"The horror thriller offers the serious actor unique opportunities to test his ability to make the unbelievable believable."
I love this man! Often noted in Hollywood's golden social circles as, "the ghoul of ghouls!" No doubt he was that .. and with a voice to match! In interviews .. he would often say, "I sometimes feel that I'm impersonating the dark unconscious of the whole human race. I know this sounds sick, but I love it." Shit like this is why I love the man! He wasn't fake, he wasn't a product to market, he WAS talent!! Plain and simple! A straight shooter! He came to Hollywood in a day when a pretty face would get you NOWHERE! It was your talent studios were looking for .. if you had it - you were IN .. if not - seek another profession! His takes were few, when he put his talent to work .. whatever the project - you had pure GOLD on your hands! His evil laugh was legendary!! Who could forget "The Monster Mash?!", or ... yes .. there IS that work he did on the mega-huge 80's tune, Thriller!! Actually, one of my favorite instances from Vincent, comes from my buddy Scott Michael's Find-A-Death page on him.
Lou Carradi sent this in ... As almost everyone knows, Vincent did the "rap" session on "Thriller", the song on the album of the same name. For this work, he was paid a flat fee (probably scale), and thought nothing of it until the album took off like (forgive the pun) a bat out of hell, and became the biggest selling album of all time. Had Vincent and his agent worked out a deal that gave him a percentage of total sales, he would have scored, perhaps, the largest payday of his career. What bothered "The Abominable Doctor Phibes" most, however, was that he thought Michael should have come to his home with another check, just to say "thanks". Vincent let it be known in Hollywood circles how Jackson had given him the shaft (I resist the temptation to add a Michael Jackson joke here). Lo and behold, one day, two of the Jackson brothers showed up at his home with a gold record plaque for Vincent....but that was it! No check....no Bubbles the Chimp....no Elephant Man skeleton! Vincent accepted it graciously, but later scoffed at the gift, exclaiming, "What am I supposed to do? Build a shrine for it?!" Years later, as child molestation charges surfaced against Jackson, Vincent was asked if he thought they were true. He sarcastically replied, "They must be true....after all.....he fucked me too!" Price was a GEM!!!!
Vincent Leonard Price number 2 was born May 27, 1911, in St. Louis, Missouri. The son of a very hard working family. The families fortune was found in his grandpapa's invention of "baking powder." At a VERY young age .. young Vincent had a fixation with the arts. Very much a loner at a young age needing nothing more than a head full of imagination to entertain himself. Something his family really didn't understand .. but being determined .. he attended the private & elite Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School, where he excelled. It was here he found and channeled his creative art. Upon graduation ... young Vincent toured Europe. This solidified a placement for his love of art and so, went on to Yale to earn a bachelors in art history and master in fine art.
By the early 1930's - he developed a sharp interest in theater arts & by 1934 .. was acting professionally touring on-stage drama performances. His eye quickly turned to film and Hollywood was the destination in 1937. He quickly established himself as 'the word' for talent in screen tests, and caught the eye of the new Universal Pictures head (taken from Carl Laemmle), Charles Rogers. Rogers moved swiftly in getting Price a role in Universal's 1938 film, "Service de Luxe." He was signed to Universal... but loaned out to a studio of Warners (Warner Bros), for his second film...1939's "Essex and Elizabeth." After Universal - he led out a nice tenure with Fox and it was quickly found he could take on any role given to him. He went on to a very nice career in Hollywood and solidified himself, and with that, became a freelance to Hollywood. As living arrangements go ..
As far as significant others (wives) go .. the third time was the charm for Vincent. He married Aussie actress Coral Browne. Her death in 1991, hurt him deeply. According to my Find-A-Death friend Scott .. "About 6 months after Coral died, I was scrounging through my files on Vincent, and found his phone number. So, one drunken Sunday afternoon (actually it was my friend Bo's birthday, and she adores Vincent) I called him, and had Bo get on the other phone. He answered the phone (many dogs barking in the background) and I said, "Hello, Mr. Price, my name is Scott Michaels from Chicago. How are you?" Well, he was honest. "Not very well at all." He went on to talk about how he missed his wife, and I expressed my sympathy again. Really sweet man. He did take a second out of his day, to wish Bo a Happy Birthday, and was genuinely not bothered (at least he seemed) about talking. After a couple of minutes I wished him well, and hung up A real nice guy. He died a few months later."
Thus proving Price was FIRST CLASS all the way!!
In later years, late 70's .. Vincent would do fewer feature film roles and go on to have guest spots in commercials, tv shows, and music, and recorded audio horror stories on tape. He successfully hosted a slew of cooking programs for television - thus going back to his other artful passion .. cooking .. and in 1965 released a cook book titled, "A Treasury of Great Recipes." He was a faithful lifelong smoker however .. and in 1992, diagnosed with lung cancer. This ON TOP of the already lingering Parkinson's disease. He continued to work however until it started to become noticeable on-screen. His final few months were spent at home. On the morning of October 25, 1993 (my birfday sadly) .. he succumbed to his illness at home in the presence of family.
His remains were cremated and scattered off VERY peaceful Point Dume in Malibu, California. Through the miracle of the 'interweb,' you can still leave your respects at his virtual grave!!
RIP Vincent! You'll always have a spot in the hearts of many .. including myself!! ........ now ... cue that organ player!