Entertainment Magazine: Celebrities

Stars from the Original Dark Shadows Series Remember Lara Parker

Lara ParkerBy David Block

Fans of the original "Dark Shadows" series, which aired on ABC from June 1966 to April 1971 mourned the recent loss of "Dark Shadows" star Lara Parker (1938-2023) who died this past October.

Parker portrayed several characters in that horror soap opera. Her most famous role was that of the evil witch Angelique Bouchard who turned Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) into a vampire.

In a 1997 interview with this writer, she said that she must have been good because she received death threats and threatening phone calls to leave Barnabas alone. At the time, she didn’t take the threats too seriously like she would have in later years. She merely told people that she was just playing a part and if they had a problem with that, then they should talk to the writers. 

Marie Wallace, who portrayed several characters on
"Dark Shadows," (her favorite being “crazy” Jenny Collins) said that Lara Parker was a bright shining star.

“She was a Gracious, bright, warm and wonderful person,” Wallace said.  Wallace went on to describe Parker as a, “brilliant actress who later turned to writing and proved to be very talented in that area too.

“She was much loved by her fellow actors and fans and will be forever missed,” said Wallace.

Jim Pierson, Marketing Director of Dan Curtis Productions, and who was also the director of "Dark Shadows" festivals for several decades, described Lara parker as a beautiful person not just on the outside but on the inside as well. (Dan Curtis created the "Dark Shadows" series and its 1991 remake.)

“It was hard for Lara not to be a friend to most people,” said Pierson. “She was one of the most loving and giving person I ever knew.”

Lara Parker

Lara Parker as Angelique

Pierson said that she did a great job of being Angelique because of her penetrating eyes, her beautiful face, and her wicked laugh. He liked that Angelique was not 100 percent evil. The character of Angelique always had a reason for causing mayhem.

After Barnabas had his way with her at Martinique, she thought that he loved her, but then she learned that he planned to marry her mistress Josette du Pres (Kathryn Leigh Scott). Then in a later episode Barnabas shot Angelique. He then realized that that was the biggest mistake he could have ever made.

“Lara Parker was so much more than Angelique,” said Pierson. “She valued life on the planet.  She loved animals. Lara always had a horse, dogs, cats, birds, she was so well versed on so many topics because she was well read, she had a high intellect. She wasn’t arrogant and she was down to earth.”

"Dark Shadows" actor Jim Storm concurred with Pierson. (On Dark Shadows, Storm portrayed Gerard Stile, a vengeful ghost who destroyed the Great House of Collinwood.)

“When Lara talked to you, she really talked to you,” said Storm. “There’s so many people who look at you they then move their eyes around because they’re really not interested in what you have to say. Lara wasn’t like that. She cared about what everyone had to say.”

Pierson and Storm said that during the "Dark Shadows" Festivals, the autograph lines were three to four hours long. Many of the "Dark Shadows" stars left while fans were still in line waiting for autographs, but Parker gave autographs to everyone in line.

Her acting career went beyond "Dark Shadows."


DARK SHADOWS - Show Coverage - April 7, 1969. (American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.) LARA PARKER

Parker guest starred on a number of TV shows such as "The Six Million Dollar Man," "The Incredible Hulk," and "Highway to Heaven."

Her movie credits include "Hi Mom" (1970), which featured Robert De Niro; she was in "Save the Tiger" (1973) opposite Jack Lemmon, and "Night of Dark Shadows" (1971) along with Jim Storm and Kate Jackson.

Besides having a distinguished acting career, Parker was a published author; her books included "Angelique’s Descent" (1998) and "Wolf Man Rising" (2013).   

Parker had a cameo in Tim Burton’s 2012 movie, "Dark Shadows," starring Johnny Depp as Vampire Barnabas Collins.

The other stars of the original "Dark Shadows" series who had cameos in that same movie were Jonathan Frid, Kathryn Leigh Scott and David Selby, who portrayed a werewolf and the ghost of Quentin Collins.

In a 2012 interview with this writer, Parker said that when Tim Burton announced to the cast that she and Frid, Scott, and Selby were from the original "Dark Shadows" series:

“The entire cast gave us a standing ovation. Johnny Depp said to Jonathan (Frid), ‘None of us would be here if it hadn’t been for you.’”

Parker acknowledged that the "Dark Shadows" fans kept the festivals and the show itself alive. Parker told me in 1997:

I wasn't sure that people would ever see the show again when it went off the air. Now, it's seen all over the world. There are more fans now than when it was on the network.”


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