Christopher Pennock, star of the 1970s Dark Shadows TV and the soap opera series General Hospital has died at age 76. Pennock was briefly hospitalized on February 12th, before his passing; he had apparently been diagnosed with melanoma (skin cancer) last summer. Though his list of acting credits runs long, Pennock will best be remembered for his role as Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde characters Cyrus Longworth/John Yaeger in the original Dark Shadows series. However, Pennock appeared in several roles of supernatural soap opera during its run, including those of Jeb Hawkes, Sebastian Shaw, and Gabriel Collins. To say he was a staple of the series would be an understatement.
In his long-spanning career of 40 years doing on and off-Broadway stage plays, TV, and film, Christopher Pennock showed up in quite a few places that are now enduringly famous. Dark Shadows was his biggest breakout, but Pennock wracked up over 50 screen credits that ran all the way through 2021. He did General Hospital for an arc after Dark Shadows in the late '70s; The Young and the Restless in the mid-80s; Melrose Place in the '90s; and played up his horror/soap persona in various projects through the 2000s and 2010s, including the series teenage crime drama High, which wrapped in 2020. The makers of High have posted a nice memorial to Pennock.
Pennock's wife Lynn Dunn Pennock made the announcement of the actor's death on the Dark Shadows News Facebook Page:
"It is with tremendous sadness that we share news that #DarkShadows actor Christopher Pennock died peacefully in his sleep in hospital on February 12 at the age of 76. Chris' memorable performances as Jeb Hawkes, Cyrus Longworth, John Jaeger and Gabriel Collins drew a legion of fans, many of whom became close friends through his Facebook postings. Of all the show's actors, few embraced their extended Dark Shadows fan family more enthusiastically than Chris.
Chris' wife Lynn shares: "On this first day of the Tibetan Buddhist New Year, Chris has transitioned into the pure land of Dewachen with complete enlightenment leaving only a rainbow body behind. Coincidentally, as he leaves us all with all the love we have for him in our hearts, he transitions on one of the Four Wheel Days called Chotrul Dechen [Day of Miracles] very auspicious. Om mani padme hung." As a lifelong Buddhist, Chris would doubtless approve.
He is survived by his beloved wife Lynn and daughter Tara. Memorial donations can be made in Chris' name to the mental health charity NAMI: www.nami.org
Messages of condolence can be sent to:
Lynn Dunn Pennock
PO Box 3611
Idyllwild, CA 92549"
Pennock's Dark Shadows co-stars have also posted about his passing:
"Chris was the most fun loving, generous and kind man with a great smile. He was the kind of person this world needs more of…His spirit and joy of life will be with me and all those who were lucky to cross his path." --David Selby
"Such a said day for all of us who loved Chris Pennock. Celebrating his glorious life and spirt while grieving his loss is hard . . . and I'm afraid grief in losing a beloved colleague and dear friend is the dominant sentiment for me today. Chris, you'll always be in my heart." --Kathryn Leigh Scott