His grandfather became famous for his Cream of Tartar (I have a vintage can of it), and he became famous in Horror.
Los Angeles is the home of many celebrities. From the late 1970s through 1990, I worked at a store in Sherman Oaks that had many celebrity clients. There was an unwritten rule in the store that you were not allowed to "show yourself as a fan" of any of the famous people. Often, the reason they patronized the store was because of the relaxed atmosphere, where they could shop in peace.
Roddy McDowell was a longtime customer of our store, and that - to me - was cool enough. Who could forget him in "The Legend of Hell House" or the pilot episode of "Night Gallery"? I liked Roddy, I spoke to him, and he was a great photographer.
Imagine how strange it was for me the day that Roddy walked in with Vincent Price, both of them bantering with each other. I grew up watching and being frightened of them both, they were Horror Heroes to me. But because of store policy, I was not allowed to say a word.
Vincent eventually became a regular customer at the store, although most of what he purchased was often through Roddy or on the phone. By 1990, I knew it was time for me to move on to a new job, and I recall that on one of my last days, a very tired Vincent Price, all alone, walked into the store. He was rather weak due to his poor health at the time. He sat in a chair, alone, for about 20 minutes while waiting for our store manager to return. I could plainly see that this wonderful legend was nearing the end of his life. I was nearing the end of my job. I walked past him, and Vincent looked up to acknowledge me with a smile and nod. For a brief moment, I thought it would be OK to break store rules and tell this amazing man how much I admired everything he had done in life. After all, what could they do, fire me?
But I chickened out. To this day, I can still see him sitting alone in that chair, as though at that moment my mind had taken a permanent photograph.
Vincent died October 25, 1993. I'm sure he was trying his best to hold on until Halloween day as a final joke to us all.