Vincent Price

Facts about Vincent Price

Vincent Price died at 81 years old
Born: May 27, 1911
Best known as: The gentleman horror star who did House of Wax and The Fly



Vincent Price Biography

Vincent Price was a stage and screen actor known mostly as a suave, gentlemanly escort through the world of Hollywood horror, from the 1940s up through 1990’s Edward Scissorshands.

Price was raised in St. Louis, Missouri; his grandfather had made his fortune selling baking powder (with cream of tartar in it) and had founded the National Candy Company, one of the nation’s biggest by the time young Vincent came along.

After graduating from Yale University (1933), Price went to the University of London to earn a graduate degree in fine arts and wound up on the stage in 1935.

By the time he went to Hollywood in 1938, Price was an established star of the English and New York stage. He was put to use as a character actor, often as an effete villain or unctuous foil.

As a horror star, Price had a distinctive voice and a menacing look, but audiences could see that the man himself was an urbane softie.

Price starred in 1940’s The Invisible Man Returns and reprised the role (voice only) in Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).

Despite these early steps into the horror genre, most of his roles then were character parts in mainstream features, including Laura (1944), Dragonwyck (1946), The Three Musketeers (1948), Champagne for Caesar (1950) and The Ten Commandments (1956, starring Charlton Heston).

Price gained more recognition in the 1950s, however, as the star of horror films like House of Wax (1953), The Fly (1958) and House on Haunted Hill (1959).

Then he teamed with Roger Corman to make movies out of Edgar Allen Poe stories (or at least their titles), a run of B-movies that included House of Usher (1960), The Pit and the Pendulum (1961) and The Masque of the Red Death (1964).

Price was on television early on, beginning in the late 1940s. He was a frequent guest star throughout his career as well as a busy voice actor.

His memorable TV parts included the villain Egghead in the series Batman (1967-67) and the host of the PBS series Mystery! (1981-89).

Price’s other films include Son of Sinbad (1955); The Bat (1959); The Raven (1963, with Boris Karloff); The Last Man on Earth (1964); The Oblong Box (1969); The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971); Theater of Blood (1973); The Great Mouse Detective (1986, as the voice of Professor Ratigan); The Whales of August (1987); and The Thief and the Cobbler (1993, as the voice of ZigZag).

Extra credit

Vincent Price was in the Michael Jackson video, Thriller (1983), but received no payment… Off-screen Price was a famous art collector and gourmet chef, and he published several books on both topics… Price began his art collection as a teenager, when he purchased a Rembrandt etching for $37.50 (he said it took him three years to pay it off)… Price was an advocate for American Indian arts and worked with the Department of the Interior as a member (and Chair) of the Indian Arts and Crafts Board (1957-72)… As an art consultant for Sears, Price traveled the world and bought more than 75,000 works of art for Sears to sell to middle class Americans.


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