Vincent Price: A Daughter's Biography

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"The mellifluent Vincent Price is best remembered for hamming it up in campy horror classics like ''House of Wax'' (1953), ''The Fly'' (1958) and ''The Masque of the Red Death'' (1964), yet fewer than a third of his more than 100 films were in the horror genre. Born into privileged St. Louis society in 1911, Price enjoyed a life that blended highbrow and lowbrow culture. He went to private school and dabbled in art history at Yale, but later hawked artwork for Sears. After a successful Broadway debut and a stint with Orson Welles's Mercury Players, he began his Hollywood career playing fops in costume dramas. Price conveyed a sense of fun even in abominable roles: he was teamed with Fabian in the atrocious 1966 film ''Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs'' (and made an Elvis Presley movie, ''The Trouble With Girls'' in 1968, in which they never met). His daughter Victoria has written an affectionate yet candid portrait that delves into her father's early anti-Semitism, excessive drinking and elusive sexuality (''Although my father was emotionally drawn to both men and women, I will never know whether he thought of himself as bisexual''). Her perspective is refreshing: ''I hated my father's horror movies. And it wasn't just the blood and gore. He died. In all of his movies, he died. I couldn't bear it.'' Price, who died of lung cancer in 1993, emerges as one of his most complex characters in this entertaining and touching biography."

                                                                                                                   -  The New York Times

Since his death in 1993, Vincent Price's legacy as a Hollywood legend has only grown in stature. His lengthy and distinguished career - as the voice of The Saint on the radio; as an actor in such unforgettable horror films as House of Wax and The Fly, in classic movies such as Laura and The Song of Bernadette, and on popular TV shows such as Batman and The Brady Bunch; and as a star on the Broadway stage - spanned 65 years. In addition to being an icon of stage and screen, Price was an art historian and collector who did much to popularize the visual arts in the United States, as well as a gourmet chef and author of best-selling cookbooks. Widely revered for his elegance and erudition, this Renaissance man left his mark on many areas of American culture during the twentieth century.

Vincent Price was also a loving father to his daughter Victoria, who was born shortly before he turned 51, at the height of his popularity. Though the star's busy film schedule took him in and out of his young daughter's life, he was always a larger-than-life presence and, simply, her father. The deep bond between father and daughter managed to survive the machinations of Price's third wife, the elegant British actress Coral Browne, who resented the close relationship between Price and his children and grandchildren. After Browne's death, Price and his daughter spent over a year taping conversations that would form the basis of this compelling biography-cum-memoir.

In writing about the father she adored, Victoria Price reveals a man complex, human, and humorous. An actor of range, less than one-third of the movies in which he appeared were in the horror genre. As a pre-war anti-Nazi sympathizer, he was greylisted during the Red Scare of the 1950s until, in a desperate gesture, he signed a secret oath that saved his career.