The Fate of the Collins Family Cast from Dark Shadows, 1966


“Dark Shadows” was a very popular TV show that started in 1966. It was different because it had spooky stories about vampires, ghosts, and witches. People loved watching the adventures of the Collins family, who lived in a big, mysterious house. Even though the show ended a long time ago, in 1971, many people still remember it fondly.

In this article, we’re going to find out what happened to the actors who played the Collins family after the show was over. These actors made the characters come to life, and many fans are curious about where they went and what they did when the cameras stopped rolling. Let’s take a trip back in time and catch up with the cast of “Dark Shadows.”

About Dark Shadows (1996)

“Dark Shadows” is a gothic soap opera that originally aired on American television from 1966 to 1971. The show blends elements of horror, drama, and romance, setting it apart from the typical daytime soap operas of its time. It is set in the fictional town of Collinsport, Maine, and centers around the wealthy Collins family, whose members uncover supernatural occurrences and dark secrets lurking within their ancestral home, Collinwood Mansion.

The series initially began with a focus on the mysterious governess Victoria Winters, who arrives in Collinsport to uncover details of her own past. However, the show’s popularity soared with the introduction of Barnabas Collins, a vampire portrayed by Jonathan Frid, who seeks to find a cure for his vampirism and redeem himself while dealing with various supernatural and human adversaries.

“Dark Shadows” is known for its exploration of complex themes, such as identity, love, and redemption, through a supernatural lens, incorporating ghosts, werewolves, witches, time travel, and parallel universes. Its innovative use of gothic and horror elements in a daytime serial format has left a lasting legacy, influencing numerous subsequent television series and films in the horror and fantasy genres.

The Core Cast of the Collins Family

Jonathan Frid (Barnabas Collins)

Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins from the daytime drama Dark Shadows

Jonathan Frid was famous for playing Barnabas Collins, a vampire, which was a very special part of “Dark Shadows.” He made this scary character someone people could feel for. After the show ended, Jonathan acted in some plays and movies, but he never found another role as popular as Barnabas. He often talked about his time on “Dark Shadows” at fan events. Jonathan passed away in 2012, but he is still loved by fans for his role as Barnabas.

Joan Bennett (Elizabeth Collins Stoddard)

Joan Bennett from the film Scarlet Street

Before she joined “Dark Shadows,” Joan Bennett was already a big movie star. On the show, she played Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, the head of the Collins family. After “Dark Shadows,” Joan didn’t act much because she was getting older, but she always remembered her time on the show fondly. Joan died in 1990, leaving behind a lot of movies and TV shows where people can see her work.

Louis Edmonds (Roger Collins)

Louis played Roger Collins, who was part of the Collins family. He was very good at playing characters that seemed a bit snobby but also interesting. After “Dark Shadows,” Louis kept acting in theater and some TV shows. He was proud of his work on “Dark Shadows” until he died in 2001.

Nancy Barrett (Carolyn Stoddard)

Nancy Barrett brought Carolyn Stoddard to life, making her a memorable part of “Dark Shadows.” Carolyn was young and faced many strange and exciting adventures. After the show, Nancy continued to act in theater and appeared in some other TV shows and movies. She also attends fan conventions, sharing stories about her time on “Dark Shadows.”

David Henesy (David Collins)

David played the young David Collins on the show. He was one of the few child actors and did a great job. After “Dark Shadows” ended, David decided to stop acting. He moved on to other things outside of show business, like running a restaurant. Even though he left acting behind, fans still remember his work fondly.

Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie Evans/Josette DuPres)

Kathryn had an interesting role in “Dark Shadows” because she played two characters: Maggie Evans and Josette DuPres. After the show, Kathryn didn’t just keep acting; she also became a writer and started her own publishing company. She’s written books about her time on “Dark Shadows” and other topics. Kathryn often meets fans at conventions, sharing her love for the show.

These actors made “Dark Shadows,” a show people still talk about today. They brought the spooky world of the Collins family to life and left a lasting impression on their fans. Even though some of them have passed away, their work on “Dark Shadows” keeps their memory alive.

Post-“Dark Shadows” Lives

After the curtains closed on the eerie world of “Dark Shadows,” the actors who brought the Collins family and their associates to life moved in various directions, weaving their post-show careers and lives with varying threads of success, challenges, and new adventures. Here’s a glimpse into their journeys beyond the shadowy corridors of Collinwood Mansion.

