US actor. His gift for both Gothic grandiosity and judicious self-parody made him a popular star of horror films. He made his mark on the genre in House of Wax (1953), and later starred in a succession of free adaptations from Edgar Allan Poe made by Roger Corman 1960–64, including The House of Usher (1960) and The Pit and the Pendulum (1961).
Price made his film debut in 1938 after a stage career. He also played several non-horror film roles, such as that of a gigolo in Laura (1944). In Edward Scissorhands (1991) he played an inventor who was a gentler version of the mad-scientist figures he had more than once portrayed in earlier years.
Early career Price was born in St Louis, Missouri, and received a degree in art history and English from Yale. He made his stage debut in London, achieving success in in 1935 as Prince Albert in Victoria Regina, a role he subsequently played on Broadway in New York. From 1938 he was in constant employment in Hollywood, but usually in secondary roles, often of an unsympathetic kind. He was typically cast in costume pictures; for instance, as Cardinal Richelieu in The Three Musketeers (1948).
Later career With his resonant voice, suavity of manner and capacity for flamboyant gesture, he became the actor most readily associated with horror movies in the second half of the 20th century. He worked frequently in the UK in the 1960s and early 1970s, though many of his films were of threadbare quality. After some years' absence from the screen, he returned in the US picture The Whales of August (1987).
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