Thursday, April 19, 2012

RIP Jonathan Frid and William Finley

On April 14, two men passed away with little fanfare and little notice from the mainstream media. One was William Finley, star of the cult classic Phantom of the Paradise as well as numerous other roles. The other was Jonathan Frid, star of the classic horror series Dark Shadows

Finley was lesser known than Frid, even in the horror community, even though he starred alongside celebrities like Chick Norris and Jessica Harper, and in films directed by Brian DePalma and Tobe Hooper. Still it was Finley who so many fans remember as Winslow Leech, the Phantom. His unique look lead to many small quirky roles, but nothing compared to the Phantom.

Frid was the man of so many childhood nightmares. His Barnabas Collins was a household name, at least in the horror community. Even many people, who don’t consider themselves horror fans, know the face if not the name, and many, like my late mother, freely interchanged the word Barnabas with vampire.

The media could almost be excused for not reporting heavily on Finley’s death. He was the star of a cult film, who remained masked for most of the film. Not only was his face hidden, but his signing voice was dubbed by Paul Williams for most of the film. Still he was a part of the horror community, our community, and his fans will miss him.

The lack of news on Jonathon Frid is nothing short of perplexing. While many inside the horror community might not know the name Winslow Leech, who is it that doesn’t know Barnabas Collins? The original series was remade in the 80’s with Ben Cross playing Barnabas, and now a remake starring Johnny Depp and directed by Tim Burton is in the works. With a trailer just released, and the movie being talked about, both good and bad, by horror fans, how in the hell was Jonathon Frid’s death not headline news this weekend?

***********(It appears that the Frid family may have only released the information today, which makes sense, still the fact remains that "lesser" celebrites are routinely overlooked by the press and often die with little notice)******************************

Shame on all the “news” sources that ignored these people’s death, they were important to us in the horror community. You have ignored so many others deaths, like Vampira, Ingrid Pitt, and Tura Santana. Maybe they weren’t guaranteed to snatch high ratings like a story about Snooki’s pregnancy, or Beiber’s latest haircut, but dammit they deserved more than they got. They deserve the same respect as others who have done less with their lives and are still celebrities. It pisses me off to see them ignored. It pisses me off to find out, along with so many others five days after the fact, that they have passed away.

RIP William Finley and Jonathon Frid, the mainstream news may have forgotten you, but your fans never will. You will live on in our memories forever
William Finley as Winslow Leech
Jonathon Frid, the original and only Barnabas Collins