Be sure to check out: Dark Shadows Journal’s nicely done tribute to Don Briscoe, including an essay by Don’sex toy commercials longtime “pen pal” and friend, Helen Samaras . Don Briscoe played tortured souls on Dark Shadows, plagued by the torments of vampirism and a werewolf curse–situations that tragically mirrored his real life. For decades, the handsome actor battled bipolar disorder, and after walking away from world-wide fame, he died a near-recluse. Don had humble Southern origins: He was born in a log cabin on his grandfather’s cotton farm near Scobey, Mississippi.
After gravitating toward speech and drama at Treadwell High School in Memphis, Don attended the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, then Columbia University in New York, where he studied acting and earned his master’s degree in English. Don’s early acting credits include New York stage appearances in Come Back Little Sheba, The Tavern, and Friends and Romans. NASA officer in the episode titled “A Secretary is Not a Toy,” which aired March 20, 1967. After Tom was staked, Don later played his character’s twin, Chris, a werewolf. Don’s sexy, brooding good looks made him an instant favorite among fans, and he became the subject of countless fan magazine photos and articles. In 1970, he took part in a photo spread in 16 magazine with the groovy title “Don Briscoe Invites You: ‘Come to My Pad.
Don’s sex appeal was a capitalized on in the 1970 film House of Dark Shadows, in which he played Todd, Carolyn’s fiancee and the pajama-clad target of her vampire attacks. He was also featured prominently in some of the film’s advertising, with the suggestive catch-phrase “Come see how the vampires do it. While on Dark Shadows, Don briefly took over the lead role of Donald in the groundbreaking, gay-themed Off-Broadway play Boys in the Band. Keith Prentice and Christopher Bernau also appeared in the play at various times during its initial run. Suffering from ill health brought on by drug experimentation, Don left Dark Shadows and New York.