John Karlen (born John Adam Karlewicz; May 28, 1933 – January 22, 2020) was an American character actor who played multiple roles (Willie Loomis, Carl Collins, William H. Loomis, Desmond Collins, Alex Jenkins and Kendrick Young) on the ABC serial Dark Shadows, in various episodes between 206 and 1245, which aired from 1966 to 1971.

John Karlen
John Adam Karlewicz

(1933-05-28)May 28, 1933
DiedJanuary 22, 2020(2020-01-22) (aged 86)
Years active1949–2016
Betty Karlen
(m. 1963; div. 1998)

In 1971, Karlen starred as the male lead in Daughters of Darkness. He played Harvey Lacey, husband of Mary Beth Lacey (played by Tyne Daly), on the CBS crime series Cagney & Lacey (1982–88). Karlen recently reprised the role of "Willie Loomis" for a new series of Dark Shadows audio dramas, produced by Big Finish Productions.

Life and careerEdit

Karlen was born May 28, 1933, in Brooklyn,[1] the son of Helen Agnes (née Balondowicz) and Adam Marion Karlewicz.[2] He was of Polish descent.[3][4] He enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts on a scholarship.[5] His first acting experiences were on early television productions such as From These Roots and Kraft Television Theatre. His stage career began in 1959 in Sweet Bird of Youth.[citation needed]

He accumulated roles on both stage and television before winning one of his signature roles in 1967 in the daytime serial Dark Shadows. It was Karlen's pivotal character of Willie Loomis who released vampire Barnabas Collins from his coffin, setting off the events of the series.[6] Karlen would stay with the television series for 182 episodes, playing various characters through 1971. He departed the show on two different occasions.[citation needed]

While not appearing on Dark Shadows during those times, he appeared on Love Is a Many Splendored Thing as Jock Porter and Hidden Faces as Sharkey Primrose. He reunited with his Dark Shadows co-stars for the 1970 House of Dark Shadows as Willie Loomis, and, in 1971, with Night of Dark Shadows as Alex Jenkins.[7]

Karlen moved to a series of guest appearances on television productions, establishing himself in 1982 as Harvey Lacey, husband of Tyne Daly's character Mary Beth Lacey on Cagney & Lacey . He appeared in 110 episodes over six years. Karlen won an Emmy Award for his portrayal of Harvey Lacey in 1986; he received 2 further nominations, in 1985 and 1987.[8]

His career included numerous movie roles, during which he reprised the "Harvey Lacey" character in four Cagney and Lacey television movies: Cagney & Lacey: The Return in 1994, Cagney & Lacey: Together Again and Cagney & Lacey: The View Through the Glass Ceiling in 1995, and Cagney & Lacey: True Convictions in 1996.[9]

Personal life and deathEdit

In 1963, Karlen married acting teacher Betty Karlen[10] but divorced in 1998; they had one child, Adam (born 1966).

Karlen died from heart failure in Burbank, California on January 22, 2020, at age 86.[11][12]


Opening date Closing date Performances Title Role Theatre
Mar 10, 1959 Jan 30, 1960 375 Sweet Bird of Youth Tom Junior - Replacement Martin Beck Theatre
Oct 29, 1960 Feb 4, 1961 113 Invitation to a March Aaron Jablonski
Schuyler Grogan
Music Box Theatre
Nov 11, 1963 Nov 16, 1963 8 Arturo Ui Shorty
Lunt-Fontanne Theatre
Jan 1, 1964 Jan 4, 1964 5 The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore Stage Manager Brooks Atkinson Theatre
Feb 18, 1965 Mar 27, 1965 44 All in Good Time Geoffrey Fitton Royale Theatre
Nov 1, 1965 Nov 6, 1965 8 Postmark Zero Unknown Brooks Atkinson Theatre
March 5, 1966 April 17, 1966 49 Monopoly Joe (Monopoly)
Mr. Stein (Suburban Tragedy)
Stage 73


