R.I.P.: Lara Parker of Dark Shadows and Race with the Devil has passed away

Lara Parker of Dark Shadows and Race with the Devil has passed away at age 84, her daughter has confirmed to the press

This month has been full of sad reports of celebrity passings… and unfortunately, today is no different. It has been brought to our attention that Lara Parker, best known for starring in the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows and the 1975 horror classic Race with the Devil, has passed away at the age of 84. Her daughter confirmed to Variety that she died in her sleep at her home in the Topanga Canyon neighborhood of Los Angeles on October 12th.

If you’re not familiar with Parker’s work on Dark Shadows, Variety has the information: “From 1967 to 1971, the Memphis native starred in Dark Shadows as the central antagonist Angelique Bouchard. Set in the fictional setting of Collinsport, Maine, the series follows the town’s founding family, the Collins family. In the show, Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) spurns the besotted Angelique after a brief dalliance with her, unaware that she is a witch. An angry Angelique vows revenge and curses Barnabas into becoming a vampire, which precipitates a volatile love-hate relationship that lasts over multiple centuries.” When Angelique was killed off, Parker continued appearing on the show as a different character, Collins family member Catherine Harridge Collins. 

She also played Angelique in the 1971 film Night of Dark Shadows and had a cameo appearance in Tim Burton’s 2012 film based on Dark Shadows. Parker had graduated from Antioch University with a master’s degree in creative writing, and she put her writing skills to use expanding the world of Dark Shadows in a series of novels: Dark Shadows: Angelique’s Descent (1998), Dark Shadows: The Salem Branch (2006), Dark Shadows: Wolf Moon Rising (2013), and Dark Shadows: Heiress of Collinwood (2016).

In ’75, she shared the screen with Peter Fonda, Warren Oates, Loretta Swit, and R.G. Armstong in Race with the Devil, one of my favorite horror movies. Directed by Jack Starrett from a screenplay by Wes Bishop and Lee Frost, Race with the Devil has the following synopsis: It’s hair-raising thrills as two men and their wives race for their lives in a desperate attempt to elude a murderous group of Satanists. It begins when Roger and Frank witness a human sacrifice in which a young girl is killed. Suddenly they are spotted, and they become the next targets. Ultimately they are surrounded by the forces of evil, and their only chance is one last run across the deadliest stretch of road in the country. With dangerous rattlesnakes, pursuing vans, and demonic witches at every curve in the road – Race with the Devil is a rollercoaster ride through Hell.

Parker had more than sixty screen acting credits beyond Dark Shadows and Race with the Devil, including Save the Tiger, Airport 1975, The China Lake Murders, Doctor Mabuse, Doctor Mabuse: Etiopomar, and Brian De Palma’s Hi, Mom!, as well as episodes of Police Woman, The Rockford Files, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, S.W.A.T., Emergency!, The Six Million Dollar Man, Kojak, The Incredible Hulk, Quincy M.E., Barnaby Jones, Hawaii Five-O, Galactica 1980, The Fall Guy, Manimal, Remington Steele, and Highway to Heaven.

She is survived by her second husband, Jim Hawkins, her children Caitlin, Rick, and Andy, and a grandson. Our sincere condolences go out to her family, friends, and fans.

Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/lara-parker/

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