VINCENT PRICE by Victoria Price


A Daughter's Biography
Email this review


Although she gives a thoughtful and detailed recounting of Vincent Price’s career, his daughter sticks too closely to the facts to make this biography anything special—a disappointment, considering the potential. Victoria Price, a television screenwriter, was born when her father was already 50, so that might account for some of the distance from her subject matter. But, then, where is the yearning for the absent father? The daughter is dispassionate to a fault. She starts off with the history of her family, which is standard enough. Yet she doesn’t add any family stories or personal remembrances that would soften the narrative, even when she gets to material about which she would have firsthand knowledge. Instead, she gives a straightforward, almost day-to-day account of her father’s whereabouts. He grew up, visited Europe, went to Yale, started acting in England, and so on. When Price gets to Broadway in the 1930s and to Hollywood at the end of that decade, his personal life, by this account, is over. For the next 50 years, from Service De Luxe in 1938, when he was 27, to Edward Scissorhands in 1990, three years before his death, his daughter merely recounts him going from set to set for over 100 films. Even when Victoria gets to her own time with her father, she doesn’t get to her emotions. “I hardly remember seeing my father during this time at all,” she writes about her preteen years, when her father and mother divorced. Instead of delving into what it was about her father that led him him to work so much and spend so little time with his children, she goes back to reciting his whereabouts. Price married three times, had a son and a daughter 22 years apart, collected art, and was investigated by the government during the 1950s for suspected communist activities. These are the things readers want to know about in detail, not the run-down on the cast of Laura. (32 pages b&w photos)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-312-24273-5
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1999