Actor Jonathan Frid passed away of natural causes at Juravinski Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, last week — less than a month before Johnny Depp's highly anticipated big-screen ressurection of the role he is best remembered for: Dark Shadows vampire Barnabas Collins.

Sadly, yet somehow appropriately, Frid's death occured on Friday the 13th. He was 87.

Born in Canada, Frid was a classicially trained stage actor who spent most of his life performing in theater productions. But it was the cult gothic soap opera Dark Shadows through which Frid ultimately found fame.

He was on his way out west to become an acting teacher when his agent phoned him up and told him he'd been offered the role of Barnabas Collins. Frid accepted on the condition that it was a temporary gig, as he needed the money to help with his move. He soon realized he would need to put his dreams of teaching on hold — so he could become a star.

"I am so grateful to have worked with Jonathan and to have known him as the charismatic, entertaining, complex and plain spoken man that he was," wrote Frid's Dark Shadows co-star Kathryn Leigh Scott on her blog. "He was irascible, irreverent, funny, caring, lovable and thoroughly professional, and in the end became the whole reason why kids ran home from school to watch Dark Shadows."

Tim Burton's Dark Shadows adaptation is set for release May 11th. Frid has a small role in the film — his final on-screen appearance.

[USA Today, Wikipedia, photo via Getty]