Vincent Leonard Price Jr. (photo ©Carl Van Vechten) was born on May 27, 1911 in St. Louis, Missouri.
Vincent Price studied art history and fine arts at Yale University and in the ’30s he became interested in theater, beginning his acting career on stage in 1935.
Vincent Price made his debut as a film actor in 1938 with the film “Service de Luxe”. In the early ’40s Price worked on Broadway and in 1944 he had a success with critics and audience starring in the film “Vertigo”.
The first Vincent Price horror film – though it was actually a comedy spoof – was “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” in 1948 but in those years he worked in films of various genres, from drama to comedy. Between 1947 and 1951 Price played Simon Templar in the radio series “The Saint”.
In the ’50s Vincent Price started specializing in horror films such as “House of Wax” in 1953, “The Fly” in 1958, its sequel “Return of the Fly” in 1959 and “House on Haunted Hill” in 1959, all films that were remade a few decades later.
In the ’60s Vincent Price starred in a series of low-budget films directed by Roger Corman, particularly the adaptations of several stories by Edgar Allan Poe: “The Fall of the House of Usher” in 1960, “Pit and the Pendulum” in 1961, “Tales of Terror” in 1962, “The Raven” in 1963, “The Masque of the Red Death” in 1964 and “The Tomb of Ligeia” in 1965. In 1964 he also starred in “The Last Man on Earth”, the first adaptation from the novel by Richard Matheson “I Am Legend”.
In the ’60s Vincent Price was also a guest star on several episodes of the television series “Batman” where he played Egghead.
In the ’70s Vincent Price starred in another cult horror film, “The Abominable Dr. Phibes” in 1971 and also in its sequel “Dr. Phibes Rises Again” in 1972. However horror movies went out of fashion and Price took other jobs such as playing Oscar Wilde on stage.
Over the years Vincent Price also participated in musical productions lending his voice to Alice Cooper’s first solo album and the famous “Thriller” by Michael Jackson.
Vincent Price was a guest star in various television series, including the animated “The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo” in 1985.
The last film performance by Vincent Price was in “Edward Scissorhands” in 1990. His participation was shorter than originally planned due to health problems: Price was already suffering from emphysema from smoking and Parkinson’s brought further complications.
Vincent Price died on October 25, 1993 due to lung cancer. His body was cremated and his ashes scattered off Point Dume in Malibu, California.
Throughout his life Vincent Price was married three times, he had a son with his first wife and a daughter with his third wife.
Vincent Price was recognizable for his voice, his aristocratic manners, his height and his expression midway between serious and comic. His presence turned so many films that otherwise would probably have been forgotten in cult movies that are still broadcast on TV today.