He was an accomplished actor of both stage and film, a soft-spoken gentleman with refined features, a distinctive voice, and an air of gentility. He was a well-travelled connoisseur of fine wine and food, who enjoyed collecting interesting and unusual recipes from the places he visited, a hobby that led to his writing three cookbooks. He had a degree in art history, a subject about which he frequently lectured and wrote books.
He established himself as an actor in the 1944 film noir classic Laura, starring Gene Tierney; he gave voice to the radio show crime fighter Simon Templar in The Saint; he was a leading man in several Hollywood films, including The House of the Seven Gables and Dragonwyck; he portrayed such famous historical figures as Joseph Smith, Prince Albert, Richard III and Sir walter Raleigh; he costarred with such A-list actors as Gregory Peck, Ronald Coleman, Ava Gardner, Tyrone Power, and Charles Laughton; he played priests and prosecutors, doctors and dandies. Imagine his shock, when Vincent Price suddenly found himself typecast as a villain, and trapped in horror movie roles!
Vincent Leonard Price, Jr. was born in Saint Louis, Missouri in 1911. He was the offspring of a prosperous and prominent family of entrepreneurs: his grandfather, Vincent Clarence, secured the family fortune, when he invented “Dr. Price’s Baking Powder,” the first cream of tartar baking powder; and his father, Vincent Leonard, Sr., was the president of the National Candy Company. Vincent Price graduated from Yale University, where he wrote for the campus humor magazine, The Yale Record. After teaching for a year, he entered the University of London, intending to work on his Master’s degree, but was lured away by the call of the theatre.
Ultimately, Price appeared on stage, television, radio, and in over one hundred films. He enjoyed a career that lasted over fifty years, and spanned the genres of film noir, drama, mystery, thriller, comedy and horror. And he has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: one for motion pictures, one for television. He was an intelligent and refined performer, a multi-talented actor who ended up starring in an almost uninterrupted string of horror films and TV shows, starting with House of Wax in 1953, and lasting until about 1983. How did Price feel about playing bloodthirsty madmen for over a quarter of a century? He took it all in stride, making the most of each and every role, enjoying himself and — dare we say it? — laughing all the way to the bank!
Sometimes our talents take us places we never dreamed or expected. It may not be exactly what we planned, perhaps not even what we trained for, but we need to make the most of every opportunity — or setback. In other words, if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Flourish despite your circumstances — and bloom where you’re planted. Price did this. He didn’t simply resign himself to acting in horror movies; he took ownership of each role, brought all his talent to the table, elevated the genre to an art form, and went down in history as The Master of the Macabre. If we were going to be scared to death, we’d want Vincent Price, suave and sophisticated, to do the scaring. And he did, in House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Tingler, The Bat and many other movies.
“Live wisely … and make the most of every opportunity.” (Colossians 4:5 NLT) “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV)