Sunday, May 27, 2018


I think one of the greatest character actors of all-time was Vincent Price. I am only now discovering what a great talent he possessed. Today is his birthday, so it gives me an opportunity to research this prolific actor more. Price was born in St. Louis, Missouri on May 27th, 1911, the youngest of the four children of Vincent Leonard Price Sr. (July 30, 1871 — June 18, 1948), president of the National Candy Company, and his wife, Marguerite Cobb (née Wilcox) Price (October 28, 1874 — September 12, 1946). His grandfather, Vincent Clarence Price, invented "Dr. Price's Baking Powder", the first cream of tartar-based baking powder, and secured the family's fortune.

Price was of English descent and was a descendant of Peregrine White, the first White child born in Colonial Massachusetts, being born on the Mayflower while it was in the harbor of Massachusetts.Price had some Welsh ancestry as well.

Price attended the St. Louis Country Day School, as well as Milford Academy in Milford, Connecticut. In 1933, he graduated with a degree in art history from Yale University, where he worked on the campus humor magazine The Yale Record. 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. In 1936, Price appeared as Prince Albert in the American production of Laurence Housman's play Victoria Regina, which starred Helen Hayes in the title role of Queen Victoria.

Price started out in films as a character actor. He 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) and William Gibbs McAdoo in Wilson (1944) as well as Bernadette's prosecutor, Vital Dutour, in The Song of Bernadette (1943), and as a pretentious priest in The Keys of the Kingdom (1944).

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 (a role he reprised in a vocal cameo at the end of the 1948 horror-comedy spoof Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein). This would be the start of Price's life long association with horror movies, but Vincent Price was so much more. He was never nominated for an acting award, but I happy to be able to look back on Vincent's legacy some 107 years after his birth....

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