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King of the Grand Guignol

He was known as the King of the Grand Guignol, the Merchant of Menace or simply as Bink. A master of many talents; gourmet chef, art collector, writer, painter and actor of stage, screen and television, his film career alone spanned more than 100 films. This tall (6' 4") eccentric, polished gentleman with the singularly distinctive voice and sometimes over the top theatrics is best remembered for his performances in classic camp and horror films of the 50s, 60s and early 70s. He often played the anti-hero who wants revenge on those who wronged him. These atmospheric thrillers were always filled with a sense of black humour with Vincent frequently playing the villain who died screaming.

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Horror Filmography

Tower of London
The Invisible Man Returns
Shock
Dragonwyck
The Web
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
House of Wax
The Mad Magician
The Fly
House on Haunted Hill
The Tingler)
Return of the Fly
War-Gods of the Deep
The Bat
House of Usher
Master of the World
Pit and the Pendulum
Tales of Terror
Tower of London)
The Raven)
Diary of a Madman
The Haunted Palace
Twice-Told Tales
The Comedy of Terrors
The Last Man on Earth
The Masque of the Red
Death
The Tomb of Ligeia
Witchfinder General
More Dead Than Alive
Scream and Scream Again
The Oblong Box
Cry of the Banshee
The Abominable Dr. Phibes
An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe
Dr. Phibes Rises Again
Theatre of Blood
Madhouse
Journey Into Fear
Welcome to My Nightmare
Scavenger Hunt
The Monster Club
House of the Long Shadows
Bloodbath at the House of Death
Dracula, the Great Undead
The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo
The Great Mouse Detective
Vincent Price: The Sinister Image
Don't Scream It's Only a Movie
Edward Scissorhands

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Vincent Leonard Price, Jr. (May 27, 1911 - October 25, 1993), born in St. Louis, Missouri to Vincent Leonard Price and Marguerite Willcox Price. His family started the National Candy Company. Vincent attended the St. Louis, Missouri private high-school, Christian Brother's College continued his education at Yale University where he received degrees in Art History and English then taught school for a year. Price returned to college to take his Masters in Fine Arts at the Courtauld Institute in London, he also studied briefly in Vienna.
An avid art collector, Price and his second wife Mary donated hundreds of works of art and a large monetary gift to East Los Angeles College in the early 1960s in order to endow the Vincent and Mary Price Gallery there, which stands to this day. He wrote a syndicated art column in the 1960s always encouraging others to develop a personal passion for art.

He became interested in theater in the 1930s, appearing professionally on stage from 1935. He made his film debut in 1938 with Service de Luxe and established himself as a competent actor, notably in Laura (1944), directed by Otto Preminger. He acted as Joseph Smith, Jr. in the movie Brigham Young (1940).

In the 1950s he moved into horror films, enjoying the role in the successful curiosity House of Wax (1953), the first 3-D film to land in the year's top ten at the North American box office. He also starred in the original House on Haunted Hill (1959) as eccentric millionaire Fredrick Loren. (The actor playing the same character in the 1999 remake was made to not only resemble, but was renamed after Price.) In the 1960s, Price and Peter Lorre starred as crimefighting antique dealers in the unsold pilot, "Collector's Item." According to Price, when he and Peter Lorre went to view Bela Lugosi's body at Lugosi's funeral, Lorre, upon seeing Lugosi dressed in his famous Dracula cape, quipped, "Do you think we should drive a stake through his heart just in case?"

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Also in the 1960s, he had a number of low-budget successes with Roger Corman and AIP including the Edgar Allan Poe adaptations House of Usher (1960), The Pit and the Pendulum (1961), The Raven (1963), The Masque of the Red Death (1964); he also appeared in The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) and Theatre of Blood (1973). He often expressed an interest in doing Shakespeare, which is why Theatre of Blood was one of his favorite roles.
He often spoke of his joy at playing "Egghead" on the popular Batman television series. He actually started an egg throwing fight while rehearsing on the show. Another of his co-stars, Yvonne Craig (Batgirl), often said Price was her favorite co-star.

In 1964 at the request of a personal friend, he narrated a brief history of Tombstone, Arizona (titled, "Tombstone, The Town Too Tough To Die") for use in the diorama at the site of the O.K. Corral gunfight site. He reportedly recorded the 20-minute piece in a single take at a recording studio in Hollywood, and when asked about his fee, asked for his pal, the owner of the exhibit at the time, to buy him lunch and I'm sure that he didn't have to worry about Medifast coupons. Price never visited Tombstone but his narration is still used in the diorama.

