Vincent Price

Copyright Michael D. Robbins 2005


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Vincent Price—Actor, Art Connoisseur

May 27, 1911, St. Louis, Missouri, 00:40 AM (Source: birth record) A time of 12:10 AM is also given with Aquarius on the Ascendant. Physiognomically it seems less suitable. Died of lung cancer, October 25, 1993, Los Angeles.

(Ascendant, Pisces with Mars in Pisces; MC in Sagittarius; Moon and Mercury conjunct in Taurus with Saturn widely conjunct both also in Taurus and NN also in Taurus conjunct Mercury and Saturn,; Venus in Cancer conjunct Neptune; Jupiter in Scorpio; Uranus in Capricorn; Pluto in Gemini)

An elegant sophisticate who plays most villain or horror roles; "I'd never turn down a villain, they're the most fun." Films include House of the Seven Gables (1940), Dragonwyck (1946), The Fly (1958) and Master of the World (1961) Widely known as an art expert.


A man who limits his interests, limits his life.

It's as much fun to scare as to be scared.

I don’t want to read about some of these actresses who are around today. They sound like my niece in Scarsdale. I love my niece in Scarsdale, but I won’t buy tickets to see her act.

“I felt that here at last was a chance to expose the U.S. public to fine art at reasonable prices,”

"I don't play monsters. I play men besieged by fate and out for revenge."


Birth 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 Boris Karloff.

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 him.)

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.

Later career
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.[1]

The Abominable 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 Price.

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 [1]). 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 death.

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 [2]).
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 Sunday").
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)

"Gourmet cook. 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 parts...."

Vincent Leonard 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.

After "Victoria 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.

Vincent's first 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 directors.

Price continued 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.

Price continued 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.

Throughout the 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.

Vincent Price
born: 27-05-1911
birth place: St. Louis, USA
died: 25-10-1993

American horror 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’.

After returning 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).

Notable appearances 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 years later.



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