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Barnabas CollinsBarnabas Collins is a fictional character and one of the feature characters in the ABC daytime serial Dark Shadows, which aired from 1966 to 1971.


He was originally played by Canadian actor Jonathan Frid. Barnabas Collins is a 200-year-old vampire who is in search of fresh blood and his lost love, Josette. The character of Barnabas Collins was introduced to the serial in a last-effort attempt to resurrect the flagging ratings. The role of Barnabas Collins was originally intended to be a brief one, to run but a mere 13 weeks, but the popularity of the character and the quick spike in ratings resulted in his continuing on and becoming virtually the star of the show.

One of the most defining features of Barnabas' character development is his very gradual but persistent transformation from a frightening creature of the night into the show's protagonist, where he is the one who selflessly and heroically risks his life time and time again to save the Collins family from catastrophe. Despite this, he was a flawed character whose foibles ensured that he never became the show's outright hero.

In the 1991 NBC revival series of Dark Shadows, British actor Ben Cross played the role of Barnabas Collins. Alec Newman played the part in the unreleased 2004 pilot film. In the recent series of audio dramas produced by Big Finish Productions, he is portrayed by Andrew Collins, with Frid returning one last time to portray the role in The Night Whispers. He is played by Johnny Depp in the 2012 film by director Tim Burton.

Barnabas Collins was a member of the late 18th century-era Collins family, from the fictional town of Collinsport, Maine. He was the son of Joshua Collins (Louis Edmonds) and Naomi Collins (Joan Bennett). Barnabas has many cousins during his mortal lifetime: Millicent Collins and Daniel Collins. He also had another cousin named Alakuz Collins, who died sometime before 1795. In later life, Barnabas intended to marry an heiress from Martinique named Josette du Pres (Kathryn Leigh Scott), although he had a brief affair with Angelique Bouchard (Lara Parker), Josette's maidservant.

Upon Angelique's arrival in Collinsport for the wedding, Barnabas was determined not to resume his affair. Spurned, Angelique, a practitioner of witchcraft, used a number of spells to manipulate Barnabas and his family, culminating in his agreement to marry her.

When Barnabas discovered Angelique's duplicity, he shot her. With what she believed to be her dying words, she took revenge on Barnabas by summoning a vampire bat from hell to attack him. Barnabas fell extremely ill and died. Angelique survived and attempted to rescind the curse, but was unsuccessful.

Shortly thereafter, Barnabas rose as a vampire. He immediately strangled Angelique to death, the only witness to his rising from his coffin. (In death she became a succubus.) Later, he frightened his aunt Abigail Collins (Clarice Blackburn) to death, and entombed alive the hatefully fanatic witch-hunter Reverend Trask (Jerry Lacy) in the Old House basement. Sarah saw her deceased brother roaming Collinwood and hid from him in the cold dark woods all night; because of this she contracted pneumonia and died. To add to Barnabas' grief, his mother Naomi Collins committed suicide after discovering her son's secret. Barnabas blamed Angelique for the deaths of both his sister and his mother. He also blamed Lt. Nathan Forbes (Joel Crothers) because he told Naomi about him. Barnabas strangled Forbes to death. Barnabas also attempted to transform Josette into a vampire. At first, she was willing, if not quite fully cognizant of what this would entail, but then Angelique, who had become far more powerful after her death, revealed to her a vision of what she would become. Fleeing from Barnabas, Josette leaped to her death off the cliffs of Widow's Hill. (In a later episode in the series where Barnabas confronted Angelique, he told her he would never forgive her for bringing about the deaths of Sarah, Josette and Naomi.)

Unable to bear what he had become, Barnabas asked his father, Joshua Collins, to destroy him. However, Joshua was unable to slay his son, and so he ordered Barnabas’ devoted servant, Ben Stokes (Thayer David) to nail a cross to the inside lid of Barnabas' coffin and to wrap chains on its outside, forever imprisoning the vampire in the secret room of the family mausoleum at Eagle's Hill Cemetery.

Barnabas' abilities mimic those of the classic vampire Dracula — these include extra strength, hypnotism, the ability to transform into a bat and disappear and reappear at will. However, Barnabas has also been known to use sorcery. In an early storyline, he attempted to drive Julia mad by conjuring up the spirit of her dead colleague Dave Woodard. In 1795, he briefly resurrected Josette DuPres — who, in the 20th century, would later wander the halls of the Collins mansion in order to warn the family of approaching danger — and he used visions to lure the Rev. Trask into a fatal trap. Although these seemingly magical abilities were never explained, they made Barnabas a deadly protagonist.

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