In Plain Sight

Vincent Price’s Daughter Confirms Her Famous Father Was Bisexual

price51In her book, Vincent Price: A Daughter’s Biography, Victoria Price explored the many facets of her famous father. The Hollywood legend, who died in 1993, enjoyed a career on stage and screen that spanned some 60 years, and the urbane actor remains the preeminent horror icon of our time.

While the younger Price addressed the persistent rumors surrounding her father’s sexuality, she refrained from offering a definitive opinion on the matter. But in an exclusive interview with Boom Magazine promoting her parent’s newly re-released cult-classic cookbook, the Hollywood daughter opens up about the speculation.

“Everybody asks me: was your dad bisexual, was he bisexual,” said Price. “And it was Roddy McDowall who said to me, you know, we didn’t have any idea what bisexuality meant in that sense, and if we didn’t know, then how can we know the answer to that question?”

In fact, the out designer, art consultant, author, and public speaker has been wrestling for decades with just how much of her father’s private life is public domain, as recounted in this 2012 blog post:

I was standing at the bar in West Hollywood, Calif.’s club of the moment one night in the spring of 1989, talking with a group of hip Hollywood women I hardly knew, when a blond woman with a wry expression came over to me and said, “You’re Vincent Price’s daughter. Your father’s gay, isn’t he?” I don’t remember my mumbled reply–except that, sadly, it wasn’t very witty–“I don’t know” or “He was married three times.” But I do remember that I was shocked. Not because it was the first time someone had suggested that he might be gay or at the very least bisexual, but because, until that moment, I hadn’t really understood the degree to which my 78-year-old father’s sexuality, whatever it might be, had become public property to be discussed, analyzed, bandied about, as one might share a recipe or chat about the weather. I found it a discomforting revelation.

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 5.37.38 PM
Victoria Price

Price is well aware of America’s fixation with celebrity and the salacious, news-driven, “who had sex with who?” culture in which we live. But she also realizes as a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community that there remains a deeply rooted yearning for history and heroes and a personal connection to the past.

“To me, it’s interesting, because as I’ve learned more about my dad’s sexuality, and more than I knew then about different things, I’ve had the choice of what to reveal and what not to reveal,” Price explained. “Since I didn’t hear it from his mouth, I think that everything I hear comes with a measure of hearsay, right?”

“But I would like to say something here because I might as well,” she continued. “I am as close to certain as I can be that my dad had physically intimate relationships with men. I know for 100 percent fact that my dad was completely loving and supportive of LGBT people.”

Growing up in their Hollywood Hills mansion, Price recalls the constant presence of LGBT folks at family gatherings.

“Now, we lived across the street from Rock Hudson and we had a lot of gay friends growing up,” she recalled. “I mean, “Uncle Rupert and Uncle Frank” came to every dinner party and it was very clear that they were together. And while the word [gay] was never mentioned, it was very much the norm.”

“I remember at nine-years-old going to drop something off at Rock Hudson’s house — of course, I was super excited because I was a huge Rock Hudson fan,” Price continued. “So this absolutely beautiful man came to the door and in my nine-year-old mind, I thought, oh, that’s – I don’t know if I had a word for it — but that’s his ‘Uncle Frank or Uncle Rupert’, right?”

tumblr_m4ufltptVK1qa70eyo1_1280Price recalls her father’s 1977 one-man-show where he played the openly gay Oscar Wilde to great acclaim and rebuffed the antigay Anita Bryant efforts of the day. In television interviews, Vincent Price said Wilde had already written a play about Ms. Bryant: A Woman of No Importance. She remembers an early advocate who joined PFLAG as an honorary board member and was one of the first celebrities to do public service announcements quelling public fears of AIDS.

“He married a bisexual woman [British actress Coral Browneand] and everybody assumed their marriage was a fraud,” offered Price. “It wasn’t a fraud. It was a totally sexual relationship but they were two people with very open-minded approaches as to what life should look like. And that to me — people who lived this truth in all aspects of their lives — they should be heroes to every community.”

Yet at the end of the day, what remains important to Victoria Price is how her father loved and the lessons learned from experiencing that first hand.

“The interesting thing for me is that when I came out to him and he said to me, ‘you know, I know just how you feel because I have had these deep, loving relationships with men in my life and all my wives were jealous,’” she recalled.

“In a funny way, and I think I’m going to cry, he understood me at 22 better than I understood myself then,” Price concluded. “Of course, he was in his 70s and lived a hell of a lot longer than I had, and he understood that at the end of the day it’s about who and what and how we love. And I have not been a person who has been very successful at conventional relationships, but loving well and loving deeply has been the most important thing to me.”

