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Lara Parker, star of gothic TV soap opera ‘Dark Shadows,’ dead at 84

Flowers on a casket. (Unsplash)

Lara Parker, who starred as the intelligent and conniving witch Angelique Bouchard in ABC’s gothic TV soap opera “Dark Shadows,” died Thursday at her home in L.A. She was 84.

Parker’s “Dark Shadows” co-star Kathryn Leigh Scott shared the news in a Facebook post.

“I have sad news … my beautiful, beloved friend Lara Parker passed away Thursday, Oct. 12,” Scott wrote. “I’m heartbroken, as all of us are who knew and loved her. She graced our lives with her beauty and talent, and we are all richer for having had her in our lives.”

She added, “Family meant more than anything to Lara, and they have wanted these few days since her passing to themselves. Rest in peace, my cherished friend.”

The actor died of cancer, per Deadline.

Parker portrayed the powerful antagonist on “Dark Shadows” opposite the vampire Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) from 1967 to 1971. The duo were locked in a love/hate relationship throughout the series, with an emphasis on hate, as Parker’s character often made the lovelorn vampire’s life a living hell.

More than 40 years after the show’s cancellation, Parker reprised the role of Angelique in Tim Burton’s 2012 movie adaptation of “Dark Shadows,” which starred Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Michelle Pfeiffer and Chloë Grace Moretz.

Aside from her work on “Dark Shadows,” Parker appeared alongside Robert De Niro in Brian De Palma’s 1970 film, “Hi, Mom!” She also starred as a compassionate sex worker in the 1973 Oscar-winning film “Save the Tiger,” starring Jack Lemmon.

Beginning in the late 1990s, Parker wrote four “Dark Shadows”-themed novels. Her first book, “Dark Shadows: Angelique’s Descent,” was released in 1998, with sequels in 2006 and 2013. Her final book, “Heiress of Collinwood,” was published in 2014.

Parker was born Mary Lamar Rickey in Knoxville, Tenn., on Oct. 27, 1938. She began her higher education at Vassar College before transferring to Rhodes College to finish up her bachelor’s degree. Parker also earned a master’s degree from the University of Iowa.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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