name Vincent Leonard Price, Jr.
Born May 27, 1911
St. Louis, Missouri
Died October 25, 1993
Los Angeles, California
Height 6' 4" (1.93 m)
Vincent Price is
best remembered for his distinctive voice and serio-comic attitude in
a series of distinctive horror films. His tall stature and polished
urbane manner made him something of an American counterpart to the older
Vincent Price on
Broadway as Mr. Manningham in Angel Street, photographed by Carl Van
Vechten, 1942. His long run in the play kept him off screen for three
years. The play was filmed twice as Gaslight, but Price did not star
in either version.Vincent Price was born in St. Louis, Missouri to Vincent
Leonard Price and Marguerite Willcox. His father was president of the
National Candy Company. Vincent Jr. attended St. Louis Country Day School.
He was further educated at Yale in art history and fine art. He was
a member of Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity and the Courtauld Institute,
London. He became interested in theater in the 1930s, appearing professionally
on stage from 1935. Price's adult height was 6 foot, 4 inches.
He made his film
debut in 1938 with Service de Luxe and established himself as a competent
actor, notably in Laura (1944),opposite Gene Tierney, directed by Otto
Preminger. He also played Joseph Smith, Jr. in the movie Brigham Young
(1940). During the 1940s, he appeared in a wide variety of films from
straightforward drama to comedy to horror (he provided the voice of
The Invisible Man at the end of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
in 1948). He was also active in radio, portraying the Robin Hood-inspired
crimefighter Simon Templar, a.k.a. The Saint, in a popular series that
ran from 1947 to 1951.
In the 1950s, he
moved into horror films, enjoying a role in the successful curiosity
House of Wax (1953), the first 3-D film to land in the year's top ten
at the North American box office, and then the classic monster movie
The Fly (1958).
Price also starred
in the original House on Haunted Hill (1959) as the eccentric millionaire
Fredrick Loren. (Geoffrey Rush, playing the same character in the 1999
remake, was not only made to resemble Price, but was also renamed after
Vincent Price publicity photoIn the 1960s, he had a number of low-budget
successes with Roger Corman and American International Pictures (AIP)
including the Edgar Allan Poe adaptations House of Usher (1960), The
Pit and the Pendulum (1961), Tales of Terror (1962), The Raven (1963),
The Masque of the Red Death (1964) and The Tomb of Ligeia (1965).
These were followed
by numerous other roles throughout the 1960s in which he played characters
in horror films who were often closely modeled on the Corman Poe films.
He has also appeared in The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) and Theatre
of Blood (1973), in which he created a series of campy, tongue-in-cheek
villains. Price also recorded dramatic readings of Poe's short stories
and poems, which were collected together with readings by Basil Rathbone.
In 1968 he played
the part of an eccentric artist in the musical Darling of the Day opposite
Patricia Routledge, displaying an adequate if untrained singing voice.
He often spoke of
his pleasure at playing "Egghead" on the popular Batman television
series. Another of his co-stars, Yvonne Craig (Batgirl), often said
Price was her favorite co-star.
In an often-repeated
anecdote from the set of Batman, Price, after a take was printed, started
throwing eggs at series stars Adam West and Burt Ward, and when asked
to stop replied, "With a full artillery? Not a chance!", causing
an eggfight to erupt on the soundstage. This incident is reenacted in
the behind-the-scenes telefilm Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures
of Adam and Burt.
Price undertook a small part in the children's television program The
Hilarious House of Frightenstein (1971) in Hamilton, Ontario Canada.
His role in the show was to recite simple, silly poems about the show's
various characters, sometimes wearing a cloak or other costumes.
Dr. Phibes (1971)He greatly reduced his film work from around 1975,
as horror itself suffered a slump, and increased his narrative and voice
work. Price's voiceover is heard on Alice Cooper's first solo album,
Welcome to My Nightmare from 1975, as well as the TV special entitled
Alice Cooper-The Nightmare, and on Michael Jackson's music video Thriller
from 1983. Price recorded the central spoken section in Thriller in
just two takes, after it had been written by Rod Temperton in the taxi
on the way to the studio for the recording session. One of his last
major roles, and one of his favourites, was as the voice of Professor
Ratigan in Walt Disney Pictures' The Great Mouse Detective from 1986.
He also starred for a year in the early 1970s in a syndicated daily
radio program, Tales of the Unexplained. He also made a guest appearance
in a well remembered 1972 episode of The Brady Bunch, in which he played
a deranged archeologist.
In the summer of
1977, he began performing as Oscar Wilde, in the one man stage play
Diversions and Delights. Written by John Gay and directed by Joe Hardy,
the play is set in a Parisian theatre on a night about one year before
Wilde's death. In an attempt to earn some much-needed money, he speaks
to the audience about his life, his works and, in the second act, about
his love for Bosie, Lord Alfred Douglas, which led to his downfall.