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  • Jim McHardy

    Good for him he was a great actor and person sexuality doesn’t matter

  • Glücklich

    Important to note Mr. Price was also allegedly a big anti-semite, which leads me to believe he was probably a big ol’ rã¢is†, too.

  • SeeingAll

    @Glücklich: Really ? I never heard that. (You sure you’re not thinking of Paul Lynde..?

  • Mark Reimer

    Well DUHHHH!!!!!! He pinged my “Gaydar” before I even knew I had gaydar.

  • Glücklich

    I’m pretty sure it was this same daughter who brought that to light in the past few years. If I’m mistaken it wouldn’t be the first time.

  • Will Glitzern

    Who cares? The guy was beyond priceless (haha)!

  • SeeingAll

    @Glücklich: I’ve sometimes gotten two movie stars mixed up. I’m not saying that’s NOT true about Price, though. Anyway…sure sounds like an interesting setting his daughter grew up in.

  • Bob LaBlah

    A few nights ago I was channel surfing and ran across Dr. Phibes. As many times as I have seen that movie for some reason or other I took special note of him and those capes he wore and thought about ol’ Liberace. Looking at that headshot photo at the top I would now give the “rumor” a tad of possible truth. What I love about actors from his era is how they did what they wanted but behind closed doors. They knew (and I agree) that what you did in bed was none of YOUR business and to shut up if they wanted the checks to keep coming and in the phone to ring off the hook with offers that involved LOTS of money.

    But in ol’ Vincent’s case I personally don’t give a flying fuck. This is the time of year where I will sit back and simply enjoy the only thing in his life that mattered to me, his ability to entertain in horror movies regardless of the sadistic things he did to people as the script called for. I will say that I kinda wonder if he had a “special” dungeon in his house with slings, cat-of-nine-tails, crisco oil, monstrous sized….well, I’m sure you can follow along. It does make you wonder but as I said, I don’t give a fuck.

  • SeeingAll

    @Bob LaBlah: The Phibes film is considered one the Vincent Price “revenge” films, where he’s getting back at a whole slew of people. “Madhouse” and “Theatre Of Blood” (where he murders people bbased on scenes in Shakespeare’s plays) are two particularly interesting ones.

  • Captain Obvious

    @Glücklich: Not surprising considering Hollyweird is still pretty much like that right now. Even when people are making them tons of money they still have horrible things to say about those actors. The Sony hacks alone prove that much.

  • Douglas Schlitz

    So ! Why is this an issue ? Get over it !
    A great and talented actor , sexuality is a non issue.

  • Baba Booey Fafa Fooey

    What’s the issue?

  • SeeingAll

    @Douglas Schlitz: It’s not a non-issue for homophobes, so …personally…I like finding out about other notable and succesful people (in all kinds of fields) who were…..

  • Bob LaBlah

    @SeeingAll: ” “Madhouse” and “Theatre Of Blood” (where he murders people bbased on scenes in Shakespeare’s plays) are two particularly interesting ones.”

    Good choices but I think his best performance was in the Pit and the Pendulum. That one was SCARY. At least it was when I was twelve when I saw it for the first time that Halloween back in….well, before you were born, no doubt. Don’t you just love this time of year and the old horror movies that come on television?

    And for those of you who feel a bit nostalgic look what I found. I mean girl is twirling around in her capes in this one.

  • SeeingAll

    @Glücklich: And Matt Damon is hot !!

  • SeeingAll

    @Bob LaBlah: Yes, I love “The Pit..” and all of these Halloweeney films too.

  • Stache99

    Damn. Never really thought about it because he was pretty old as I remember him. However, yes. Like others here say he definitely pings the radar.

    Great quote..”at the end of the day it’s about who and what and how we love.”

  • John Kuehnle

    It’s made to be an issue

  • Stache99

    @Glücklich: Me too~!!

  • Stache99

    Nobody has ever done the Macabre better than Vincent Price.

  • SeeingAll

    @Glücklich: I meant Mark Damon ! (You see what i said about mix-ups).

  • Glücklich

    I was, like, is there a new version with Matt Damon I missed…?

  • Kangol

    @Glücklich: Your comment about Price’s anti-semitism reminded me that I’d seen something along these lines, and it turns out that his daughter wrote about this in her late 90s biography of him. According to the Orlando Sentinel,”The film star was a Nazi sympathizer who spewed anti-Semitic thoughts in letters to friends and family early in his life.”

    In his 20s he changed his views, in part because of his close friendship with Jewish American figures. Also, he was strongly [email protected] and pro-gay, publicly spoke out about both as well as religious intolerance, and even protested in various ways against hatemonger Anita Bryant’s homophobic campaign. I had NO idea about any of this, so thanks for getting me to look it all up. He was a true original, on film and off.

  • John Paramor

    Tell us something we didn’t know.

