Emmy Award winning veteran actor John Karlen died January 22 as a result of congestive heart failure in Burbank, California at the age of 86.
Fans of the Gothic soap opera “Dark Shadows” will remember Karlen as con man Willie Loomis who discovered and awakened Barnabas Collins and became Barnabas’ servant. A time traveling story with cast regulars taking on the roles of other characters in the family saga; Karlen also played the roles of Carl Collins, William H. Loomis, Desmond Collins and Kendrick Collins on “Dark Shadows”.
Even after the show ended, Karlen could frequently be found at a “Dark Shadows” themed festival or convention including the only guest from the show at the first “ShadowCon”
Fans of 1980’s TV will remember Karlen as Harvey Lacey, the husband of police woman Mary Beth Lacy in the police drama “Cagney & Lacey”.Appearing in over 100 film and television productions, Karlen made his screen debut in 1957 on the television series “Kraft Theatre”. His numerous roles include appearances in “The Doctors”, “Love is a Many Splendored Thing”, 179 episodes of “Dark Shadows”, “Mod Squad”, “The Magician”, “Medical Center”, “Hawaii Five-O”, “The Waltons”, “The Street of San Francisco”, “Vega$”, “Fame”, 124 episodes of “Cagney & Lacey”, “Mad About You”, “Murder, She Wrote”, and his final role in the short “The Job Interview” in 2016.
After studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts Karlen began his acting career on the Broadway stage in 1959 with “Sweet Bird of Youth”. Karlen also appeared in the Broadway productions “Postmark Zero”, “All in Good Time”, “The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore”, “Arturo Ui”, and “Invitation to a March”.
He was born John Adam on May 28, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York. He served in United States military during the Korean War.
Karlen is survived by his son Adam and his ex-wife Betty.
feature photo credit: “Dark Shadows” fans Facebook page.