you agree wasn’t. I’ve heard that Humberto Allen Astredo was bisexual. And I was wrong in my earlier post (February) where I said I didn’t think sweet Craig Slocum was a gay man — he sure was. Thanks for your comment, it’s important.


  18. Sue Budd

    Hi June–well, I know what you mean, but in a strange way, maybe if those guys weren’t gay we wouldn’t have loved them as fiercely. They wouldn’t have been who they were, they’d have been slightly different. Besides, when I fantasize about someone from DS, he wants me and nobody else. And that’s all that counts, right?


  19. Rob

    I am in agreement with the general assumption that Don Briscoe wasn’t gay. I had such a crush on him as kid and was so sad to hear about all of his troubles. But back to this post, more specifically to the comments, some of them are pretty scary – the rage that some folks exhibit in the discussion of gay issues is disappointing but not surprising. Guess what, it’s fascinating for some of us to know that the actors we grew up watching were, you know, like us – “that way!” There’s nothing shameful in being gay. I love this info being brought to light. It helps us to know more about actors like Jonathan Frid. To anyone advocating the silencing of that discussion: that says a lot more about you than you perhaps realize. Peace out.


  20. Hen

    I think Queer is an offensive word and I think sexuality makes no difference and people put way too much stress on mundaine things nowadays. The sky isn’t falling and the sun isn’t melting. The internet is so stupid, I see all this whenever I walk into a site.


  21. Paula Robinson

    I don’t care if the cast of DS was gay, lesbian, or straight. Appearances can be a long way from what is true and not necessarily true.
    I was one of those girls who loved roller skating, archery, fencing, and bicycle riding. I also loved reading with scifi/fantasy being my favorite. I didn’t fit in well with girls because of those things. I found out later that people thought I was a lesbian because I was so different from other girls. Couldn’t have been further from the truth. I loved the show and the fine actors and actresses. It doesn’t matter what they were. Jonathan Frid was always my favorite followed by David Selby. And by the way I am one of those girls who loved Barnabas Collins but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t separate the actor from the character. So don’t patronize teenage girls and women. We are not stupid like some people indicate just because we were teenage girls. My only regret is I didn’t get to meet Mr. Frid. I did get to meet Mr Selby and some of the other actors and actresses. They were gracious and kind. Who cares about their personal life. Respect the people and leave their personal life alone.


  22. Marilyn Willett

    Well I am a proud Christian and I am certainly anti gay. No babies are born homosexual, unless ever man who enters prison with a devoted wife and children back home is suddenly ‘born gay’. No, it is a choice.. I wouldn’t buy a house or a car, even a dress which I din’t choose. why would i live an entire life in a lifestyle I din’t choose? I believe now he was gay. Having said that I ‘love” Barnabas, so hot. I would have loved to have known him.


  23. Albert DeMarco

    Hello! I like all the Dark Shadows cast members even if they were gay that I did not know until now. mr. Ripley will not believe this but I ask Google to tell me how the cast died where I find out more than I could not believe and handle.Life is strange. Ask not what I need to know. Thank you . AlbertJoseph Demarco from Harrisburg Pennsylvania 17110. albertjdemarco65@gmail.com


  24. Albert DeMarco

    Hello! I like all the Dark Shadows cast members even if they were gay that I did not know until now. mr. Ripley will not believe this but I ask Google to tell me how the cast died where I find out more than I could not believe and handle. is strange. Ask not what I need to know. Thank you . AlbertJoseph Demarco from Harrisburg Pennsylvania 17110. albertjdemarco65@gmail.com


  25. Dovebyrd Wielander

    The only thing these fine actors were guilty of is being human if any were indeed gay. Thankfully,it’s 2019…and not 1969.Back in the 1960’s ,when the show aired,it simply was impossible to reveal your homosexuality…and survive !