Year Title Role Notes
1970 House of Dark Shadows Willie Loomis
1971 Daughters of Darkness Stefan
1971 Night of Dark Shadows Alex Jenkins
1976 A Small Town in Texas Deputy Lenny Lutz
1978 Killer's Delight Danny
1981 Pennies from Heaven The Detective
1984 Racing with the Moon Mr. Nash
1984 Impulse Bob Russell
1984 Gimme an 'F' Bucky Berkshire
1986 Native Son Max
1991 The Dark Wind Jake West
1993 Surf Ninjas Mac
2016 The Job Interview The Applicant Short film
Year Title Role Notes
1949 The Big Story Andy Franks "Theory and Practice"
1957 Kraft Television Theatre Young man "Heroes Walk on Sand"
1959 Naked City Chuck "The Manhole"
1959 Armstrong Circle Theatre Pfc. James Cook "Thunder Over Berlin"
1962 The Detectives Frankie "Strangers in the House"
1962 The Gallant Men Lieutenant Tyrell "Signals for an End Run"
1963 Stoney Burke Mickey "Job"
1963 The Doctors Danny Boy Delaney 6 episodes
1963 Hallmark Hall of Fame Ned "The Patriots"
1964 East Side/West Side Billy "One Drink at a Time"
1964 Brenner Ben Laney  "Laney's Boy"
1966 Hawk John Polanski "The Longleat Chronicles"
1967 N.Y.P.D. Gary Doyle "Murder for Infinity"
1967 Love Is a Many Splendored Thing Jock Porter
1968 Hidden Faces Sharkey Primrose Unknown episodes
1967–71 Dark Shadows Willie Loomis
Carl Collins
William H Loomis
Desmond Collins
Kendrick Young 
182 episodes
1970 Another World Casey Unknown episodes
1972 Night of Terror Pete Manning TV movie
1972 The Sixth Sense Ed "Through a Flame Darkly"
1972 The Mod Squad Johnny Wexford "Belinda, End of Little Miss Bubble Gum"
1973 Shirts and Skins Herbie Bush TV movie
1973 The Magician Jim Russel "The Vanishing Lady"
1973 Egan Jack/Ida Deveaux TV movie
1973 Wide World Mystery Otto Roget "Frankenstein: Part 1"
1973 Medical Center Frank Crane "Judgment"
1973 Police Story Detective #1 "Slow Boy"
1973 Kojak Pinky "Web of Death"
1974 The Invasion of Carol Enders David Hastings TV movie
1974 Wide World Mystery Frank Linwood "Nightmare at 43 Hillcrest"
1974 Shazam! Nick Roberts "Thou Shalt Not Kill"
1974 Doc Elliot Vincent Parker "The Pharmacist"
1974 Melvin Purvis: G-Man Tony Anthony Redecci TV movie
1975 Medical Center Danny Taggert "No Hiding Place"
1975 Mannix Hood #1 "Quartet for a Blunt Instrument"
1975 Delancey Street: The Crisis Within Richard Copell TV movie
1975 Trilogy of Terror Mr. Anmar TV movie
1975 The Kansas City Massacre Sam Cowley TV movie
1975 Police Story Rush "Incident in the Kill Zone"
1975 Joe Forrester "The Witness"
1975 Mobile One Mickey Scanlon "The Boxer"
1975 The Streets of San Francisco Vernon "Poisoned Snow"
1976 The Picture of Dorian Gray Alan Campbell TV movie
1976 The Streets of San Francisco Nat Reeves "No Minor Vices"
1976 Serpico Eddie Hibbard "Rapid Fire"
1976 The Waltons Rev. Ezekiel L. Henshaw "The Baptism"
1976 Hawaii Five-O Harris "Anatomy of a Bribe"
1977 Police Story Shep "Prime Rib"
1977 Charlie's Angels Leonard Chaffey "Angel Baby"
1977 The Feather and Father Gang Benton "Welcome Home, Vince"
1977 ABC Weekend Special Bill Leggett "My Dear Uncle Sherlock"
1977 Hunter Power plant worker "Bluebird Is Back"
1977 All in the Family Leo "Mike Goes Skiing"
1977 Most Wanted Red Murphy "The White Collar Killer"
1978 Kojak Hicks "The Captain's Brother's Wife"
1978 Barnaby Jones Johnny Alban "A Frame for Murder"
1978 Barnaby Jones Easy Eddie "The Scapegoat"
1978 The Rockford Files Leo "Rosendahl and Gilda Stern Are Dead"
1978 Colorado C.I. Kessler TV movie
1978 The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries Rocky "The Lady on Thursday at Ten"
1979 The Last Ride of the Dalton Gang Charlie Powers TV movie
1979 Lou Grant Ken Navaretti "Gambling"
1979 Sword of Justice Jerry Lombardi "Blackjack"
1979 The Return of Mod Squad Marty TV movie
1979 Kaz "The Battered Bride"
1979 Supertrain Quinn "Express to Terror"
1979 Starsky & Hutch Deputy D.A. Stanton "Ballad for a Blue Lady"
1979 Quincy, M.E. Marine Gunnery Sgt. Alistair Adams "Semper-Fidelis"
1979 Quincy, M.E. Customs Agent Brice "Hot Ice"
1979 Vega$ Eddie Stolvak "The Day the Gambling Stopped"
1980 The Long Days of Summer Duane Haley TV movie
1981 Vega$ Geddes "Out of Sight"
1981 Quincy, M.E. Customs Agent Brice "Dear Mummy"
1981 American Dream Coach Ritter "American Dream"
1981 Trapper John, M.D. Marty "A Case of the Crazies"
1982 Rosie: The Rosemary Clooney Story Uncle George TV movie
1982 King's Crossing Sheriff "The Home Front"
1982 Hill Street Blues Corrupt South Ferry Cop Loomis 2 episodes
1982 Fame Detective Kessler "Tomorrow's Farewell"
1982–1988 Cagney & Lacey Harvey Lacey 110 episodes
1983 Bay City Blues Clancy 2 episodes
1983 The Winds of War Ed PBY Pilot "Into the Maelstrom"
1983 Miss Lonelyhearts Reverend Walker TV movie
1985 Finder of Lost Loves Doctor Arthur Barwell "Final Analysis"
1985 Hostage Flight DiSalvo TV movie
1986 Welcome Home, Bobby Geffin TV movie
1986 The Return of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer Chapel TV movie
1987 Downpayment on Murder Albert TV movie
1987 The New Mike Hammer Adam Simon "Green Lipstick"
1987 Daddy Mike Burnette TV movie
1988 Police Story: Burnout Capt. Harrison TV movie
1988 ABC Afterschool Special Joe Farrell "Date Rape"
1989 Snoops Lieutenant Sam Akers 4 episodes
1989 227 Nathan Pollack "Jackée"
1989 Baby Cakes Al TV movie
1989 The Cover Girl and the Cop Lieutenant Wingo TV movie
1989 Murder, She Wrote Lt. Martin McGinn "The Grand Old Lady"'
1990 Nightmare on the 13th Floor Sgt Madden TV movie
1991 In a Child's Name Joe Silvano 2 episodes
1991 Perry Mason: The Case of the Glass Coffin Jake Morrison TV movie
1992 Murder, She Wrote Patrick MacNair "To the Last Will I Grapple with Thee"
1992 Calendar Girl, Cop, Killer? The Bambi Bembenek Story John Garner TV movie
1993 Without Warning: Terror in the Towers Jack McAllister TV movie
1994 Roseanne: An Unauthorized Biography Jerry Barr TV movie
1994 MacShayne: Winner Takes All Waldo Church TV movie
1994 Cagney & Lacey: The Return Harvey Lacey TV movie
1994–1995 Mad About You Gus Stemple 3 episodes
1995 Murder, She Wrote Superintendent Arthur Joyce 2 episodes
1995 Cagney & Lacey: Together Again Harvey Lacey TV movie
1995 Cagney & Lacey: The View Through the Glass Ceiling Harvey Lacey TV movie
1996 Cagney & Lacey: True Convictions Harvey Lacey TV movie


