John Karlen

John Karlen (born John Adam Karlewicz; May 28, 1933 – January 22, 2020) was an American character actor who played multiple roles on the serial Dark Shadows on and off from 1967 to 1971.

John Karlen
John Adam Karlewicz

(1933-05-28)May 28, 1933
Brooklyn, U.S.
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 series Cagney & Lacey (1982–1988). Karlen reprised the role of Willie Loomis for a series of Dark Shadows audio dramas produced by Big Finish Productions.

Life and career

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 played roles on both stage and television, then played 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 stayed with the television series for 182 episodes, playing various characters through 1971. In addition to Willie, he played Carl Collins, a parallel-universe William H. Loomis, Desmond Collins and Kendrick Young. In the 1971 film Night of Dark Shadows, he played Alex Jenkins along with other cast members from 'Dark Shadows.

While not appearing on Dark Shadows in the late 1960s, 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 additional 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 death

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


1970House of Dark ShadowsWillie Loomis
1971Daughters of DarknessStefan
1971Night of Dark ShadowsAlex Jenkins
1976A Small Town in Texas Deputy Lenny Lutz
1978Killer's DelightDanny
1981Pennies from HeavenThe Detective
1984Racing with the MoonMr. Nash
1984ImpulseBob Russell
1984Gimme an 'F'Bucky Berkshire
1986Native SonMax
1991The Dark WindJake West
1993Surf NinjasMac
2016The Job InterviewThe ApplicantShort film
1949The Big StoryAndy Franks"Theory and Practice"
1957Kraft Television TheatreYoung man"Heroes Walk on Sand"
1959Naked CityChuck"The Manhole"
1959Armstrong Circle TheatrePfc. James Cook"Thunder Over Berlin"
1962The DetectivesFrankie"Strangers in the House"
1962The Gallant MenLieutenant Tyrell"Signals for an End Run"
1963Stoney BurkeMickey"Job"
1963The DoctorsDanny Boy Delaney6 episodes
1963Hallmark Hall of FameNed"The Patriots"
1964East Side/West SideBilly"One Drink at a Time"
1964BrennerBen Laney "Laney's Boy"
1966HawkJohn Polanski"The Longleat Chronicles"
1967N.Y.P.D.Gary Doyle"Murder for Infinity"
1967Love Is a Many Splendored ThingJock Porter"Episode #1.55"
1968Hidden FacesSharkey Primroseunknown episodes
1967–71Dark ShadowsWillie Loomis
Carl Collins
William H Loomis
Desmond Collins
Kendrick Young 
182 episodes
1970Another WorldCaseyunknown episodes
1972Night of TerrorPete ManningTV movie
1972The Sixth SenseEd"Through a Flame Darkly"
1972The Mod SquadJohnny Wexford"Belinda, End of Little Miss Bubble Gum"
1973Shirts and SkinsHerbie BushTV movie
1973The MagicianJim Russel"The Vanishing Lady"
1973EganJack/Ida DeveauxTV movie
1973Wide World MysteryOtto Roget"Frankenstein: Part 1"
1973Medical CenterFrank Crane"Judgment"
1973Police StoryDetective #1"Slow Boy"
1973KojakPinky"Web of Death"
1974The Invasion of Carol EndersDavid HastingsTV movie
1974Wide World MysteryFrank Linwood"Nightmare at 43 Hillcrest"
1974Shazam!Nick Roberts"Thou Shalt Not Kill"
1974Doc ElliotVincent Parker"The Pharmacist"
1974Melvin Purvis: G-ManTony Anthony RedecciTV movie
1975Medical CenterDanny Taggert"No Hiding Place"
1975MannixHood #1"Quartet for a Blunt Instrument"
1975Delancey Street: The Crisis WithinRichard CopellTV movie
1975Trilogy of TerrorMr. AnmarTV movie
1975The Kansas City MassacreSam CowleyTV movie
1975Police StoryRush"Incident in the Kill Zone"
1975Joe ForresterMason"The Witness"
1975Mobile OneMickey Scanlon"The Boxer"
