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The Master Of Old Horror

  • Dec 20, 2010
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As a child, I was mesmerized by the black and white horror films; never gory or actually scary as the films of today, but with an ambiance of creepiness and a gothic feel that I could never get enough of. Lots of characters come to mind when I think of these wonderful horror flicks; Christopher Lee for instance, but no actor in my opinion could light up the screen as well as Vincent Price.

With his odd but handsome looks, deep and smooth creepy voice,  and powerful presence, he brought a sinister aura to the films he starred in.  Johnny Depp considered Mr. Price one of his idols; he met him and was amazed at his photographic memory; memorizing parts of a book that Depp had brought along with him.  Michael Jackson, in his infinite brilliance, used Vincent Price's voice in his infamous mini-movie Thriller. No doubt Vincent Price has one of the most recognizable voices in the history of film making.  

The following is a brief biography of my favorite silver screen actor.

Lean, effete, and sinister, Vincent Price was among the movies' greatest villains as well as one of the horror genre's most beloved and enduring stars. Born May 27, 1911, in St. Louis, MO, Price graduated from Yale University, and later studied fine arts at the University of London. He made his theatrical debut in the {~Gate Theatre}'s 1935 production of {+Chicago}, followed by work on Broadway, in stock and with Orson Welles' famed {~Mercury Theater}. Under contract to Universal, Price traveled to Hollywood, making his screen debut in 1938's Service de Luxe, before returning to Broadway for a revival of Outward Bound. His tenure at Universal was largely unsuccessful, and the studio kept him confined to supporting roles. Upon completing his contract, Price jumped to 20th Century Fox, starring in a pair of 1940 historical tales, Brigham Young -- Frontiersman and Hudson Bay. Still, fame eluded him, and in 1941 he began a long Broadway run (in {+Angel Street}) that kept him out of films for three years. Price returned to the West Coast to co-star in 1943's The Song Of Bernadette and became a prominent supporting player in a series of acclaimed films, including 1944's Wilson and Laura, and 1946's Leave Her To Heaven.

His first starring role was in the low-budget Shock!, portraying a murderous psychiatrist. He next played a sadistic husband opposite Gene Tierney in Dragonwyck. Clearly, Price's niche was as a villain -- everything about him suggested malice, with each line reading dripping with condescension and loathing; he relished these roles, and excelled in them. Still, he was not the star Fox wanted; after 1947's The Web, his contract expired and was not renewed. Price spent the next several years freelancing with a variety of studios and by 1952 had grown so disenchanted with Hollywood that he returned to the stage, performing in a San Francisco production of {+The Cocktail Party} before replacing Charles Laughton in the touring company of {+Don Juan in Hell}.  Price then signed on to star in 1953's House Of Wax,  Warners' 3-D update of their Mystery Of The Wax Museum.  The picture was one of the year's biggest hits, and one of the most successful horror films ever produced. Price's crazed performance as a vengeful sculptor brought him offers for any number of similar projects, and he next appeared in another 3-D feature, Dangerous Mission. He also made a triumphant return to the stage to appear in {+Richard III}, followed by {+Black-Eyed Susan}. The latter was Price's last theatrical performance for 14 years, however, as he began a very busy and eclectic motion picture schedule.

Though he essayed many different types of characters, his forays into horror remained by far his most popular, and in 1958 he co-starred in the hit The Fly as well as William Castle's House On Haunted Hill. By the 1960s, Price was working almost exclusively in the horror genre. For producer Roger Corman, he starred in a series of cult classic adaptations of Edgar Allen Poe stories including 1960's The Fall Of The House Of Usher, 1963's The Raven, 1964's The Masque Of The Red Death, and 1968's The Conqueror Worm.   He also appeared in a number of teen movies like 1963's Beach Party, 1965's Dr. Goldfoot and The Bikini Machine, and the 1969 Elvis Presley vehicle The Trouble With Girls.  Price began to cut back on his film activities during the 1970s despite hits like 1971's The Abominable Dr. Phibes and its follow-up Dr. Phibes Rises Again.  Instead he frequently lectured on art, and even published several books. For disciple Tim Burton, Price co-starred in the 1990 fantasy Edward Scissorhands; apart from voice-over work, it was his last screen appearance. He died in Los Angeles on October 25, 1993. 

**Biography from http://movies.nytimes.com/person/57806/Vincent-Price/biography


The wonderful thing about Hawaii is, there, it doesn`t take any words at all to say "I love you." You can say it with a pineapple and a twenty.

I hate being old and ill! Don`t get old if you can avoid it!

What`s important about an actor is his acting, not his life.

Doing a religious picture is a boring thing because everybody is on their best behavior - hoping for the keys to the kingdom, I guess.

I sometimes feel that I`m impersonating the dark unconscious of the whole human race. I know this sounds sick, but I love it.

A lot of the recent actresses look and act like my niece. Now, she`s a good girl, but I wouldn`t pay to see her.

A man who limits his interests limits his life.

I don`t play monsters. I play men besieged by fate and out for revenge.

**Quotes from http://www.whosdatedwho.com/tpx_29991/vincent-price/quotes

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April 13, 2011
EXCELLENT, I love Vince as well, excellent job.
December 24, 2010
 I keep on forgetting to finish reading this write up! you've outdone yourself on this one, Brenda! You forgot he did the little scary bit in Michael Jackson's THRILLER? kidding! I knew you wouldn't forget.
December 24, 2010
Never never would I forget that! LOL
December 20, 2010
Great review, Brenda! You already know where I'm going to say I know him from LOL...but, that voice over scared the stuff out of me when I first saw Thriller at 5 years old! I love the quotes section you included- what a wonderfully unique idea.
December 21, 2010
Oh yes that voice -- loved it!! Thanks for the read and comment Samantha my twin!!
December 21, 2010
Anytime, thanks for the awesome review, my twin :)
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About the reviewer
Brenda ()
Ranked #70
I love to read mysteries and thrillers; I am addicted to scary psychological thrillers and horror movies; "The Exorcist" and "Silence of the Lambs" being 2 of my favorites. I love … more
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About this actor


from the trailer for the film Laura (1944) Born Vincent Leonard Price, Jr.
May 27, 1911(1911-05-27)
St. Louis, Missouri, USA Died October 25, 1993 (aged 82)
Los Angeles, California, USA Occupation actor Years active 1938-1990 Spouse(s) Edith Barrett (1938-1948)
Mary Grant Price (1949-1973)
Coral Browne (1974-1991)

Vincent Leonard Price, Jr. (May 27, 1911 – October 25, 1993) was an American film actor, remembered for his distinctive voice, his 6-foot 4-inch stature and serio-comic attitude in a series of horror films made in the latter part of his career.


Vincent Leonard Price II (May 27, 1911 – October 25, 1993) was an American actor, well known for his distinctive voice and serio-comic attitude in a series of horror films made in the latter part of his career.

Price was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Marguerite Cobb (née Wilcox) and Vincent Leonard Price, Sr., who was the president of the National Candy Company. His grandfather, Vincent Clarence Price, invented "Dr. Price's Baking Powder", the first cream of tartar baking powder, and secured the family's fortune.
Price attended St. Louis Country Day School. He was further educated at Yale in art history and fine art. He was a member of the Courtauld Institute, London. He became interested in the theatre during the 1930s, appearing professionally on stage from 1935.

Price was married three times and fathered a son, named Vincent Barrett Price,...
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