Elizabeth "Liz" Collins Stoddard - The matron of Collinwood mansion (in Collinsport, Maine just outside of Bangor) who hasn't left the house in 18 years because she believed she killed her husband, Paul Stoddard, and believes that Jason McGuire buried him in the basement. She threatens to become the 4th widow to jump from Widows' Hill. Played by early silver screen actress Joan Bennett (played Amy March in the Katharine Hepburn version of Little Women), whose film career got sidelined by sexual scandal. Also played Naomi Collins and others.
Roger Collins - Liz's brother and father of the troubled David. His wife, Laura Collins, was an immortal phoenix who had married into several generations of the Collins family throughout the ages. Originally starts off high-strung about Burke Devlin coming to town, but is largely later a rather comical due to the very prissy, obviously gay and flamboyant Louis Edmonds. Sometimes jokes about his "incestors". Also played Joshua Collins and others.
David Collins - Originally a very troubled 9-year-old boy who feels threatened that Victoria has been brought in to replace his mother and does things like stealing the bleeder valve from his father's car (causing him an accident, which is blamed on Burke, who hates the Collinses), as he believes his father hates him and wants to send him away. He spends much of his time talking to ghosts (he sees Josette and is befriended by Sarah Collins as a playmate) and the Old House is his playground (until Willie begins throwing him out to keep him safe). When Sarah tells him too much about her brother, he becomes a threat to Barnabas. He is repeatedly saved by Sarah. When he tells too much to Dr. Dave Woodard, who believes his tales (including the coffin in the basement of the Old House) which everybody else assumes are made up, the doctor is killed (with Julia as an accomplice to his murder). Barnabas destroys his credibility by doing things like attacking him in bat-form. David was played by David Henesy.
Carolyn Stoddard - The wild teenage daughter of Liz and Paul who dates serially, likes to go dancing to stock muzak at the Blue Whale and likes to get back at her mother by dating bikers like Buzz. She's bored by life in Collinsport and is uninterested in her original all-American boyfriend, Joe Haskell. At one point, she is bitten by Barnabas and becomes his new minion (her alternate universe self in The House of Dark Shadows is bitten and turned into a vampire). Carolyn, often called "kitten" by Roger, was played by Nancy Barrett. Also played cousin Millicent Collins.
Victoria "Vicky" Winters - Was raised in a foundling home until she is mysteriously requested to become David's new governess at Collinwood. She wishes to find out about her missing past (all she knows is that $50 was mysteriously sent to the orphanage each month from Bangor for 18 years, which insinuates that Liz might be her mother). After his failure with Maggie, Barnabas intends Victoria to be his next Josette, but she loves Burke (whom Barnabas compares to Jeremiah, the husband of Josette), who dies in an Amazon plane crash. Vicky's desire to find family and to belong, makes her very susceptible to wanting to be a Collins (and thus, Josette). She is dressed up in Josette's clothes at the family costume party and given her music box by Barnabas. Josette speaks through Vicky during séances on several occasions. Vicky refuses to believe any warnings she gets about Barnabas and is chronically slow on the uptake. Alexandra Moltke left the role due to lack of growth and the character's stupidity (she would have come back after her pregnancy on the condition that she'd get to play another character such as an evil one).
Maggie Evans - Originally a spunky waitress at the Collinsport Inn and the daughter of alcoholic painter Sam Evans, who is hired to paint a second portrait of Barnabas. She is thought to be the reincarnation of Josette du Pres and Barnabas holds her captive, brainwashes her with Josette's music box and makes her wear Josette's wedding dress. She is visited by the ghost of 9-year-old Sarah Collins (Barnabas' sister) and saved by her. Her boyfriend is Joe Haskell and Willie Loomis has unrequited feelings for her. Maggie suffers amnesia after her trauma and her memory is kept wiped via hypnosis by Dr. Julia Hoffman. Barnabas is paranoid about her memory returning. She eventually replaces Vicky as David's governess. Both Maggie and Josette were played by Kathryn Leigh Scott.
Barnabas Collins - Son of Joshua and Naomi Collins, brother of young Sarah (who knew all of his secrets and was mad about him hurting people), he was intended to marry Josette du Pres, but got into a lover's quarrel with a witch, Angélique, who makes Josette and his Uncle Jeremiah betray him. Barnabas is cursed into eternal life as a vampire by Angélique and he tries to turn Josette. Josette runs from him and throws herself off of Widows' Hill to escape him and hits the rocks upon the sea. After being released by Willie from the coffin which his father interred him in forever in a secret room in the mausoleum, he sets out to recreate his Josette (his obsession), starting first with Maggie and then Vicky (and many others). He introduces himself as a cousin from England, even though he is identical to the portrait of "his ancestor" in the foyer. The only woman who wants him, Julia, is the one he pays no attention to at all. Barnabas, who starts out villainous (originally intended to have his arc play out more like House of Dark Shadows), becomes increasingly sympathetic (even heroic) and was played by Jonathan Frid.
