Vincent Price was an inveterate note writer--mostly using whatever scrap of paper he could find to jot down ideas for future articles, books, etc.
A prolific book, essay, and newspaper article writer, Price's style was warm, erudite yet accessible, and always fun.
Toward the end of his life, Price was working on two books--one about the actresses and other beautiful women he had met and with whom he had worked,
and the other about his life in the visual arts.
We will be selling some of Vincent Price's notes to himself on eBay from these projects!
These are a wonderful glimpse into the mind of one of the 20th century's true Renaissance men! Enjoy!
Apparently Vincent Price didn't hold Las Vegas in high esteem. In these musings on a Riviera Las Vegas envelope,
which measures 7 1/2 x 4 & unfolds to 7 1/2 x 9,
Vincent has handwritten notes in blue & black ink about his (rather low) opinion of Las Vegas.
Quite the fun collectible!
About the beloved, Vincent Price:
Price is best remembered for his roles in horror movies, specifically
the Roger Corman adaptations from Edger Allan Poe. Although these gave
him a wide variety of characters to play and were striking enough, they
type cast him for the remainder of his career. Price did not start out
with the intentions of becoming an actor but rather an art
historian. He obtained degrees in Art History and English at Yale and
then taught school for a year. He felt that he needed to further his
education though as the students seemed to know more than he did! Price
returned to college to take his Masters in Fine Arts at the Courtauld
Institute in London, he also studied briefly in Vienna.
while in London In 1934 that the theatre bug hit him, theatre tickets
were relatively cheap and Price took advantage of this. He first
appeared as an actor at the Gate Theatre, at the time a private
experimental theater, as the judge and a policeman in the play
"Chicago'. He also appeared here as Albert in 'Victoria Regina', the
role that was to bring him to Broadway and the public's attention. The
show's producer Gilbert Miller, decided to take the play to New York
and open with Helen Hayes (the number one actress in America at the
time), in the leading role. Miller also decided to take Vincent Price
to New York to play opposite her. The play opened on the 26th December
1935 and ran for three years.
The program notes in the original
1936 playbill give an interesting insight into Vincent Price's entrance
to the theatrical profession....
"Vincent Price's appearance as
leading man to Helen Hayes marks his professional as well as his
American debut on the stage. This extraordinary circumstance is due to
the fact that although Mr. Price has had stage aspirations since he was
ten years old, he was forced to earn his living as a schoolmaster until
mere chance decreed otherwise.
He was studying the history of
German art at the Courtauld Institute in London when a friend took him
to London's Gate Theater, where casting of Maurine Watkins' "Chicago"
was in process. American accents being at a premium, Mr. Price was
thrust into the production and found himself doubling as a burly
policeman and a venerable judge. His remarkable resemblance to Prince
Albert led to his being offered the important role of the Price Consort
in the ensuing production of "Victoria Regina".
He received glowing notices and was subsequently signed by Gilbert Miller for the American production."
accurate that "he was forced to earn his living as a schoolmaster until
mere chance decreed otherwise." is probably an exaggeration, his father
did own the National Candy Company in St Louis.
Price's love of
art never left him and he used his education to good advantage. He was
responsible, in 1951, of founding the Vincent Price Gallery, with his
then wife Mary Grant Price on the campus of East Los Angeles Collage.
Price had been invited to lecture on the ''Aesthetic Responsibilities
of the Citizen,'' he arrived to find he was, ''speaking in a Quonset
hut on a mud flat.''
He was so struck by the students' spirits
and the need for the community to have the opportunity to experience
original art works first hand, Price donated some ninety pieces which
established the first ''teaching art collection'' owned by a community
college in the United States. Over the decades, Price and other patrons
continued to contribute art with the goal of illustrating diverse
periods, styles, mediums, and techniques: from Egyptian sculpture circa
600 BC to 1990s serigraphs. He continued to maintain a hands-on
interest in the gallery with selecting exhibits and developing a fund
raising program to which he leant his name and support. In 1991, he was
''We just wanted it to serve the community. We didn't
want to make publicity out of it since everything actors do is suspect!
We just shut up and let it grow.''