  26. Doug Wright

    Ellen is correct, who cares if someone is gay, straight, bi, questioning etc. More than anything it is sad someone has to lead a double life to remain employed as an actor. My boss was the original casting director on DS and cast many of the regulars the first few years. She also cast some of the same actors again/ Mr Selby in a Streisand film, and Denise Nickerson in Willie Wonka, Smile, and almost The Exorcist and Kathryn Leigh Scott in Great Gatsby. I was thrilled to learn she had cast many regulars when I went to work for her in the 1990s at WB. Features Dept. The only thing I will mention she and other friends referred to Mr Edmonds as Auntie Louis – at his request. Since he was pretty much ‘out’ throughout his career. – I feel it’s okay to mention this. By the way her name is Marion Dougherty who later went on to cast The Sting, Midnight Cowboy, the Lethal Weapons, and the Michael Keaton Batman movies. She liked Dan Curtis a lot and her name is mentioned by George DiCenzo in one
    Of the interview sections on a behind the scenes videos


  27. Carlos Garcia

    I’ve read how Dark Shadows actor Mark Allen (the original Sam Evans) was a problem on the set, sexually harassing Alexandra Moltke several times, and even assaulting David Hennessy (David Collins) when David put a sign on Allen’s door, stating he was a sexual pervert. All this turmoil just as Dark Shadows was first getting started forced producer Dan Curtis to have no choice but to fire Mark Allen. Is it a coincidence that shortly thereafter, many, if not most, of the new male actors who were hired to play important roles on the show, were gay? It might’ve been an executive decision in order to try and keep the young actresses on the show from wanting to leave as a result of any further sexual harassment. We may never learn the truth, but the record of employment speaks for itself.


  28. Greggory

    I am new to watching Dark Shadows as an adult now. The show gives me the creeps…..but I love it. I also find it entertaining to hear the mistakes made in their dialogue. Finally, I love that so many of the cast members were gay or bisexual and good friends.


  29. Wanda X

    I can’t believe I have to say this. There is no proof Jonathon Frid was gay. I hate the fact that not only you go by rumors but everyone else says he was. The fact is Jonathan was a talented and wonderful human being. He never had any known relationships with anyone male or female. He was very devoted to theater and acting. If he was gay, who the fuck cares? All I know is Jonathan was one of 3 sons born in Canada and wanted to live a life. Sadly he’s now passed away. Maybe he was gay. Maybe not. Regardless I won’t believe without proof. And whoever hates that he MAY HAVE been gay, you’re a sad individual. He was who he was.


  30. joanne d rempfer

    I find the replies very interesting. At the age of 12 I wasn’t terribly interested in sex (catholic school) lived in Philly Loved Jonathan. He appeared very gentle after the first couple of months on DS. Especially when it concerned his sister Sarah and the other children on the series . It was not just Barnabus but the man himself. As to his private life that frequently comes from the time in which he was raised also the conservative view of his family. I did not come out till 2002 and both parents had passed. He did get involved with the AIDS epidemic in NYC. A close friend who attended many of the cons between the 80s and early 90s told me of a case where Jonathan and a group of friends took turns looking after another who was dying of AIDS. When he passed the list of his charities included LGBT and AIDS. He had his career to think about if he had been outed during the series that would have been it even in NYC. He was often seen at bar referred to as The Oldest Gay Bar in NYC it is still open. This was after the protest at Stonewall. They were all very brave to live closeted lives unfortunately this also may have led to so many being lost to AIDS.


  31. Pyrhonette

    It is very true that no one should be called “gay” unless he has used that term for himself already. Gay means to live in a certain, free style, unecumbered by convention. To be gay is to be liberated, which means *openly* homosexual. No one, though, is obligated to declare one way or the other, especially in the mid-20th century, in the film/TV industry, where it is said, “You’ve got to hide the nelly.”
    That being said, if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, and has sex with ducks of the same gender, it’s probably safe to say that it’s a queer duck.


  32. Jeffrey Kolfage

    We’re all here for the same reason. A love of Dark Shadows. Breaks my heart to see the infighting. Please stop.


  33. AbstraktG

    Some of the comments are beyond ignorant. Anyway..it’s sad that so many people weren’t able to fully be themselves and live their truth without fear of backlash. So many talented people have been stifled unnecessarily.


  34. Angie

    I watched Dark Shadows as a kid and still love it! Watching again in Amazon Prime. Couldn’t care less about people’s sexuality. But what I have found amusing is (1) How did they perform the human “experiments” at the old House with no electricity? They had all kinds of equipment, old oscilloscopes and lights hooked up, and (2) how did Elizabeth and that kid sister of Chris get all the way from Windcliff to Collinwood alone with no transportation. LOL. This place was supposed to be 100 miles away!! So funny. Never got that 50 years ago. Doesn’t matter, still love it!


  35. Karen Sweatman

    Well here’s to all the gay men who filled my childhood with excitement and fun. My friend and I ate , slept, and drank Dark Shadows frm the first episode.


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