100 Years of Vincent Price: Victoria Price on Growing Up with a Legend for a Father
Undoubtedly, actor Vincent Price’s life-long dedication to art has been long overshadowed by his significant contributions to the horror genre since most fans may not even be aware that he was an avid supporter of the arts. In fact, his contributions to the art community in the Los Angeles area were remarkable at the time, and that’s part of the reason Price’s daughter, Victoria, is looking to keep his passions alive even though her father is no longer with us.
Recently Dread Central had the opportunity to chat with Victoria in anticipation of her father’s upcoming 100th birthday and hear from her about the side of Vincent that most fans may not have known and how his passion for the arts inspired her to forge her own path in the world of the creative arts.
For Victoria, growing up with a famous father wasn’t as unusual as you might think. It was something she was able to put into perspective from a very early age. “I was always aware that I had older parents, and I was always aware that my dad was a public figure so I think I just learned to be okay with that over the years. It can be hard to share your parents, but with having a father like Vincent, how could you not share someone that special with the world?”
“All of our parents that work outside the home we never really get to know that side of them. But with someone like my dad, it’s been a very different experience for me. I’ve heard so many stories about my dad that the public loves to share with me and I count that as a blessing because I never tire of hearing wonderful stories about him,” added Victoria.
Furthering her father’s legacy, Victoria not only penned the memoir “Vincent Price: A Daughter’s Biography” in 1999 but also founded a successful design studio that she currently runs in Santa Fe, New Mexico that features various design elements for inside the home. She discussed how both her father and her mother, Mary Grant Price, helped shape her passion for visual arts.
“My dad wasn’t just simply an actor either- he really believed in being well-rounded so he had many different interests,” said Victoria. “He loved to cook, he and my mother both really loved art, he’d even lecture at colleges and just loved the arts as a whole. Since both of my parents were creatively inclined, I grew up learning to see the world the way they saw it so I know that it was a lot of their influence that led me down my own professional path of being an artist. My dad was a huge supporter of the arts, and I’ve always tried to do the same.”
Beginning in 1951, Price and his wife, Mary, donated several works of art from his personal collection to East Los Angeles College, which established the first “teaching art collection” owned by a community college, and in 1957 the Vincent and Mary Grant Price Gallery was founded. Victoria said her father’s reasoning behind the donation was because he simply felt like everyone should have access to the arts and wanted to give those who don’t always have the opportunity to experience art a chance through his efforts.
But even though Price was always a man who kept himself rather busy and in the limelight throughout the years, Victoria discussed some of her favorite memories of her father that no one else really had the opportunity to enjoy like she did. “Some of my most treasured memories of my dad are when we would go to the beach. Most people never saw that side of him because he was always so proper in public, but when we’d go to the beach, he’d roll up his pant legs, let his hair get messy and just let everything around him melt away. We’d find moonstones and driftwood, and it was the only place I ever remember seeing him able to relax at because he was a lot like me- unable to sit still for too long. It was almost like the ocean was giving him permission to just let it all go away and be himself for a while.”
Now that her father’s would-be 100th birthday is quickly approaching this week (May 27th to be exact), Victoria talked about why she feels like her father’s legacy continues even to this very day and which of his iconic film roles remains her favorite.
Victoria said, “I think had he continued doing the kinds of roles he had been playing early on in his career, my dad’s career would have been pretty standard and we wouldn’t really be talking about him today. But I think it’s because of his work in the horror genre is what solidified his place as an iconic figure- he always had a presence when he was doing something in the macabre; as a viewer you could never look away from what he was doing.”
“Edward Scissorhands is probably the role I feel is the most bittersweet for me to watch, even to this day because you could see how frail he was. But even though his health wasn’t 100% then, he still gave everything to that role. It’s almost magical watching him in that movie, and I think it was a wonderful role to be one of the last ones he ever played,” added Victoria. “I’ve come to realize that the measure of a life well lived is not fame or fortune but definitely hinges on your everyday activities and how you touch the lives of others, and that was something my dad definitely did during his time here with us. I am so grateful that I was his daughter and he left behind such a wonderful legacy that still endures.”
This week Victoria will be in St. Louis as a featured speaker of the Vincentennial Celebration that’s currently under way on what would have been her father’s 100th birthday. Victoria is planning to give audiences an insider’s look at her father’s extraordinary career in film, television, and theater as well as an extensive look at the iconic actor’s early life in St. Louis, his world travels, and his abiding love for both art and cooking.
If you’re unable to make it out to St. Louis this week, fans of Price’s in the Los Angeles area should plan to head to the Downtown Independent on Saturday, June 11th for a special evening that celebrates Price’s film legacy with a rare 3D screening of the classic film House of Wax, which Victoria will also be a part of. All proceeds from the event will go to help fund the newly reopened Vincent Price Museum at the East Los Angeles College.
Our very special thanks to Victoria Price for taking the time to speak with Dread Central.
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