From St. Louis, Missouri
Vincent Price—star in horror films, art collector, and author of gourmet cook books.
Vincent Leonard Price Jr. (1911-1993) was an American actor, well known for his distinctive voice and performances in horror films. His career spanned other genres, including film noir, drama, mystery, thriller, and comedy. He appeared on stage, television, radio, and more than one hundred films. He has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: one for motion pictures, and one for television.
Price was an art collector and consultant, with a degree in art history, lecturing and writing books on the subject. Additionally, he was the founder of the eponymous Vincent Price Art Museum in California. He was also a noted gourmet cook.
Price was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the youngest of the four children. Price attended St. Louis Country Day School. In 1933, he graduated with a degree in art history from Yale University. After teaching for a year, he entered the University of London, intending to study for a master’s degree in fine arts. Instead, he was drawn to the theater, first appearing on stage professionally in 1934. His acting career began in London in 1935, performing with Orson Welles’s Mercury Theatre.
Price made his film debut in 1938 with Service de Luxe and established himself in the film Laura (1944), opposite Gene Tierney, directed by Otto Preminger. He played Joseph Smith in the movie Brigham Young (1940).
His first venture into the horror genre, for which he became famous, was in the 1939 Boris Karloff film Tower of London. The following year Price portrayed the title character in The Invisible Man Returns.
In the 1960s, Price achieved a number of low-budget filmmaking successes starting with the House of Usher (1960), Edgar Allan Poe adaptations of The Pit and the Pendulum (1961), Tales of Terror (1962), The Comedy of Terrors (1963), The Raven (1963), The Masque of the Red Death (1964), and The Tomb of Ligeia (1965).
Price, who studied Art History (along with English) at Yale, was a noted art lover and collector. He was a commissioner of the Indian Arts and Crafts Board. In 1957, impressed by the spirit of the students and the community’s need for the opportunity to experience original art works first hand, Vincent and Mary Grant Price donated ninety pieces from their private collection and a large amount of money to establish the Vincent Price Art Museum at East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park, California, which was the first “teaching art collection” owned by a community college in the United States. They ultimately donated some 2,000 pieces; the collection contains over 9,000 pieces and has been valued in excess of $5 million.
Price also spent time working as an art consultant for Sears-Roebuck: From 1962 to 1971, Sears offered the “Vincent Price Collection of Fine Art,” selling about 50,000 fine art prints to the general public. Price was appointed to the Indian Arts and Crafts Board under the Dwight D. Eisenhower Administration; he called the appointment, “kind of a surprise, since I am a Democrat.”
Price married three times. His first marriage was with former actress Edith Barrett, they had one son, Vincent Barrett Price. Price later married Mary Grant Price, and they had a daughter, Victoria Price, on April 27, 1962. She was named Victoria after Price’s first major success in the play Victoria Regina. Price’s last marriage was to Australian actress and Catholic convert Coral Browne.
Price suffered from emphysema, a result of being a lifelong smoker, and Parkinson’s disease. He died of lung cancer on October 25, 1993, at UCLA Medical Center at the age of 82.
Famous From Missouri
Maybe the scariest man in the world.
The Vincent Price Art Museum at East Los Angeles College
“The Book of Joe”
Actor Vincent Price shares the heartwarming tale of his fourteen-year love affair with his mischievous yet endearing mutt Joe.
Actor Vincent Price won acclaim for his performances as a menacing villain in dozens of macabre horror films, such as House of Wax. Less well known, though, is Price’s lifelong love of animals, especially his fourteen-year-old mutt, Joe. From his wife’s passion for poodles to film set encounters with all types of creatures, including goats, apes, and camels, Price’s life was full of furry, four-legged friends. But it was Joe who truly captured his heart. Intelligent, courageous, and devoted to his owner, Joe was a special dog with a personality all his own.
In this touching and light-hearted memoir, with a new introduction by Bill Hader and a preface by Vincent Price’s daughter, Victoria, Joe gets involved in all sorts of hijinks: At one point, the actor has to defend his canine companion in court! Despite some bad habits, like stealing guests’ shoes, pursuing lustful trysts with neighboring dogs, or belly flopping into the garden fishpond—crushing more than a few fish—Price loves his Joselito, whose unconditional loyalty more than makes up for his minor indiscretions. And when Price’s elderly cousin who comes to stay with him is stricken with cancer, Joe never leaves her side. Price’s tender and witty recollections of his time spent with Joe will bring joy to any animal lover’s heart.
The Vincent Price Family Legacy will donate a portion of the proceeds from this book to the Fund for Animals
“The reason Vincent had a good life was that it boiled down to one word—love. He loved life. He loved art. He loved people. He loved adven-ture. He loved laughing. He loved giving back. Thus his life was filled with joy.”
Vincent Price: A Daughter’s Biography, by Victoria Price
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