The original tour
of the play was a success in every city that it played, except for New
York City. In the summer of 1979, Price performed it at the Tabor Opera
House in Leadville, Colorado on the same stage that Wilde had spoken
to the miners about art some 96 years before. Price would eventually
perform the play worldwide and to many, including his daughter Victoria,
it was the best acting that he ever did.
In 1982, Price provided
the narrator's voice in Vincent, a Tim Burton's six-minute film about
a young boy who flashes from reality into a fantasy where he is Vincent
From 1981 to 1989,
he hosted the PBS television series Mystery!. His last significant film
work was as the inventor in Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands (1990).
A witty raconteur,
Price was a frequent guest on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show, where he
once demonstrated how to poach a fish in a dishwasher. He also was a
frequent panelist on Hollywood Squares during its initial run.
Price was also a
noted gourmet cook and art collector. From 1962 to 1971, Sears, Roebuck
offered the Vincent Price Collection of Fine Art, selling about 50,000
pieces of fine art to the general public. Price selected and commissioned
works for the collection, including works by Rembrandt, Pablo Picasso,
and Salvador Dalí (see ). He also authored several cookbooks.
Price was married three times and fathered a son, named Vincent Barrett
Price, with his first wife, former actress Edith Barrett. Price and
his second wife Mary Grant donated hundreds of works of art and a large
amount of money to East Los Angeles College in the early 1960s in order
to endow the Vincent and Mary Price Gallery there. Their daughter, Victoria,
was born in 1962.
Price's last marriage
was to the Australian actress Coral Browne, who appeared with him (as
one of his victims) in Theatre Of Blood (1973). He converted to Catholicism
to marry her, and she became a US citizen for him. According to his
daughter, Price became disillusioned with the faith after her 1991 death.
He died two years later.
Price was a lifelong smoker. He had long suffered from emphysema and
Parkinson's disease, which had forced his role in Edward Scissorhands
to be much smaller than intended.
His illness also
contributed to his retirement from Mystery, as his condition was becoming
noticeable on-screen. He died of lung cancer at age 82, on October 25,
1993. The next night his biography The Versatile Villain, which was
directed by Kerry Jensen, was aired on the Arts and Entertainment Network.
The broadcast began with a note by A&E dedicating the broadcast
to Vincent Price's memory. Tim Burton had been working on a documentary
entitled Conversations With Vincent but shelved the project after Price's
Price was an Honorary Board Member and strong supporter of the Witch's
Dungeon Movie Museum located in Bristol, Connecticut until his death.
The museum features detailed life-size wax replicas of characters from
some of Price's films, including The Fly, The Abominable Dr. Phibes
and The Masque of the Red Death (see ).
A black box theater at Price's alma mater, St. Louis Country Day School,
is named after him.
Vincent Twice was a Price lookalike character on Sesame Street.
He was parodied in an episode of The Simpsons ("Sunday, Cruddy
Price even had his own Spitting Image puppet, who was always seen carrying
some kind of Gothic dagger.
In 1989, Vincent Price was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame.
In 1999, a frank and detailed biography of Vincent Price, written by
his daughter Victoria Price, was published by St Martin's Griffin Press.
Starting in 2005, featured cast member Bill Hader of the NBC sketch
comedy/variety show Saturday Night Live has played Price in a recurring
sketch where Vincent Price hosts botched holiday specials filled with
celebrities of the late 1950s-early 1960s. Other cast members who have
played Price on SNL include "Not Ready For Primetime" castmember
Dan Aykroyd and one-season castmember Michael McKean (McKean played
Vincent Price when he hosted a season 10 episode [this was before he
was hired as a castmember in 1994]).
Donated most of his artwork to East Los Angeles College in Monterey
Park, California. (On exhibit at The Vincent Price Gallery on the ELAC
campus for free. Mon-Thu 12:00pm-3:00pm behind the F-5 Building)
Quiz show champ. Yale graduate, art historian, star of "Dr. Goldfoot
and the Bikini Machine" (1965). Vincent Price played all these
roles to elegant perfection. And while he will always be known as the
Master of Ceremonies of camp horror classics, Price led a full, rich
life of high culture and refinement that belied his often trashy film
Price, Jr. was born on May 27, 1911 in St. Louis, Missouri. He was the
son of parents Vincent Price, Sr. and Marguerite Willcox. He was the
youngest of four children. His father was a wealthy candy factory executive,
and Vincent was raised in an affluent home. From a young age he enjoyed
cooking and art.
After high school,
in 1929, Vincent was sent off to Yale like his father and brother before
him. He graduated in 1933, and took a job at the Riverdale School in
New York, teaching and helping out with odd jobs. In 1934 he decided
to go back to school, and enrolled at the Courtauld Institute of the
University of London. His love of theatre had been building over the
past few years, and he had participated in a few bit parts. In 1935
he took a spot in the Gate Theatre's production of "Chicago."
His next play was "Victoria Regina," and he did some summer
stock work as well. After "Victoria Regina" wrapped up in
London, the play was going to debut in New York. Price was asked to
reprise his role in the stateside performances. He agreed, and returned
to the US.
Regina's" success on Broadway, Price was offered a Hollywood contract.
