John Karlen, 'Cagney & Lacey' and 'Dark Shadows' Actor, Dead at 86

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John Karlen
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

John Karlen -- best known for his long-running roles on the supernatural soap opera Dark Shadows and celebrated cop drama Cagney & Lacey -- has died.

The Emmy-winning actor died of congestive heart failure at a hospice facility in Burbank, California, on Wednesday, the Associated Press reports. He was 86.

Karlen famously played Willie Loomis on ABC's vampire-filled serial drama, Dark Shadows -- as well as several other roles -- from 1967 to 1971, and appeared in 179 episodes of the show, as well as numerous movie sequels to the franchise.

The Dark Shadows News fan account mourned Karlen's death in a post shared to Twitter on Wednesday.

"We are sad to report the death of #DarkShadows actor John Karlen, who played Willie Loomis, the unforgettable foil to Barnabas Collins," the post shared. "He was 86 had suffered a number of health setbacks over the past decade."

Following his prominent role on Dark Shadows, Karlen went on to play Harvey Lacey, the husband of Mary Beth Lacey -- portrayed by Tyne Daly -- on the hit CBS police procedural Cagney & Lacey. 

It was this role that earned Karlen the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series in 1986, as well as two additional nominations. His last major role came in 1996 in the TV movie Cagney & Lacey: True Convictions.

During his prolific television career, which spanned over 40 years, Karlen appeared in over 100 shows and movies. Other acting credits include Hawaii Five-O, Police Story, Kojak, Quincy M.E., Trapper John, M.D., Snoops, Mad About You and Murder, She Wrote, to name just a few.

Karlen is survived by his son, Adam.

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