Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Art of Vincent Price

Price was born in St. Louis, Missouri to Vincent Leonard Price and Marguerite Willcox. His father was president of the National Candy Company. His grandfather, Vincent Clarence Price invented "Dr. Price's Baking Powder", the first cream of tartar baking powder, and secured the family's fortune.[1] Vincent Jr. attended St. Louis Country Day School. He was further educated at Yale in art history and fine art. He was a member of Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity and the Courtauld Institute, London. 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), opposite Gene Tierney, directed by Otto Preminger. He also played Joseph Smith, Jr. in the movie Brigham Young (1940). During the 1940s, he appeared in a wide variety of films from straight-forward drama to comedy to horror (he provided the voice of The Invisible Man at the end of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein in 1948). In 1946 he reunited with Gene Tierney in two notable films Dragonwyck and Leave Her to Heaven. He was also active in radio, portraying the Robin Hood-inspired crime-fighter Simon Templar, aka. The Saint, in a series that ran from 1947 to 1951.

In the 1960s, he had a number of low-budget successes with Roger Corman and American International Pictures (AIP) including the Edgar Allan Poe adaptations House of Usher (1960), The Pit and the Pendulum (1961), Tales of Terror (1962), The Raven (1963)

Price was married three times and fathered a son, named Vincent Barrett Price, with his first wife, former actress Edith Barrett. Price and his second wife Mary Grant donated hundreds of works of art and a large amount of money to East Los Angeles College in the early 1960s in order to endow the Vincent and Mary Price Gallery there.

Price's last marriage was to the Australian actress Coral Browne, who appeared with him (as one of his victims) in Theatre of Blood (1973). He converted to Catholicism to marry her, and she became a US citizen for him.


Ann B. Keller, Kodron Productions, Inc. said...

Vincent Price was an incredible character actor. When his character was angry or sinister, one look from those narrowed eyes could send me underneath my chair!

In your work, I see age line and shade a face chiseled by angles and time. I can almost hear his voice rippling over my skin in a spider's dance. That door behind me is starting to look pretty good!

Beautifully done, Jim!

Ann B. Keller

Daniel said...

I have to agree with Ann that Vincent Price was an incredible actor, but he was also well known as a student of the arts. It was one of his great passions. He loved discovering new artists. I only wish that he was still alive to see your artwork. I am positive he would have LOVED your paintings, Jim.
While your depictions of Vincent from THE TINGLER are quite good (capturing the hidden menace behind the frosty exterior), the painting I really like is the portrait of the elder Mr. Price which you did. It is in this painting that we see the childlike glee which Vincent brought to many of his television appearances when he was spoofing himself. There is a sort of magic in those eyes, a lightness to his smile. THAT is the Vincent Price that I remember the most.
You really must do a painting of Vincent and Johnny Depp from EDWARD SCISSORHANDS!!!! I would love to see it (as would many of your other fans I'd bet).

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