1975The Streets of San FranciscoVernon"Poisoned Snow"
1976The Picture of Dorian GrayAlan CampbellTV movie
1976The Streets of San FranciscoNat Reeves"No Minor Vices"
1976SerpicoEddie Hibbard"Rapid Fire"
1976The WaltonsRev. Ezekiel L. Henshaw"The Baptism"
1976Hawaii Five-OHarris"Anatomy of a Bribe"
1977Police StoryShep"Prime Rib"
1977Charlie's AngelsLeonard Chaffey"Angel Baby"
1977The Feather and Father GangBenton"Welcome Home, Vince"
1977ABC Weekend SpecialBill Leggett"My Dear Uncle Sherlock"
1977HunterPower plant worker"Bluebird Is Back"
1977All in the FamilyLeo"Mike Goes Skiing"
1977Most WantedRed Murphy"The White Collar Killer"
1978KojakHicks"The Captain's Brother's Wife"
1978Barnaby JonesJohnny Alban"A Frame for Murder"
1978Barnaby JonesEasy Eddie"The Scapegoat"
1978The Rockford FilesLeo"Rosendahl and Gilda Stern Are Dead"
1978Colorado C.I.KesslerTV movie
1978The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew MysteriesRocky"The Lady on Thursday at Ten"
1979The Last Ride of the Dalton GangCharlie PowersTV movie
1979Lou GrantKen Navaretti"Gambling"
1979Sword of JusticeJerry Lombardi"Blackjack"
1979The Return of Mod SquadMartyTV movie
1979KazFred"The Battered Bride"
1979SupertrainQuinn"Express to Terror"
1979Starsky & HutchDeputy D.A. Stanton"Ballad for a Blue Lady"
1979Quincy, M.E.Marine Gunnery Sgt. Alistair Adams"Semper-Fidelis"
1979Quincy, M.E.Customs Agent Brice"Hot Ice"
1979Vega$Eddie Stolvak"The Day the Gambling Stopped"
1980The Long Days of SummerDuane HaleyTV movie
1981Vega$Geddes"Out of Sight"
1981Quincy, M.E.Customs Agent Brice"Dear Mummy"
1981American DreamCoach Ritter"American Dream"
1981Trapper John, M.D.Marty"A Case of the Crazies"
1982Rosie: The Rosemary Clooney StoryUncle GeorgeTV movie
1982King's CrossingSheriff"The Home Front"
1982Hill Street BluesCorrupt South Ferry Cop Loomis2 episodes
1982FameDetective Kessler"Tomorrow's Farewell"
1982–1988Cagney & LaceyHarvey Lacey110 episodes
1983Bay City BluesClancy2 episodes
1983The Winds of WarEd PBY Pilot"Into the Maelstrom"
1983Miss LonelyheartsReverend WalkerTV movie
1985Finder of Lost LovesDoctor Arthur Barwell"Final Analysis"
1985Hostage FlightDiSalvoTV movie
1986Welcome Home, BobbyGeffinTV movie
1986The Return of Mickey Spillane's Mike HammerChapelTV movie
1987Downpayment on MurderAlbertTV movie
1987The New Mike HammerAdam Simon"Green Lipstick"
1987DaddyMike BurnetteTV movie
1988Police Story: BurnoutCapt. HarrisonTV movie
1988ABC Afterschool SpecialJoe Farrell"Date Rape"
1989SnoopsLieutenant Sam Akers4 episodes
1989 227Nathan Pollack"Jackée"
1989Baby CakesAlTV movie
1989The Cover Girl and the CopLieutenant WingoTV movie
1989Murder, She WroteLt. Martin McGinn"The Grand Old Lady"'
1990Nightmare on the 13th FloorSgt MaddenTV movie
1991In a Child's NameJoe Silvano2 episodes
1991Perry Mason: The Case of the Glass CoffinJake MorrisonTV movie
1992Murder, She WrotePatrick MacNair"To the Last Will I Grapple with Thee"
1992Calendar Girl, Cop, Killer? The Bambi Bembenek StoryJohn GarnerTV movie
1993Without Warning: Terror in the TowersJack McAllisterTV movie
1994Roseanne: An Unauthorized BiographyJerry BarrTV movie
1994MacShayne: Winner Takes AllWaldo ChurchTV movie
1994Cagney & Lacey: The ReturnHarvey LaceyTV movie
1994–1995Mad About YouGus Stemple3 episodes
1995Murder, She WroteSuperintendent Arthur Joyce2 episodes
1995Cagney & Lacey: Together AgainHarvey LaceyTV movie
1995Cagney & Lacey: The View Through the Glass CeilingHarvey LaceyTV movie
1996Cagney & Lacey: True ConvictionsHarvey LaceyTV 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. [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.