He of the very distinctive voice (1911-93). Appeared in The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo as Vincent van Ghoul. His other television credits include the PBS series Mystery! and the 1950s Game Show turned interview show ESP. As the villain of such classics as The Abominable Dr. Phibes, House on Haunted Hill, and House of Wax, he and Peter Lorre have the two most homaged voices when it comes to evil cartoon characters.
He also provided the creepy voice and Evil Laugh in Michael Jackson's Thriller and Alice Cooper's "Devil's Food". On the 1960's Batman TV series, he had a semi-recurring role as the world's greatest criminal mind, Egghead. He was one of only two villains (the other being King Tut) to deduce Bruce Wayne's secret identity.
Price was good friends with the two great Hammer Horror actors, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, and starred alongside both of them in various films. Strangely enough, Lee and Price were born on the same day, and Cushing one day before them. One of his closest friends was the above mentioned Peter Lorre, whose eulogy Price read at his funeral.
Highly eccentric, he considered his guest appearance on The Muppet Show a 'tremendous honour' (before the show really became a worldwide sensation), in a similar manner to how major musical artists know they've 'made it' when "Weird Al" Yankovic parodies their songs. Price was also an art historian and expert cook.
This actor provided examples of:
- Affably Evil, in most of his roles. And sometimes Faux Affably Evil.
- The Atoner: According to the book "Vincent Price: The Art of Fear", Price lied about being colorblind to dodge military service during World War II but risked being blacklisted when he refused to testify against friends during the Red Scare. "I was afraid to stand up against injustice abroad, now I must have the courage to stand up against it in my own country!"
- Cool Old Guy: Hell yes.
- Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe
- Doing It for the Art: Although he sometimes took roles to finance his support of the arts, he always made a point of having fun even when in bad movies.
- Evil Laugh: One of the undisputed masters.
- Famous Last Words: On a technicality, at least. He voiced the character Zigzag in The Thief and the Cobbler, which went through a particularly long Development Hell and wasn't released until after his death. Thus, his final words on film are "For Zigzag then, it is the end."
- Friend to All Children: In Real Life, Price loved children and would make great efforts to keep in touch with his younger co-stars after filming ceased.
- Hidden Depths: As stated above, he was an accomplished chef who published several cook books.
- Ink Suit Actor:
- His character in The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo is pretty much just Price playing himself with magical powers.
- When acting, Price was known to do exaggerated Shakespearean gesticulation. He also did it when he voiced The Great Mouse Detective's Big Bad, Prof. Ratigan (his favorite role), so the animators sketched him during voice-over sessions and animated the poses into Ratigan.
- Large Ham: Though he was capable of nuance-- from Cool Old Guys to Complete Monsters, such as in Witchfinder General-- Price's characters tended to be larger than life, but thankfully not cheesy.
- Usually not cheesy. In Theater of Blood, he took the cheese to eleven, and for good reason.
- In the 1951 His Kind of Woman, Price co-starred with Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell, playing an Errol Flynn style matinee idol who, when he helps Bob fight mobsters, gets a huge rush from real-life peril and leaps into the fray loudly spouting Shakespeare. Ham and cheese with plenty of relish.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: Despite playing almost exclusively villainous roles his entire career, he was a generally warm person with a quirky sense of humor. Loving children, when he played in a movie opposite them, he took great pains to make sure that they weren't frightened of him off-camera.
- In every film, you're actually rooting for his villain character - that is, except Witchfinder General, where he plays a Complete Monster.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Price was born in St. Louis and trained for the stage in London; he varied the resulting accent only a bit to play characters from all over the United States and England.
- Pungeon Master: In the 60's Batman show. His character used an absolutely egg-scrutiating amount of puns.