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Laura Collins Gallery
Laura Collins
Production Information
Portrayed by

Diana Millay
Joanna Going

First appearance


Last appearance


Episode count


Audio appearances

Blood and Fire

Biographical Information

Laura Collins

Also known as

Laura Murdoch Stockbridge
Laura Stockbridge Collins
Laura Murdoch Radcliffe
Laura Murdoch Collins

Supernatural abilities

(As a phoenix)

Family members

Captain Murdoch (Father) Roger Collins (Husband, Grandson)
David Collins (Son, great-grandson)
Edward Collins (Husband)
Jamison Collins (Son)
Nora Collins (Daughter)
Jeremiah Collins (Husband)
David Radcliffe (Son)
Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Granddaughter, sister-in-law)

We have 5 images of Dark Shadows Laura Collins

Laura Collins was a Phoenix. As such, she was supposed to be reborn approximately every 100 years and consumed by fire as an adult every 100 years, but she actually had many lives on the Dark Shadows timeline. She had been married to three Collins, Jeremiah Collins (1700s), Edward Collins (late 1800s), and Roger Collins (1960s). In total there were seven incarnations of Laura seen, or referenced to, during the run of the series. These were:

  • Laura Murdoch Stockbridge - born 1735, died 1767
  • Laura Stockbridge Collins - born 1767, died 1785
  • Laura Murdoch Radcliff - born 1840, died 1867
  • Laura Murdoch Collins - died March 7th 1896 in Alexandria Egypt.
  • Laura Murdoch Collins - 1870s-1897
  • Laura Murdoch Collins - 1930s-1966
  • Laura Murdoch Collins - 1930s-1967

Laura Murdoch Stockbridge[]

Born 1735 and died by fire on October 26, 1767. This woman was part of a sequence of young women with the maiden name of Murdoch that died every 100 years on the same day, often with a boy child named David in her arms. This incarnation of Laura married a male from the wealthy local Stockbridge family. In 1967, after Victoria Winters was led to a cemetery by the ghost of Josette (176), she and her lawyer beau Frank enter a crypt and found the grave of L. Murdoch Stockbridge (coffin buried in a wall behind a stone plaque). The crypt-keeper kept saying "L. Murdoch Stockbridge - Died by fire" over and over. Later, Dr. Guthrie, who is trying to learn who and what Laura Murdoch Collins is (including why she was capable of putting Elizabeth into a coma/trance in the hospital and what her plans were in wanting to take her son David away with her), enters the crypt with Joe Haskell and exhumes the coffin of Mrs. Stockbridge whereby the ghost of Josette opens the lid of the coffin to reveal there is no body there (the phoenix had risen from out of the grave to continue on as a different person). There are not even any ashes left inside the coffin which had been sealed and untouched for exactly 200 years.

Laura Stockbridge Collins[]

Laura Collins in 1785

Laura Stockbridge was the first wife of Jeremiah Collins (740). Jeremiah's nephew, Barnabas Collins was ten years old when Laura came to Collinwood. He recalled her wearing a flaming orange riding habit that would have looked bad on anyone else, but was magnificent on her. There was a portrait of her made sitting in the drawing room of Collinwood (739). Laura remembers Barnabas following her around, a boy with "sad eyes" (759) who was obviously smitten with her (760). She died in a fire on Jan. 25, 1785 (741) and was buried under the old Meeting House in Collinsport. Barnabas suspected this was not exactly true and that his father had the records changed. She and Jeremiah had no children (740). It is important to note that she must have been only 18 when she died, if she were an incarnation of the phoenix, because the previous incarnation was consumed by fire on October 26, 1767.

Laura Murdoch Radcliff[]

Born 1840 and died by fire on October 26, 1867 with her son David in her arms, this incarnation of Laura married a wealthy Radcliff family member. She was buried in the shade of a maple tree in the cemetery outside the large Stockbridge family crypt where one of her previous incarnations had been entombed in what quickly became an empty coffin. In October 1967, Dr. Guthrie, Joe Haskell and the Collins family lawyer, Frank, quickly dug up Laura Radcliff's grave and opened an empty coffin... thus definitively confirming that the 1967 Laura Murdoch Collins (Roger's wife) was a phoenix bent on destroying herself with her son David in her arms on October 26, 1967. The knowledge gained from Dr. Guthrie exhuming the empty coffins of Laura Stockbridge and Laura Radcliff saved the modern David Collins from death by fire in his mother's arms in the Collins family fishing shack by the sea (Victoria Winters was able to get to the shack in time to scream at David not to enter the flames). The fire that killed Laura Radcliff and her son David in 1867 was started by a candle lighting a curtain.

Laura Murdoch Collins[]

In the 1890s, Laura Murdoch Collins was the wife of Edward Collins, and the mother of Jamison and Nora. In 1896 she had an extramarital affair with Edward's brother, Quentin, a practitioner of the occult who was exiled from Collinwood for trying to corrupt his nephew, Jamison. Laura followed him to Alexandria, Egypt where Quentin betrayed her to a cult which sacrificed her to their God (729) on March 7, 1896 (741). About a year later, Laura returned to Collinwood, supposedly to reconcile with her husband, but she really came back to take her children, particularly Nora.