He had his own mail-order book club in the 1970s, "Vincent Price Books", specializing in mystery and detective novels.
He greatly reduced his film work from around 1975, as horror itself suffered a slump, and increased his narrative and voice work. For example, Price's voiceover is heard on Alice Cooper's first solo album Welcome to My Nightmare also playing "the spirit of the nightmare" in Alice Cooper's 1975 television special. “Vincent’s Rap” in Michael Jackson's mini-movie music video, Thriller, is by far his best remembered voiceover. Another of these fantastic renditions was one of his last major and one of his favourite feature film roles, as the voice of Professor Ratigan in Walt Disney Pictures' The Great Mouse Detective, in which two original songs had been written for especially for him.
Price was also a noted gourmet cook and art collector. From 1962 to 1971, Sears, Roebuck offered the Vincent Price Collection of Fine Art, selling about 50,000 pieces of fine art to the general public. Price selected and comissioned works for the collection, including works by Rembrant, Pablo Picasso, and Salvador Dali. He also starred in "How to Make a Movie," a short film that was included in the "Vincent Price: Moviemaking the Hollywood Way," a home movie outfit sold by Sears, Roebuck and Co.

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He was the Wednesday night host for CBS Radio's "Sears Mystery Theater" (1979). He was still Wednesday's host when it became "The Mutual Radio Theater" on Mutual Radio (1980). Host of BBC Radio's "The Price of Fear" (1973-1975, 1983). Vincent portrayed Simon Templar on "The Saint" for CBS Radio (1947-1948), Mutual Radio (1948-1950) and NBC Radio (1950-1951).
He abandoned films in the mid 1970s, in favor of cooking programs for television - he wrote "A Treasury of Great Recipes" (1965) with his second wife, Mary Grant - He also recorded many Gothic horror short stories for the spoken-word label Caedmon Records.

In 1990 Price was hired by Walt Disney Imagineering to voice the role of the Phantom for Phantom Manor, a new ride for the upcoming Euro Disneyland, scheduled to open in 1992. He was given a French script but the takes were so bad, the entire performance was deemed unusable. After working on the French script for over three hours, sessions, gave him an English version of the script. Craig Fleming, who adapted the script and directed the recording Price recorded the entire piece in two takes. The English recordings were placed in the attraction, but after a few months of operation, Euro Disney (the company that owns and operates the resort) felt there was not enough French in Euro Disneyland. So by 1993, in an attempt to add more French to the park, Price's narration was removed from the attraction and replaced by the French spiel, this time recorded by 'Gerard Chevalier' . Price's narration can be found on a Disney Haunted Mansion CD. The CD, which contains a full ride-through of the attraction, claims Price's narration was "never used at Disneyland Paris", but that's because the park was still called Euro Disneyland when it was used. Today the park is now known as Parc Disneyland (as of 2002) and although his narration is long gone, one part of his performance remains in Phantom Manor: his laugh. Although the spoken dialogue of the Phantom character was changed, Price's original recordings of the Phantom's evil laughter still remain intact, inside the attraction.

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He would often attend showings of his films in costumes; often to play pranks on movie-goers. In his later years, Price spoke out against modern horror films that glorified violence, pointing out that his films were harmless spoofs by comparison.
In the summer of 1977 he began performing, as Oscar Wilde, in the one man stage play Diversions and Delights. Written by John Gay and directed by Joe Hardy, the play is set in a Parisian theater, on a night about one year before Wilde's death. In an attempt to earn some much-needed money, he is speaking to the audience about his life, his works and, in the second act, about his love for Lord Alfred Douglas, which led to his downfall. The original tour of the play was a success in every city that it played, except for New York City. In the summer of 1979 he performed it at the Tabor Opera House in Leadville, Colorado on the same stage that Wilde had spoken to the miners about art some 96 years before. Price would, eventually, perform the play worldwide and to many, including his daughter Victoria, it was the best acting that he ever did. From 1981 to 1989, he hosted the PBS television series Mystery!. His last significant film work was as the inventor in Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands (1990).

Price was married three times. Coral Browne (24 October 1974 - 29 May 1991) (her death), Mary Grant (25 August 1949 - 1973) (divorced) 1 child, Edith Barrett (23 April 1938 - 4 June 1948) (divorced) 1 child. Price fathered a son named Vincent, Jr. with his first wife, a former actress named Edith Barrett . Daughter Victoria was born in 1962 to Vincent and his second wife, Mary Grant. Price's last marriage was to the actress Coral Browne who appeared with him in Theatre Of Blood (1973). People have said theirs was one of Hollywood's great love stories; he converted to Catholicism for her, and she became a U.S. citizen for him. Friends said Price never recovered from her death in 1991 from breast cancer. Coral was buried at St. Victor's with a Mozart Requiem Mass accompanied by a full orchestra.
Vincent Price died of lung cancer on October 25, 1993, at 82 years of age, just six days before Halloween and, eerily, just three days before his biography was aired on the Arts and Entertainment Network. He had also long suffered from emphysema and Parkinson's disease, which had forced his role in Edward Scissorhands to be much smaller than intended. His ashes were scattered off the Californian coast of Malibu together with his favorite gardening hat. Vincent Twice Vincent Twice was a Price lookalike character on Sesame Street.

In 1999 a frank and detailed biography of Vincent Price, written by his daughter Victoria Price, was published by St Martin's Griffin Press. At the August 2004 Monster Mania convention in Cherry Hill, NJ, a standing-room-only crowd attended the "Vincent Price Tribute," which consisted of reminiscences of Price from director Roger Corman, actresses Hazel Court and Caroline Munro, artist Cortlandt Hull and moderator Tom Weaver.