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Vincent Price

Vincent Price (May 27, 1911 - October 25, 1993) was an American film actor. He is most well remembered for his roles in a series of low-budget horror films where his distinctive voice and serio-comic attitude were well used.

Vincent Leonard Price Jr. was born in St. Louis, Missouri. His father was president of the National Candy Company. Price Jr. was educated at Yale and the Courtauld Institute, London in art history and fine art. He became interested in theater in the 1930s, appearing professionally on stage from 1935.

He made his film debut in 1938 with Service de Luxe and established himself as a competent player, notably in Laura (1944), directed by Otto Preminger. He acted as Joseph Smith, Jr. in the movie Brigham Young (1940). In the 1950s he moved into horror films, enjoying the 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.

In the 1960s, he had a number of low-budget successes with Roger Corman and AIP including House of Usher (1960) and a number of other horror adaptations such as The Pit and the Pendulum (1961), The Raven (1963), The Masque of the Red Death (1964), The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) and Theatre of Blood (1973). He greatly reduced his film work from around 1975 as horror itself suffered a slump, and increased his narrative and voice work. For example, Price's voice over is heard in Michael Jackson's semi-creepy music video, Thriller and in one of his last major and one of his favourite feature film roles was as the voice of Professor Ratigan in The Great Mouse Detective.

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 theater, on a night about one year before Oscar's death. In an attempt to earn some much needed money he is speaking to the audience about his life, his works and, in the second act, about his love for 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 he 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. Vincent would, eventually, perform the play worldwide and to many, including his daughter Victoria, it was the best acting that he ever did.

His last significant film work was in Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands (1989). Price was married three times. His last was to the actress Coral Browne who appeared with him in Theatre Of Blood (1973). People have said their's was one of Hollywoods great love stories. Friends said Price never recovered from her death. In his later years, Mister Price spoke out against modern "horror" films that glorified violence. He pointed out that his films were harmless spoofs compared. Price was also a noted gourmet cook and art collector. He often spoke of his joy 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.

Price also starred in the original House on Haunted Hill (1959). The actor playing the same character in the 1999 remake was made to resemble Price.

From 1981 to 1989, he hosted the PBS television series Mystery!.

Vincent Price died of lung cancer on October 25, 1993, just six days before Halloween and, eerily, just three days before his biography was aired on the Arts and Entertainment Network.

Vincent Twice Vincent Twice was a Price look-a-like character on Sesame Street.

In 1999 a frank and detailed biography of Vincent, written by his daughter Victoria Price , was published by St Martin's Griffin Press .


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Last updated: 08-01-2005 18:05:49
Last updated: 09-12-2005 02:39:13