Sunday, May 3, 2015

Procrastination Corner: Vincent Price Fun Facts

While I figure out how I want to start digging into my next Book Report on A Nightmare on Elm Street (obviously, it won't be out on May 1st), I want to make sure that I'm staying active on here.  My wife asked me what I knew about Vincent Price, and I realized that I don't know next to nothing about him.

Well, that's not true.  Everyone knows something about Vincent Price.  He's one of horror's forefathers, with classic roles in the 1950s and 60s like House of Wax, House on Haunted Hill, The Fly, and a slew of Roger Corman produced adaptations of Edgar Allen Poe stories.  One of the few I've seen is Masque of the Red Death, a delightfully campy take on Poe's Gothic horror short story.  The things that stick out for me from that movie was that they apparently only had the budget to build two or three of the colored rooms from the original story, and Price's villainous Prince Prospero fucking LOVED ordering people to be garroted.

What I've never really known, though, is Price's background.  Where did he come from?  Was horror always his passion?  Was he born in one of those crazy labs or crypts that he spent so much time in for all of his movies?  So I decided to do a little searching to see what I could dig up on the guy.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • He was born on May 25th, 1911, not in a Transylvanian mausoleum as I might have thought, but rather in St. Louis, Missouri.  
  • His father was the president of a candy manufacturer.
  • He was pretty damn tall at 6-foot-4-inches.
  • He has over 100 movies to his credit.  
  • Started acting on the stage, including a stint on Broadway.
  • In his early film work, he often played historical figures such as Joseph Smith and Sir Walter Raleigh.  
  • Once he started playing villains, particularly in the horror films that would define his legacy, he found he had a lot more to work with.  "[The hero] comes out on top, but it's the heavy who has all the fun."
  • Aside from acting, Price's passions were art and cooking.  He graduated from Yale and the University of London with a degree in art history, and he won (or at least tied) on the show "The $64,000 Challenge" due to his expertise in the subject.  In regards to cooking, he has published several cookbooks with his second wife, Mary.  I checked on Amazon, and I'm sad to say that the recipes are not in the least bit spooky.
  • Speaking of wives, he had three of them:  Edith Barrett, Mary Grant, and Coral Browne.  Somewhat surprisingly, each marriage lasted at least ten years.  He's also got two children:  a daughter named Mary Victoria and a son named Vincent Barrett.
  • Even after his breakthrough in horror, he liked to keep busy with TV appearances, with spots in a number of shows, including Batman and The Brady Bunch.
And also, obviously, The Muppet Show
  • He also did his fair share of voice over work for musicians, including Michael Jackson's "Thriller" (duh) and Alice Cooper's "Welcome to My Nightmare."
  • He died of lung cancer on October 25th, 1993.

And finally, because I connect pretty much everything in my life back to The Simpsons:

Further Reading:

Flint, Peter B.  "Vincent Price, Noted Actor of Dark Roles, Dies at 82."  New York Times Online.        October 27, 1993.

Vincent Price. (2015). The website. Retrieved 07:50, May 03, 2015, from

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