Jonathan Frid...the man who originated the vampire role Johnny Depp is playing in the 'Dark Shadows' movie...died last Friday of natural causes. He was 87.

That was Friday the 13th, by the way. Not a bad day for a horror icon to die. There's no word why it took so long for the news to come out. Especially with all the hype surrounding the 'Dark Shadows' movie.

You may not have known this, but 'Dark Shadows' was originally a supernatural soap opera that ran on ABC from 1966 to 1971. Frid joined the cast in 1967, playing a 200-year-old vampire named Barnabas Collins.

He quickly became the star, and the show's most iconic character.

Here's a video of him from the show:

Here's what Frid had to say about the character during a 1991 interview: "I always thought I looked like this damn silly ass. I couldn't believe people were ever really scared."

Depp's movie version of 'Dark Shadows'...which was directed by Tim Burton...comes out May 11th. And Jonathan Frid DOES have a cameo. (Read what happened when Johnny and Jonathan met here.)

Before this cameo, Frid's last movie gig was in 1974, when he starred in a horror flick called 'Seizure'...which was Oliver Stone's directorial debut. Frid went back to stage work after that.

Here's the trailer for the new 'Dark Shadows' movie starring Depp