Karlen died Wednesday of congestive heart failure at a hospice in Burbank, Calif., his friend and spokesperson Jim Pierson told the Associated Press.
The actor played conman and scoundrel Willie Loomis on “Dark Shadows,” replacing James Hall, who had abruptly left the show after five episodes. He later played several other roles for the horror soap series that aired on ABC from 1966 to 1971. The Dark Shadows News posted about the news on Twitter.
We are sad to report the death of #DarkShadows actor John Karlen, who played Willie Loomis, the unforgettable foil to Barnabas Collins. John died on January 22 in hospice care in Burbank, California. He was 86 had suffered a number of health setbacks over the past decade… pic.twitter.com/MR0cgzvINc
— Dark Shadows News (@DarkShadowsNews) January 23, 2020
Karlen also played Harvey Lacey, husband to Tyne Daly’s Mary Beth Lacey, on the CBS police drama “Cagney & Lacey” from 1982 to 1988. He received Emmy nominations three years straight for outstanding supporting actor in a drama for his role (1985-97), and won in 1986.
Born John Adam Karlewicz in Brooklyn New York on May 28, 1933, he studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and began his career on stage, appearing in the 1959 Broadway production of Tennessee Williams’ “Sweet Bird of Youth.”
Karlen amassed well over 100 acting credits throughout his television career that spanned from the late 1950s until the 1990s. In addition to his two long-running parts, he had guest appearances and recurring roles on shows including “The Streets of San Francisco,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Hill Street Blues,” “Quincy, M.E.” and “Murder, She Wrote.”
He also made appearances on the big screen in films including “A Small Town in Texas” in 1976, “Pennies From Heaven” in 1981″ and “Racing With the Moon” in 1984. His final major role was a reprise of his Harvey Lacey character for the television movie “Cagney & Lacey: True Convictions,” in 1996.
He is survived by his son, Adam.