Jonathan Frid Dies, Dark Shadows Star Was 87
updated 04/19/2012 AT 05:45 PM EDT
•originally published 04/19/2012 AT 02:40 PM EDT
In news made public Thursday, Frid died April 14 in Ontario, Canada, where he was born and lived. He was 87.
He died from complications of a fall, said one of his Dark Shadows castmates, Kathryn Leigh Scott, reports The New York Times.
Frid's passing comes just as a new Tim Burton movie version of Dark Shadows is set to open in theaters May 11.
In a statement Thursday, Johnny Depp, who stars as Collins in the movie, said: "Jonathan Frid was the reason I used to run home from school to watch Dark Shadows. His elegance and grace was an inspiration then and will continue to remain one forever more. When I had the honor to finally meet him, as he so generously passed the torch of Barnabas to me, he was as elegant and magical as i had always imagined. My deepest condolences to his family and friends. The world has lost a true original."
A graduate of the Yale School of Drama and London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Frid was a theater actor before appearing on Dark Shadows, which at its peak attracted 20 million viewers and generated 6,000 fan letters a week to Frid. After the show ended, he returned to the stage. He also reportedly makes a cameo in the Tim Burton movie.
In 1991, on the 20th anniversary of the TV show's demise, Frid told PEOPLE: "I only did the part for some pocket money to go teach on the West Coast. And, of course, because I didn't particularly want the job, I got it. An audition room full of cadaverous-looking creeps, and I must have really looked the part."
He added, "I always thought I looked like this damn silly ass. I couldn't believe people were ever really scared."
With additional reporting by JULIE JORDAN