However, he was still new to acting and wanted to gain experience before
setting off for the silver screen. He continued to do theatre work in
preparation for his Hollywood debut. Meanwhile, he married actress Edith
Barrett on April 23, 1938. When he felt he was ready, he went back to
Hollywood and took a role in his first film, "Service De Luxe."
He was touted as a heart-throb by the studio. After this success, he
continued to do more theatre and film. Price's early career was not
filled with campy horror films. He was an ideal, charming, funny leading
man and even got press in the hunky celebrity magazines.
child, Vincent Barrett Price, was born on August 30, 1940. Vincent was
making films in a contract with 20th Century Fox. He and wife Edith
split in 1944, but reconciled in 1946. Unfortunately, things were not
to work out, and the couple split for good in 1947. Meanwhile, Vincent
continued his film work in movies such as "Laura" and "Up
In Central Park," and had also taken up doing radio shows.
In 1949, Vincent
remarried, this time to Eleanor Mary Grant. The two honeymooned in Peru,
and then settled into their Los Angeles home. They decorated it with
art and antiques because of Price's great love for art. In 1951, Vincent
helped set up a collection of art for East Los Angeles College. It is
still there today, in his name, and his family serve on the board of
his movie career, squeezing in many television appearances as well.
In 1953, he made the picture that is perhaps his most famous, "House
of Wax." Following that film, he did others such as "The House
on Haunted Hill" and "The Fly." It was from this period
that Price became known for his horror movies.
In 1959, Price wrote
"I Like What I Know," and auto-biography filled with lots
of art appreciation content. In early 1960, he began a relationship
with American International Pictures that would produce some of his
best known films, such as "The Fall of the House of Usher"
and "The Raven." In 1961, he was approached to join the White
House Art Committee under Jackie Kennedy. He also penned another book,
"The Book of Joe," inspired by his love of dogs and one of
his own in particular.
Price's second child,
Mary Victoria, was born on April 27, 1962. Price continued to do film,
and even began a partnership with Sears department stores, creating
the Vincent Price Collection of art collectibles. In 1965, he and his
wife published "A Treasury of Great Recipies," highlighting
Price's love of food.
to do film, television, and theatre throughout the 60's and 70's. In
1973, Mary Price filed for divorce. Vincent had fallen in love with
another actress, Coral Browne, and the two married on October 24, 1974.
Vincent's career continued, and in 1980 he began to host "Mystery!"
for television (which he did for the next 10 years). In 1981, he narrated
an animated short called "Vincent," by a young animator named
Tim Burton. Burton was to later do a tribute to Price near the time
of his death.
1980's, Price continued to be appreciated for his work on and off the
screen. He also did many ads for various products including Hangman,
Citibank, and Isuzu. Sadly, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
His wife Coral died on May 29, 1991 of cancer, and Vincent followed
her on October 25, 1993 from Parkinson's and lung cancer.
Vincent Price left
quite a legacy. The Library of Congress' Manuscript Division even asked
to hold Price's personal documents in their collection. He was much
more than a horror actor; he was a good man, an art lover, a great cook,
a writer, and a father. And he is sorely missed.
birth place: St. Louis, USA
actor, Vincent Price, was born in Missouri, and, after graduating from
Yale, studied fine arts in London.
Making his stage
debut in ‘Chicago’ at the Gate Theater, in 1935, he worked
on Broadway, and with Orson Welles’ legendary Mercury Theater.
He debuted on the
screen with ‘Service de Luxe’ in 1938, as part of a Universal
contract, under which he was offered only supporting roles. Leaving
for Twentieth Century Fox, Price starred in ‘Brigham Young Frontiersman’
and ‘Hudson Bay’.
to Broadway with ‘Angel Street’, Price co-starred in ‘The
Song of Bernadette’ in 1943. Happy to be typecast as a villain,
he began making his name in such work as ‘Wilson and Laura’
(1944) and ‘Leave Her To Heaven’ (1946), before finally
starring in ‘Shock!’, and ‘Dragonwick’ (1947).
More stage work
followed his departure from Fox in the early fifties, with performances
in ‘The Cocktail Party’ and ‘Don Juan in Hell’.
In 1953, Price starred
in the 3-D ‘The House of Wax’, which became one of the most
successful horror films ever produced. This was followed by the equally
3-D ‘Dangerous Mission’.
Triumphant in a
return to the stage with ‘Richard III’, Price was now, essentially,
a horror film star. Hits such as 1958’s ‘The Fly’
led to his involvement with producer Roger Corman, for whom Price performed
in many Edgar Allan Poe adaptations, such as ‘The Fall of the
House of Usher’ (1960) and ‘The Raven’ (1963).
over the years included the teen movie ‘Beach Party’ (1963)
and the Elvis film, ‘The Trouble With Girls’ (1969).
In the 1970s Price
devoted himself mainly to art history, lecturing and publishing books
on art history. He re-appeared for a last role in Tim Burton’s
‘Edward Scissorhands’ in 1990, and died in Los Angeles three