Josette Collins - Barnabas' ill-fated paramour from France who lived in Martinique with her father, aunt and servant Angélique. She arrived in Collinsport, Maine to marry Barnabas in 1795. Barnabas had taught her English in Martinique and had fallen in love with her. Josette appeared as a ghost and in a séance prior to the show introducing Barnabas. Barnabas restored her room in the Old House (and removed her portrait from the parlor and put it back in her room) and kept Maggie Evans captive in it.
Sarah Collins - The 9 (or 11)-year-old ghost girl (often called "little girl") who befriended Maggie and David, whom she wants as her playmates (also visiting Willie, Sam, Woodard, Burke, Carolyn, Julia, etc..., but refuses to visit Barnabas except once to tell him that she's mad at him for hurting people--she also becomes angry with Julia because she liked Dr. Woodard). She is usually heard playing London Bridge on her recorder or singing it. She often talks in riddles and rarely answers questions. She frequently gives gifts such as her ball, recorder, doll, Barnabas' childhood toy soldier, 18th century cap, etc... as protective tokens, but will steal them back (especially if someone has broken a promise to her by telling someone something she said). She died of pneumonia, but had learned the truth about her brother (she was the one person Barnabas had real affection for). Played by Sharon Smythe.
Willie Loomis - The James Dean-esque juvenile delinquent who travels around with Jason and frightens the girls to the point of Carolyn pulling a gun on him, but gets his comeuppance and has a radical personality change (becomes utterly mousy, scared, crying, stuttering and broken--grows a conscience, even though he is often a coward) when he unleashes Barnabas Collins on Collinsport while looking to rob the Collins family jewels from the mausoleum. He is forced to slaughter calves, a few failed attempts to attack girls, keep Maggie thinking she's Josette (at one point stops her from screaming to her father and Joe downstairs, but also gives her poisoned milk that he can't follow through with to spare her from Barnabas' turning her) and do the dirty work for Barnabas, lest he be beaten by his master's cane (he is threatened to be killed and beaten constantly). He has a habit of betraying him and trying to warn the intended victims, including Maggie, Jason, David and Vicky. In one of these attempts to warn Maggie about Barnabas coming after her, he is shot 5 times in the back by police, goes into a coma and is sent to Julia's asylum (if he had awoken without amnesia, Barnabas was poised to kill him before he could tell the sheriff and Dr. Woodard everything). When he returns with his memories (he is needed to dig up graves to get an Eve for FrankenAdam), his unrequited crush is ramped up, but he's very mentally broken and inexplicably becomes loyal to good!Barnabas. He becomes a do-gooder, though he was scapegoated as Maggie's captor, which further makes him an outcast to the community (including getting beaten up a few times by boyfriend Joe when he comes to tell Maggie that he was just trying to warn her, not hurt her). James Hall was the original, creepier Willie for 5 episodes, before being replaced by John Karlen, who was more sympathetic.
Jason McGuire - A slick, suave swindler with an Irish brogue who has dirt on Liz, as he 'buried' Paul in the basement (was Paul's friend and helped Paul leave his wife) and tries to blackmail Liz into marrying him (he wants her money). Jason knows Willie was at the mausoleum because he left his foreign cigarette butt and their relationship becomes strained when Willie becomes weak and ill with major blood loss (and a personality change where he even starts apologizing to the girls he threatened sexually--he also faints in front of Barnabas' portrait) and becomes beholden to Barnabas without explanation to Jason. Jason tries to get Willie to steal jewels from Barnabas, but Willie tries to send him off with a single jewel and warn him away from his master. Jason doesn't head Willie's warnings, breaks into the Old House for Barnabas' riches, discovers Barnabas in his coffin and meets a grisly end. Dennis Patrick played both Jason and Paul.
Dr. Julia Hoffman - A middle-aged doctor and friend of Dr. Dave Woodard (and thus given care of Maggie while she was in her asylum, which Maggie escaped from with help from Sarah) who comes to Collinwood in the guise of a genealogist, but is really there to find out Barnabas' secrets and succeeds. Julia wishes to conduct tests on Barnabas, in order to cure him of his vampiric curse, but ends up turning him into a rapidly aging old man (he cures himself by biting Carolyn). Julia is accomplice to the murder of Dr. Woodard, who learns too much from David and Sarah and she is racked with guilt. Julia has unrequited feelings for Barnabas, but tries to keep him from killing off Woodard, David and Maggie. Julia's control over Barnabas allows him to grow out of being a villain, as she's his only hope for a cure and even the ability to be awake during the day (he wants to walk in the sunlight with his latest Josette figures), even though she wants to cure him for herself and the pride of scientific breakthrough. Played by the frequently bizarre Oscar-nominated Grayson Hall (who apparently inspired a lot of drag queens).
Angélique Bouchard - The immortal witch who was in the guise of Josette's maid and had an affair with Barnabas. When Barnabas intends to marry Josette, she makes Josette and Jeremiah fall in love instead and curses Barnabas into a vampire (she wants him to be with her forever). She was played by Lara Parker.