R.I.P. John Karlen, star of Dark Shadows and Cagney & Lacey

By: Start TV Staff     Posted: January 23, 2020, 10:28AM    Tags: news, Obituaries

Image: Everett Collection

John Karlen, known for his multiple roles on the long-running 1966 show Dark Shadows and his portrayal of Harvey Lacey on the 1982 show Cagney & Lacey, passed away on January 22, 2020.

Karlen was a regular on police shows, guest-starring on programs like Barnaby Jones, Hawaii Five-O, Mannix, Police Story and Hill Street Blues

His first starring role and the one that many remember him for was his part as Willie Loomis, the man who releases vampire Barnabas Collins from his coffin on Dark Shadows. Like many of the cast, Karlen played multiple roles on the series. He would later play Carl Collins, Desmond Collins, and Kendrick Young. He stayed with the show until its end in 1971. 

Karlen's other famous role was that of Harvey Lacey, the husband of Tyne Daly's Mary Beth Lacey on the show Cagney & Lacey. Karlen's character was integral to part of the show's appeal. While Cagney was a single career woman, Lacey had a husband and children and audiences tuned in to see how they worked together with such different lives.

Karlen would reprise the role of Harvey Lacey in all four Cagney & Lacey television movies, produced in 1994–96. 

The actor was 86 years old.

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