In her book, Vincent Price: A Daughter’s Biography, Victoria Price explored the many faces of her famous Dad who died in 1993. His career on both stage and screen lasted some 60 years and he remains THE preeminent horror icon of our time. (Of course, that chilling voice at the end of Michael Jackson‘s Thrilleris Price.)
In an exclusive interview with Boom Magazine Victoria shed some light on the the speculation.
“Everybody asks me was your dad bisexual, was he bisexual. 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.”
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.”
Victoria is well aware of our fixation with celebrity and the news-driven, “prying eyes” culture that we now live but she also aware that as a member of the LGBT community that there’s a yearning for history and heroes and a 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. 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. 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.
Now, we lived across the street from Rock Hudson and we had a lot of gay friends growing up. 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. 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?”
In 1977 Price played the openly gay Oscar Wilde to great acclaim and rebuffed the anti-gay Anita Bryant efforts of the day in television interviews saying Wilde had already written a play about Ms. Bryant: A Woman of No Importance. (Good one, Vinnie!) He was 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 Browne] and everybody assumed their marriage was a fraud. 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.
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.'”
In a funny way, and I think I’m going to cry, he understood me at 22 better than I understood myself then. 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.”
Great of her to talk so openly about her father. I would imagine an unenlightened straight person would think such talk would “tarnish” their father's image, implying some sort of shame. There’s no shame. The only shame is that Vincent Price didn’t live in a world where he was able to truly be himself, but he raised a daughter who can.
(via Boom LGBT)