Robert Rodan, an actor whose brief career made a lasting impact on young Dark Shadows fans enthralled by his performance as the supernatural soap’s Frankenstein-like character Adam, died March 25 of heart failure in Oregon. He was 83.
His death was announced on the Dark Shadows newsletter Shadowgram.
The imposing Rodan, born Robert Trimas in Newark, New Jersey, was cast in 1968 to play the ABC daytime drama’s latest addition to its stable of monsters. Following the introduction of a vampire, a witch and various ghosts, the Dan Curtis production decided to add a storyline based on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
With stitches scarring his face and manacles often on his feet, Rodan’s Adam began as a silent, childlike innocent who turned violent and monstrous after various mistreatments (the creature had been sewn together from corpses by a mad scientist for the purpose of, somehow, curing the vampire Barnabas Collins, played by Jonathan Frid).
Unlike other performers on the series, Rodan did not portray a multitude of characters; when the Adam (and, inevitably, Eve) storyline came to a close within the year, Rodan left the series. He starred in the 1969 grindhouse drama The Minx before pursuing a real estate career in Southern California.
Rodan returned to the Dark Shadows universe in the early 2000s with occasional appearances on a series of audio dramas.
Rodan is survived by daughters Mandi and Laura, son Jordan and granddaughter Brianna.
The actor’s death marks the third Dark Shadows cast member to pass away in recent weeks. Geoffrey Scott, who played the soap’s Sky Rumson, died Feb. 23 from Parkinson’s disease, and Christopher Pennock, who played a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde character on the show, died Feb. 12 following a battle with cancer.
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