  1. ^ Ten-Tronck, Rob (2005). Celebrity Birthday Directory. Axiom Information Resources. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-943213-81-1.
  2. ^ "John Karlen Biography (1933-)".
  3. ^ "The Pittsburgh Press - Google News Archive Search".
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ Benshoff, Harry M (2011). Dark Shadows (TV Milestones). Wayne State Univ Pr. pp. 64, 65. ISBN 978-0-8143-3439-3.
  6. ^ Hamrick, Craig (2004). Big Lou: The Life and Career of Actor Louis Edmonds. iUniverse Star. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-595-29716-0.
  7. ^ Hamrick, Craig (2003). Barnabas & Company: The Cast of the TV Classic Dark Shadows. iUniverse, Inc. pp. 70–72. ISBN 978-0-595-29029-1.
  8. ^ "Multiple Emmy Nominations". Bangor Daily News. 23 September 1986. p. 30.
  9. ^ Snauffer, Douglas (2006). Crime Television. Praeger. pp. 123–24. ISBN 978-0-275-98807-4.
  10. ^ Hilton, Pat (June 17, 1984). "John Karlen and Harvey Not So Different". The Spokane Review. p. 57.
  11. ^ McBride, Jessica (January 23, 2020). "John Karlen Dead: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Retrieved January 23, 2020.
  12. ^

External linksEdit