Dan Curtis was born August 12, 1927, as Daniel Cherkoss in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Curtis attended Syracuse University before becoming a syndicated television show salesman. He was a director, writer, and producer of television and film.
He is best known for his daytime TV series “Dark Shadows” which originally aired from 1966 to 1971. It was a gothic soap opera that aired weekdays on the ABC television network. Curtis wrote, produced, and even directed some of the 1,225 episodes.
Near the end of the television show, he directed and produced the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie “House of Dark Shadows” followed in 1971 by “Night of Dark Shadows” which he also wrote. In 1973 he started directing and producing other TV horror movies like “The Night Strangler”, “The Norliss Tapes”, and “The Invasion of Carol Enders”.
In 1974, the horror continued with the TV movies “Scream of the Wolf”, “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”, and “The Turn of the Screw”. He also delved into mystery and crime with “Melvin Purvis: G-Man”, “The Wide World of Mystery”, and even comedy in “The Great Ice Rip-Off”.
In 1975, another crime TV movie “The Kansas City Massacre” and the horror TV movie starring Karen Black, “Trilogy of Terror”. 1975-1077 he went back to TV horror with “Burnt Offerings” starring Karen Black, Oliver Reed, and Bette Davis, “Dead of Night”, and “Curse of the Black Widow”. In 1983 Dan directed and produced the TV miniseries, “The Winds of War” which follows the 1971 book of the same name written by Herman Wouk. Just as in the book, in addition to the lives of the Henry and Jastrow families, much time in the miniseries is devoted to the major global events of the early years of World War II.
It was followed by a sequel, “War and Remembrance”, in 1988, also based on a novel written by Wouk and also directed and produced by Curtis. In 1996 he wrote and directed “Trilogy of Terror II” the made-for-television anthology horror film and a sequel to Trilogy of Terror. Dan produced the 1097 TV movie “The Night Stalker” which aired on ABC on January 11, 1972, as their ABC Movie of the Week. In the film, an investigative reporter, played by Darren McGavin, comes to suspect that a serial killer in the Las Vegas area is actually a vampire.
In 1973, he co-wrote and produced the TV movie “Frankenstein”. In 1991, he produced “Dark Shadows”, the re-imagining of the 1966–71 series starring Ben Cross as Barnabas Collins.
Curtis died on March 27, 2006, at his home in Brentwood, Los Angeles, California, twenty days after the death of his wife Norma. He was survived by two daughters.