Lara Parker, Dark Shadows
Producer-director Dan Curtis passed away on Monday from brain cancer. He was 78. Although he helmed such acclaimed miniseries as The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, Curtis was most beloved for dreaming up Dark Shadows, the cult supernatural sudser that ran on ABC from 1966 to 1971.

In a daytime first, DS told soapy tales of vampires, witches, werewolves, ghosts and more. Yeah, this show was famous for its funny gaffes — the harried actors often flubbed their lines on live TV — but fans adored it for its originality, warts and all. My fave Collinwood stories involved Angelique (Lara Parker), the jilted witch who condemned Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) to dwell in misery as a broody vampire.

"When I heard of Dan Curtis' death, I was saddened in a very personal way," Ms. Parker tells "He gave me the best role of my life. Dan elevated the horror genre to a higher plane: Gothic romance. He understood that true horror takes place not in the depiction of blood and gore but in the dark side of the imagination.

"Dan was in many ways a tortured person and he endured many tragedies," she adds, "but he had that brashly ambitious and terrifyingly antagonistic nature that made him a great visionary, and he took television to its highest artistic level. All of us who knew him and worked with him were fortunate."

Click here to read my pal Matt Roush's thoughtful tribute to Dan Curtis and Dark Shadows.