Barnabas, having travelled back in time to the nineteenth century and having not met her in the twentieth century, was shocked to see her (738) and recognized her immediately. He and Sandor located the portrait of Laura Stockbridge Collins among Jeremiah's papers and gave it to her. She acknowledged the resemblance to the portrait, and began to become suspicious of Barnabas (who would have been a teenager or possibly in his early 20s when she last saw him) (740). That night she caught Barnabas and Sandor opening her 18th century grave and later that evening had Magda burn the portrait (741).

Laura Collins in 1897

Once Laura realized Barnabas was her enemy, she began to study the Portrait of Barnabas and then suspected that Barnabas was her young nephew, grown, but still alive. She sent Dirk Wilkins to search through the hidden family papers (755) where he found the diary of Ben Stokes, who hinted at Barnabas' secret, but said he would take it to his grave. He and Laura exhumed Ben's body whereupon they found the remainder of his diary, but Barnabas was there to reclaim it (756). A little more investigation revealed that Barnabas was a vampire, but when Laura went to destroy him, she incurred the wrath of Angelique (757) who enlisted Quentin's help to destroy Laura (759).

At first it appeared Laura had defeated Angelique (758-759), but in actuality Angelique had made a doppelgänger for Laura to kill. She then made Laura appear as she really was when Laura went to get Jamison and Nora, causing them to recoil from her before she was consumed by flames (760).

20th century[]

Born in 1936, Laura Murdoch Collins was the daughter of Captain Murdoch, whom was a captain of a fishing boat,  She used to be good friends with both Burke Devlin and Roger Collins in the mid 1950s. Although she was in fact Burke's girl, the three used to hang out together quite often (13).

One day in 1957, Laura was riding with Roger and Burke in a car that hit and killed a man (7, 43, 44). Roger testified in court that Burke was driving the car and the jury convicted Burke of manslaughter, sending him to prison for five years (13, 17). Burke immediately lost his cool and began threatening to kill Roger. He swore he'd come back to Collinsport and take everything the Collins' owned (21, 24). The day after the trial, Laura and Roger were married. The two immediately relocated to Augusta, and nearly eight months later, their son David was born (2, 13, 32). Laura's marriage to Roger was not a happy one. Roger hated David, wanting to send him away. He often questioned whether he or Burke was the boy's father, causing many fights about Burke. Laura eventually didn't want Roger around (10, 32).

When David was five (132), Laura became unwell and was committed to a hospital, where she remained until 1967 (6, 31). It was later revealed that she suffered from alcoholism and mental illness (129). At the hospital, she dried out and underwent psychoanalysis (130). After her release, she left Maine and Liz sent her monthly checks (130). She settled in Phoenix, Arizona (123).

Laura returned to Collinsport in 1967 (123). She registered at the Collinsport Inn under her maiden name of Murdoch (128). After meeting up with Roger, she indicated that she wanted a divorce and sole custody of David (130). There was a mystery surrounding her in that a body positively identified as her had been found in the ashes of a fire in her apartment in Phoenix, Arizona.

There was contention between her and Josette Collins, that took a long time to be explained. It was eventually revealed that both Laura and Josette were married to Jeremiah Collins. There was a mystery regarding a family heirloom that apparently Laura was in possession of, yet also appeared to be in the fire in Arizona. Victoria Winters recognized this locket not only from a photo in the Collins history that showed it being worn by Josette Collins, but Victoria had actually seen Laura wearing the locket before the police sent a charred version from the death scene of one Laura Collins in Phoenix. The Ghost of Josette attempted to protect David from his mother's diabolical plan of having mother and son die in a fire together, by enlisting the aid of local artist Sam Evans. Sam was compelled to paint a portrait that hinted at Laura's plan. Much mystery surrounded her, but Victoria Winters was able to save the 1967 David Collins from dying in the flames in his mother's arms (191), because Josette had provided enough people with enough clues about Laura Collins' diabolical plans as a child murdering phoenix.

Background information and notes[]

  • As documented in the series bible Shadows on the Wall, Laura was originally envisaged as Roger Collins' alcoholic wife whose sole motive for returning to Collinsport was to claim custody of David. She was then to have died 'under suspicious circumstances', leading to Victoria Winters being accused and tried for her murder. As the series progressed, with its focus shifting towards supernatural elements, Laura was instead made an immortal phoenix, with the alcoholism aspect being downplayed
  • Also, in the series bible, her full name is given as 'Laura Robin Collins'.
  • Laura was first alluded to in 5, though her name wasn't revealed until 32.
  • Pre-Barnabas the Phoenix storyline called for 100 year intervals appearing in, 1767, 1867, 1967. During the 1897 storyline this rule was ignored.
  • If we are to assume that all of the Lauras are one and the same, which seems to be the implication, then it means that Roger Collins married and had a child with his own grandmother, as the Laura Collins seen in 1897 was mother of Jamison Collins, Roger's father, making David Collins, Laura and Roger's son, a product of incest.
    • Another interpretation is that, as a Phoenix, only Laura's soul is immortal. Each Laura died, bodily, and then a new Laura, with the original's soul, emerged from the ashes. She has the life force and memories of each preceding Laura, but they are physically different people. Laura dies and is reborn in a new form. The 1967 Laura did not give birth to Jamison Collins, that being the 1897 Laura.
  • Actress Diana Millay was pregnant during her first appearance as Laura in 1966.
  • Millay turned down the opportunity to play other characters on the show, as she wanted to play only Laura.
  • There were plans for Millay to return for a third stint as the Phoenix had the show continued past April 1971.


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