Vincent Price (1911-1993)
- Charles Boyer, The Garden of Allah, 1935. Obviously, Price was keen to be Marlene Dietrich’s ex-monk lover. Producer David O Selznick was not.
- Leslie Howard, Gone With The Wind, 1938.
- Henry Daniell, Jane Eyre, 1943. "Call me Vinny..." was testing as Brocklehurst in February 1943 - after a Fox press release announced Glen Gallagher in the role.
- Frank Fenton, Buffalo Bill, 1943. Price fled when the role of Muddo Carvell was drastically trimmed by director William “Wild Bill” Wellman. Many of the uncredited players had more lines than Fenton! After all, the emphasis was Joel McCrea as the movies’ first William Frederick ‘Buffalo Bill’ Cody, 1846-1917.
- Lionel Barrymore, It’s A Wonderful Life, 1945.
- Victor Mature, My Darling Clementine, 1945. Not often John Ford loses an argument... Price would have been rather better as the dying Doc Holliday than Mature. Except Mature had a Fox contract and was, thereby, cheaper. Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert called the result “one of the sweetest and most good-hearted of all Westerns.”
- Richard Greene, Forever Amber, 1946. All set for Lord Harry Almsbury opposite Peggy Cummins’ Amber - until director Otto Preminger re-shot it with Linda Darnell and Sanders. Wasting nary a penny, Fox quickly shoved Price and the Welsh girlinto a dull Victor Mature thriller, Moss Rose.
- Jack Buchanan, The Band Wagon, 1952. The role? Jeffrey Cordova, a flamboyant director based on, well, take your pick: José Ferrer, George S Kaufman, Orson Welles… The choices? Price, Edward G Robinson or Clifton Webb. Gradually, Cordova churned into the UK Fred Astaire - dancing opposite the US Astaire. Fine, but… oh, the horror...! Imagine the original plan: "Triplets" sung by Astaire, Nanette Fabray and… Dr. Phibes..
- Michael Gough, Horrors of the Black Museum, 1959. UScritic Tim Lucas said Gough not only chewed but gargled the scenery in the egomaniacal role of a crime writer first intended by co-writer and co-producer Herman Cohen for Price.
- Peter Sellers, Mr. Topaze, 1961. Impressed with his kind of man opposite Jane Russell inHis Kindof Woman, movie mogul HowardHughes signed Vinny fornew version of playwright Marcel Pagnol’s French classic. Nothing happened until Sellers directed himself (too timidly) in the footsteps of Jouvet, Fernandel, John Barrymore. The film flopped. All prints. but one were melted down, the residue sent to Nigeria and recycled into combs.“You mean,” said fellow Goon Spike Milligan,“there are women in Africa combing their hair with Peter Sellers?”
- Jon Pertwee, The House That Dripped Blood, 1970. The role? Horror movie star Paul Henderson. Hardly a stretch.
- John Carson, Taste The Blood of Dracula, 1970. Part of the Price legend is Vincent was going to play a fourth member of the Thrill Seekers but budget cuts removed his (expensive) part - shared out among Carson...
- Geoffrey Keen, Taste The Blood of Dracula, 1970. … and Keen...
- Peter Sallis,Taste The Blood of Dracula, 1970. … and Sallis.
- Joseph Cotton, Gli orrori del castello di Norimberga (US: Baron Vampire), West Germany-Italy, 1971. Italian horrorsmith Mario Bavatried to interest Price into becoming his Baron Blood, then Ray Milland and finally another old-time agreed to the Vienna locations.
- Charles Gray, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, 1974. Damn, said Vinny! He’d seen the West End musical, loved The Criminologist - “An Expert” - and wanted to play him. Except, when the offer arrived, his diary was too full.
- Philip Madoc, Doctor Who#84: The Brain of Morbius, TV, 1976. There was a definite touch of Frankenstein in the script which led director Christopher Barry to try land Price or Peter Cushing to play Solon. No thank you…! Cushing had starred in Dr Who and the Daleks, 1964, and Daleks’ Invasion Earth: 2150, 1965 - rotten re-treads of BBC episodes (a third was cancelled), Doc1 William Hartnell was predictably miffed at being passed over for the big screen. Until seeing the first with Cushing as… not a Time Lord but “an eccentric inventor” in moustache and glasses - and, of course, colour. Not enough to entice folks to pay for what they’d seen at home for free. Between 1968-1979, Madoc shared adventures with Doc 2 Patrick Troughton and Doc 4 Tom Baker.
- Peter Cushing, The Uncanny, Canada-UK, 1977. Canadian director Denis Héroux went through the usual triplets: Christopher Lee, Price and... Cushing was free to be the horror writer discovering cats are supernatural.
- Ed(ward) Ivory, The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1992. Price recorded Santa’s dialogue but he was weak and ailing after the death of his wife. Patrick Stewart was too booked to join the toon version of Tim Burton’s poem, written when he was a Disney animator in the 80s. Henry Selick directed as Burton was tied up with Batman Returns and Ed Wood to come.
- Benedict Cumberbatch, Doctor Strange, 2015. The Price was right as far back as 1986! After all, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko based their hero’s look upon Price and gave Stephen Strange the middle name of… Vincent. Among those flown up Marvel’s 21st Century flagpole were TV doc Patrick Dempsey, Colin Farrell, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ryan Gosling, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jon Hamm, Ethan Hawke, Jack Huston, Oscar Isaac, Jared Leto, Matthew McConaughey, Ewan McGregor, Joaquin Phoenix (too strange!), Keanu Reeves (listed but never approached - how wise), Justin Theroux. Finally, the production wisely waited until after Cumberbatch’s Hamlet stage triumph in London. If Iron Man is Mick Jagger, Strange is Jim Morrison… and should head the MCU when Robert Downey pawns his ironmongery.