  • Tobi

    I have a soft spot for The Masque of the Red Death.

  • Bobby Buechler

    “Well I didn’t know he was into dudes!!” – headless cave-dwellers

  • SeeingAll

    @Tobi: That one too !

  • Brian

    Bisexual is such an awful word because it suggests equal attraction to the sexes. If Vincent Price had the potential to swing both ways, I’d rather just leave it at that. You don’t need a word for it.

    Modern identity politics shouldn’t abuse words for political reasons, as the gay community clearly does.

  • alphacentauri

    This is very old news; but cheers to queerty for not being biphobic I can’t say that about some of the commentators though like Brian.

  • Glücklich

    Thanks for elucidating Price’s change of heart and disabusing me of the idea he might have been racist. Good to have that cleared up.

  • Glücklich

    Thanks for elucidating Price’s change of heart and disabusing me of the idea he might have been rã¢is†. Good to have that cleared up.

  • Brian

    @alphacentauri: How am I bi-phobic? I think it’s great that men can swing both ways. In fact, I think most straight-identifying guys are capable of homosexual desire.

    I just don’t like the word “bisexual”.

    Perhaps you should read my post more carefully. It’s only got a few words in it. You can do it.

  • NoCagada

    @Brian: 1. Child…you are just weird.
    2. So you don’t like “the word”? Lah-dee-fuckin-dah.

  • Bob LaBlah

    @SeeingAll: If you ain’t busy at 11pm this Tuesday (I’m retired) the Pit and the Pendulum will be airing on the MGM cable channel. I searched for some good ol’ black and white stuff like Lon Chaney in The Wolf Man, the original Frankenstein as well as ol’ Bela Legosi in Dracula. NONE are showing on any of the channels. I searched all the way to next Sunday morning, still nothing.

  • SeeingAll

    @Bob LaBlah: Thanks for the info ! I’ll be trying to catch what I can. (And I think Elvira is an underrated character).

  • Sluggo2007

    What does it matter? Let him rest in peace.

  • Derek Perron

    With Kermit!!

  • henrietta25

    My Aunty Gianna just got a nearly new Infiniti G Sedan from only workin part time on a pc… see here now…

    ——————–>> w­w­w.S­n­a­g­a-J­o­b­s.T­k

  • henrietta25

    My Aunty Gianna just got a nearly new Infiniti G Sedan from only workin part time on a pc… see here now…

    ————–>> w­w­w.S­n­a­g­a-J­o­b­s.T­k

  • dm10003

    “…America’s fixation with celebrity and the salacious, news-driven, “who had sex with who?” culture in which we live.”

    The ignorance about non-American culture — and human nature for that matter — of this passage is laughable.

  • Michael

    I DON’T care what he was…
    just simply GRATIFIED to what he has what enjoyment he has given to me over the years….

  • Michael

    I DON’T care what he was…
    just simply GRATIFIED to the enjoyment he has given to me over the years….

  • Michael

    This man was an AWESOME actor & I will enjoy his work until the day that I die….
    Vincent THANK YOU for all that you have shared with us!!!!!!!!

  • Michael

    I will miss you FOREVER!!!!

  • OzJosh

    Price’s third wife, Coral Browne, was not British. She was Australian.

  • silveroracle

    I loved Vincet Price as an actor.
    It’s nice to know that he may have be bisexual but it’s the acting that I loved.

  • Bob LaBlah

    It has been confirmed Michael Jackson paid one million dollars to Marlon Brando to do nothing but sit in the audience at one of his concerts. I wonder what he paid Vincent to do the voice on Thriller? Anyone know?

  • LadyL

    I have always loved Vincent Price’s movies and unique film persona and wished I could have had the opportunity to meet him to tell him so. And I thank Victoria Price for her willingness to be honest about her father’s life, as well as her frankness about her previous ambivalence.

    But I have to say, I’m really perplexed by some of the comments here: “Who cares?” “What does it matter?”

    Well, I care. And of course it matters. It’s part of our history. Why shouldn’t we be allowed to know and talk about it? Who gets to control the discussion about gay lives? Why should we bow to someone else’s discomfort about the subject?

    And why the assumption–which to me is an intrinsic part of the “let them rest in peace” argument–that Mr. Price would object to our knowing? Maybe he would have liked to have been able to live his life openly and remained closeted in his lifetime only because he felt forced to. And maybe his loving gay daughter knows this, all too well.

  • george_kowal

    Vincent had two sisters and a brother. Was one of his sisters named Dottie or Dotty?
    I’ve been researching this matter of over 10 years. Did he have any family member named Dotty. The year was 1966 when a kind lady bandaged my arm. She was renting/residing in a home in Ogden Dunes, Indiana. Unsure if that person was related to Vincent or not.

Comments are closed.