'Dark Shadows' Fans Heartbroken After John Karlen Dies at 86

Fans of Dark Shadows and Cagney & Lacey are heartbroken after star John Karlen died this week at the age of 86. The Emmy Award winner died Wednesday of congestive heart failure at a hospice in Burbank, California, his friend and spokesperson Jim Pierson said. Fans of Karlen took to social media to mourn his death.

"RIP, [I'll] remember you fondly, wonderful Dark Shadows memories," one Facebook user wrote.

"RIP John! You were so good on Cagney and Lacy! (sic)" someone else wrote.

"Thank you for the years of entertainment. You will be missed," someone said.

"So sorry Harv. You will be missed. Rest in peace," one said.

"He was such a great actor. Thoughts and prayers to his family," one user wrote.

"John was a wonderful actor. I absolutely loved him in Cagney and Lacy (sic). R.I.P. Mr. Karlen," someone else said.

Kathryn Leigh Scott, an actress-turned-author who was one of Karlen's Dark Shadows co-stars, paid tribute to the actor on her blog. "Memories, memories... this morning I'm awash in memories of darling John Karlen, who left us yesterday. I'm told he passed peacefully, for which I'm grateful, but hardly seems in character for our Johnny. He was such a life force, God bless him! Farewell, my friend. Loved you."

Karlen had reportedly suffered a stroke last year, according to Dark Shadows newsletter ShadowGram.

On Dark Shadows, Karlen played conman and scoundrel Willie Loomis, replacing James Hall who had abruptly left the show after only five episodes. Karlen later played other roles for the horror soap series, which aired from 1966 to 1971 on ABC.

On Cagney & Lacey, Karlen played Harvey Lacey, the husband to Tyne Daly's Mary Beth Lacey, from 1982 to 1988. He received Emmy nominations three straight years (1985-87) for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series for his role on the CBS police drama, and won in 1986.

Among his myriad amount of acting credits throughout his career in television are notable guest appearances and recurring roles on shows like The Streets of San Francisco; Charlie's Angels; Hill Street Blues; Quincy, M.E.; and Murder, She Wrote.


His career even extended to the big screen with films like A Small Town in Texas (1976), Pennies From Heaven (1981) and Racing With the Moon (1984). His final major role, which came in 1996, was a reprise of his Harvey Lacey character for the TV movie Cagney & Lacey: True Convictions.

Karlen is survived by his son, Adam.