  • Continued Acting Ventures: Many cast members continued to pursue acting in both theater and television. While none found a role as defining or enduring as those on “Dark Shadows,” they remained active in the acting community, participating in stage productions, guest-starring in TV shows, and occasionally appearing in films. Their dedication to their craft kept them in the limelight, albeit in a more subdued manner compared to their “Dark Shadows” days.
  • Shifts in Career Paths: Not all cast members stayed in acting. For example, David Henesy (David Collins) chose to leave the acting world behind and ventured into business, finding success in a completely different field. His transition underscores the diverse paths one can take after being part of a phenomenon like “Dark Shadows.”
  • Writing and Publishing: Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie Evans/Josette DuPres) embraced her love for writing and storytelling, establishing a successful career as an author and publisher. Her books, including memoirs and fiction, often draw from her experiences in “Dark Shadows,” bridging her acting past with her literary present.
  • Fan Conventions and Reunions: The cast members frequently participated in fan conventions, reunions, and other events that celebrated “Dark Shadows.” These gatherings allowed them to reconnect with fans and each other, sharing memories and insights from their time on the show. These events also highlighted the enduring popularity of “Dark Shadows” and its impact on both the actors and the audience.
  • Legacy and Memorials: For those cast members who have passed away, memorials and tributes have been held in their honor, celebrating their contributions to the show and the entertainment industry at large. Their legacies continue through reruns of “Dark Shadows,” fan communities, and the memories shared at conventions.

Whether continuing in the arts, shifting to new careers, or engaging with fans, each member of the Collins family and their associates has left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. Their journeys beyond the show illustrate the diverse ways one can navigate life after being part of a cultural phenomenon, with each path as unique as the characters they portray.

Legacy of “Dark Shadows”

Dark Shadows,” since its debut in 1966, has etched a permanent place in the annals of television history, not just as a pioneering gothic soap opera but as a cultural phenomenon that has influenced generations of storytellers, filmmakers, and fans. The legacy of “Dark Shadows” is multifaceted, reflecting its impact on the entertainment industry, its pioneering of genre-blending storytelling, and its enduring fan base.

  • Influence on Modern Media: “Dark Shadows” was ahead of its time in combining the soap opera format with elements of horror, fantasy, and the supernatural. This blend has inspired countless other shows and movies, paving the way for the popularity of genre-blending series today. Its innovative storytelling and atmospheric presentation have left a lasting impact on how stories can be told on television.
  • Cult Following and Fan Community: The show has maintained a devoted fan base that spans generations. Through fan conventions, online forums, and fan fiction, “Dark Shadows” continues to live on beyond its original broadcast. These communities not only celebrate the show but also keep its spirit alive, introducing it to new audiences and ensuring its place in popular culture.
  • Revivals and Adaptations: The enduring popularity of “Dark Shadows” has led to several revivals and adaptations, including a 1991 television series, a 2004 pilot that was not picked up for a series, and the 2012 film directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp. Each of these attempts to reboot or reinterpret the show highlights its flexibility and the timeless appeal of its characters and stories.
  • Contribution to the Horror and Gothic Genres: “Dark Shadows” has been a significant contributor to the horror and gothic genres, especially on television. Its introduction of supernatural elements into the daily serial format was groundbreaking, offering viewers a daily dose of the macabre mixed with melodrama. The show’s aesthetic and thematic influences are evident in many subsequent horror and fantasy series.
  • Merchandise and Memorabilia: The show has spawned a wide range of merchandise, including books, audio dramas, comic books, and more, allowing fans to engage with the world of Collinwood in various formats. This merchandising also speaks to the show’s commercial impact and the strong emotional connection fans have with the series.
  • Educational and Cultural Studies: “Dark Shadows” has become a subject of academic interest and cultural studies, with scholars examining its themes, cultural impact, and place in television history. It’s recognized not only for its entertainment value but also for its contributions to discussions about genre, narrative, and the representation of supernatural themes.


“Dark Shadows” was a groundbreaking TV show that mixed spooky stories with the drama of a family’s life. Even though it ended many years ago, people still love it today. The actors who brought the Collins family to life went on to do different things, but they all left a mark with their roles on this show. “Dark Shadows” remains a special part of TV history, remembered for its unique stories and characters.

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