Vincent Price was a major movie star. You’ve seen him in dozens of horror films. He often played villains. And he had an amazing voice.
As scary and sinister as his persona was, in person he was the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet. Gentle, sweet, gracious. And sort of... kind of... a distant relative.
In the early ‘40s he lived in the same duplex on Canfield Dr. as my mom’s family when she was a teenager growing up in Los Angeles.
Whenever Vincent was preparing for a movie he would hang out in my grandparents’ kitchen running lines with my grandfather. In THE SONG OF BERNADETTE Grandpa was Jennifer Jones. In LAURA gramps was Gene Tierney. You get the idea. Vincent would bring a bottle and he and my grandfather would run lines late into the night. Talk about idyllic -- that kitchen was filled with the smell of blintzes and the richness of that voice.
To repay the favor, Vincent often gave my mom and her sister a ride home from Hamilton High.
Eventually he moved and our family lost touch with him. And then about thirty years later he bumped into my mom at a bank. He recognized her immediately, even though so many years had passed and recalled her name instantly as well. He couldn’t be more excited to see her. They spent about a half hour catching up. It was a celebrity sighting in reverse.
We always considered Vincent Price a distant member of our family – who doesn’t have that urbane cousin who lives in a haunted house, kills people, drinks blood, robs graves, and dresses in capes? As time marches on Vincent’s brilliance slowly fades into the mist. So I thought I would share a TCM tributes voiced by John Waters to one of the greats of all-time – Vincent Leonard Price Jr.