'Dark Shadows' Star Denise Nickerson Dead at 62 Jul 11, 2019 18:04:53 GMT -5
Post by Graveyardbride on Jul 11, 2019 18:04:53 GMT -5
Dark Shadows Star Denise Nickerson Dead at 62
Denise Nickerson, who played the roles of Amy Jennings and Nora Collins on Dark Shadows, died yesterday (July 10) at the age of 62.
Born April 1, 1957, in New York City, she was 11 when she made her first appearance on Dark Shadows as Amy Jennings (above), the younger sister of twins Tom and Chris Jennings, both of whom were victims of the werewolf curse. Following the death of her brother Tom, Amy was sent to Windcliff Sanitarium, where she was treated by Dr. Julia Hoffman. Chris removed her from the hospital and took her to Collinsport, where she was taken in by Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, mistress of Collinwod. Amy and David Collins, son of Roger Collins, became friends and began exploring a closed wing of Collinwood, where they find an old telephone on which they commence talking with a ghost. The ghost turned out to be Quentin Collins, who would owe his later success to Dark Shadows. Fans of the show will recall Quentin had a penchant for playing “Shadows of the Night” on an old gramophone and turned into a werewolf when the moon fulled.
Later, in the 1897 parallel time storyline, Barnabas Collins (the vampire) traveled back in time to find out why Quentin was haunting Collinwood. There he encountered Nickerson in the role of Nora Collins, younger sister of Jamison Collins.
Following Nickerson’s first appearance in Dark Shadows episode 632, broadcast November 26, 1968, like other cast members, she suddenly found herself on the covers of magazines and signing autographs outside ABC’s studios in Hell’s Kitchen, where the series was filmed. Her final appearance on the show April 29, 1970, in episode 1003.
Her most important role after Dark Shadows was that of Violet Beauregarde in the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Before Willy Wonka, she starred in the title role of the notorious 1971 stage musical, Lolita, My Love, a colossal failure. She also appeared on the soap opera Search for Tomorrow, and in The Brady Bunch, Allison in The Electric Company and Michael Ritchie’s Smile.
Nickerson would later say in interviews that she auditioned for the role of the possessed Regan in the 1973 film The Exorcist, but her parents found the material too disturbing. After appearing in Don Weis’ 1978 film Zero to Sixty opposite Darren McGavin and Sylvia Miles (who died last month), she retired from acting to pursue a nursing career.
But she never forgot Dark Shadows and over the years, attended several Dark Shadows Festivals during which stars and fans get together to remember the show that has become a cult classic.
Nickerson had been in declining health since suffering a stroke last year and her son Josh recently announced his mother was in a “coma-like state” following a seizure and bout of pneumonia. Yesterday, she was removed from life-support and died in a hospital near her Colorado home.
Sources: Candace Young, Soaps, July 11, 2019; Andreas Wiseman and Greg Evans, Deadline, July 11, 2019; and Dark Shadows Files.