Price's love of American
Indian Art led to another little known side of him, his work for Native
Americans, he worked for 15 years with the Department of the Interior
and was quoted as saying in an interview:
"I have an enormous
respect for the American Indian. I think we shut them off, at a period
when they might have become the most creative people on the face of the
earth. But we killed them off."
Prior to his movie career Price
joined Orson Wells' Mercury Theatre for a brief spell, here he claimed,
everyone in the company had a disagreement with Wells at some point or
another. Price's first movie was "Service DeLuxe" in 1938 and he went
on to play such diverse historical characters as Raleigh, Clarence,
Richelieu, Charles II and the Mormon Joseph Smith. He was also cast in
several films as a charming but effete young man, notably in 'Laura'
(1944) and 'The Fly' (1958). The occasional horror role came his way
too at this time, he reveled in the old Lionel Atwell part of the
demented sculptor in "The House of Wax" (1953). Price's niche in the
horror movie genre was carved in 1960 with the classic movie "The Fall
of the House of Usher".
Price did return to the stage in later
years. He toured his one-man show of Oscar Wilde throughout America for
many years to great acclaim. It was a demonstration of the excellence
performing skills of Vincent Price and an escape from the type casting.
his later years, Price became involved with the rock & roll
industry, he was involved in music videos with performers including
Alice Cooper, Ringo Starr, and Michael Jackson. Price had his own ideas
why he was chosen for this honor.
"I have great admiration for
rock `n roll, but not when it's done badly. My God! You know, I have a
theory about how I get selected for these things. I think they've based
a lot of their stuff on my movies. They go out and do the rock `n roll,
and they're all high, and making the noise and flying around, and then
they go back to their hotel room, turn on the TV, and there I am! Alice
and I met a couple of times, and I liked him, then he asked me to do
'Welcome to My Nightmare'. Then one time I got a call and they said
would you come and do a recording with Michael Jackson, called
'Thriller'. I said, "Sure, I'll do anything." So I went and did it, and
I didn't think anything would happen with it, than it came out and sold
40 million copies! I didn't do it for the money, because I didn't have
a percentage of it. It was just fun to do.
You know to be
identified with the most popular record ever made is not just chopped
liver! It has really done me a lot of good, because it has given me a
new audience. "
As if Price didn't have enough to occupy himself
during his career as an actor, he began another career as a TV chef,
which ran for several series. He had a reputation as an outstanding
cook and collector of recipes. He also found time to write a book ,
Towards the end of his life, he was struck with a great
personal loss. His beloved third wife, Coral Browne, succumbed to
breast cancer two days after Vincent Price's 80th birthday on May 29th,
1991. In the Autumn of that year a memorial service was held at
London's Farmers Church, many of Coral Browne's friends from the
Theater and Film attended. Price's own frail health made it impossible
for him to be at the memorial in person. A letter written by Price was
read out by director John Schlesinger --
I was courting Coral, the first gift she gave me was a photo of herself
simply signed, "Remember Coral" -- not really a challenge as the
problem was, how could you forget her? I've come to believe remembering
someone is not the highest compliment -- it is missing them. I find I
miss every hour of Coral's life -- I miss her morning cloudiness, noon
mellowness, evening brightness. I miss her in every corner of our
house, every crevice of my life. In missing her, I feel I'm missing
much of life itself. Over her long illness, as I held her hand or
stroked her brow, or just lay still beside her, it was not the
affectionate contact we'd known as we wandered down the glamorous paths
we'd been privileged to share in our few years together; we were
marching towards the end of our time and we both knew it. But, in our
looks, our smiles, the private, few, soft-spoken word, there was hope
of other places, other ways, perhaps, to meet again.
One fact of
Coral I'll always miss, her many, many devoted friends -- many here,
today, in this beautiful church, celebrating her life more than
mourning her death, and missing the liveliness of her wit, her personal
beauty, her outgoing self. I love them all for loving her. Many of you
have shared more of her life than I have, but that very private and
intense passion for her is mine alone.
She survived that last
long year on the love of her friends, their caring and concern -- and
very especially yours, dear John. I miss you all, and though we may not
meet as often, nor in the great good company of my wife, you are in my
All my love,
Posted with eBay Mobile