British actor Ben Cross–who revived the iconic vampire Barnabas Collins on TV’s Dark Shadows nearly 30 years ago–has passed away at the age of 72.
Cross–who also had roles in such horror features as The Unholy (1988), Hellfire (1995) and The Exorcist: The Beginning (2004)–passed away “after a short illness,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The actor reportedly finished filming his part in the Lionsgate horror movie The Devil’s Light prior to his passing.
Cross–perhaps best known for portraying Olympic athlete Harold Abrahams in 1981’s Oscar-winning Chariots of Fire–also appeared in episodes of The Twilight Zone and Tales from the Crypt, as well as playing Spock’s father Sarek in the 2009 reboot of Star Trek.
The actor–a graduate of London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts–began working in film and television in the 1970s, making his feature film debut in A Bridge Too Far in 1977. He went on to earn more than 100 screen acting credits in his long, distinguished career.
Cross’ portrayal of Barnabas Collins in Dan Curtis’ 1991 reimagining of the original Dark Shadows–which enjoyed a healthy run on ABC from 1966-1971–unfortunately lasted but 12 episodes before the reboot was cancelled.
Cross is survived by wife Deyana, children Theo and Lauren and grandchildren Violet, Zinnia and Alexander. His family released a statement which read, in part, “Today, the world has lost a talent, but our family has lost a beloved husband, dad and grandpa. He was a born showman and entertainer, a walking encyclopedia of music who could sing anything. If you would like to remember him, please make a donation to Save The Children.”
The staff of Horror News Network extends its condolences to Cross’ family, friends and colleagues.