Victoria Price presents Phibes
Leon casino, “I have a 40-minute talk I give about my dad,” says Victoria Price in a phone interview with Free Press Houston. The talk includes home movies and pictures. “It covers my dad’s career and philosophy of life.”
Vincent Price in addition to being a renown actor in movies, first in great character roles in many classic films like Laura (1944), at a certain point in the late-50s and 60s evolved into the go-to actor for the macabre.
Think of movies like The Tingler (1959), The Masque of the Red Death (1964), The Tomb of Ligeia (1964), and the Conqueror Worm (1968). In the same decade Price would pop up as a guest star in cult television series like The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (The Foxes and Hounds Affair, 1965) and a seven-episode stint on Batman (’66-’67) as the villain Egghead.
Price was also a gourmet, and “A Treasury of Great Recipes,” first published in 1965 is considered a classic among books, and not just cookbooks. Price drew on his experience as a traveler and obtained recipes from the greatest restaurants in the greatest cities.
But there’s levity to the book in that Price covered the waterfront. He went to the finest restaurants in Paris and he also sought food from places like the local ballpark. Price will advise one to squeeze the spinach dry of moisture as much as he will extoll the virtues of a planked baked fish, browned and surrounded with colorful veggies.
Vincent Price was generous to his fans. I personally know that when Price was in Houston in the early ‘80s performing his one-man Oscar Wilde show that he spent a couple of hours singing autographs for a friend of mine who had a voluminous collection of Price-related photos, posters and lobby cards. “He never said no,” says Victoria. “In 1936 he starred in the Broadway play “Victoria Regina” with Helen Hayes. She taught him that an actor is a public servant. It really said to him that you never say no to your fans. Who you are as an actor depends on having an audience. Otherwise who are you?” asks Victoria.
On any given day of her childhood Victoria might have hung out with friends of her father like Jane Russell or Robert Mitchum. “I had this incredible afternoon where Mitchum told these stories – not just about my dad. Stories about how he hopped a train to get to Hollywood. Really neat stories about his life,” says Victoria.
Vincent Price’s legacy extended into the ‘80s with Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” plus roles in films like Lindsay Anderson’s The Whales of August (1987) and Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands (1990). Victoria appeared as an extra in Edward Scissorhands. “Tim thought it would be a fun thing, sort of a family affair so that’s how it came about,” says Victoria. Previously, Price had narrated one of Burton’s early short films, aptly titled Vincent (1982).
Vincent Price passed away in 1993 at the age of 82. His work in over 200 plays, television shows and movies are a legacy to those who enjoy great performances and the occasional clever scare.
A website dedicated to Price’s career (Vincent Price - The Master of Menace) can be found here.
Additionally this website (Cooking with Vincent) extolls the virtues of his book of recipes.
— Michael Bergeron
— photo credit for Vincent Price tasting food picture: Eliot Elisofon