Vincent Price: A Daughter's Biography by Victoria Price

Diana Rigg

Page 115

Years later, British actress Diana Rigg said of him, "What people don't know is what a a wonderful verse speaker he was. And I think what a great classical actor he would have been. He had a wonderful voice and he had a perfect command of the verse form."

Page 278

Diana Rigg recalled, "I got cast in this horror movie (Theatre of Blood) and it was a very good script. At the time I was working at the National Theatre doing a couple of classics, and it struck me as witty and wonderful and funny to be doing the classics on one hand and a spoof of the classics on the other. I didn't meet Vincent before we started working, so we were thrown into the deep end together in a way. We hit it off immediately. His manners were impeccable, and his enthusiasm for the part and the project was very great and he obviously loved doing it. Frankly, I can't find a bad thing to say about Vincent. First of all, he was a wonderful actor. This is acknowledged. What people don't know unless they have seen the film, and tend to forget because of his horror movies, is what a great classical actor he would have been. Listening to him deliver some of those Shakespearean speeches, I remember thinking, 'God, what a missed opportunity.' He was wonderfully humble, sort of deeply impressed that I was at the National and doing these things, and I found it so sweet in a way, because he was a very eminent man in his own right. And it was only later that I discovered that he was, of course, a very great art expert because he was so modest he'd never talk about it. He'd convey his enthusiasm and he'd convey his scholarship, but he'd never talk down to you, so it was only later that I began to understand what an important part he'd played in this vein."

Page 283

During the filming of Theatre of Blood it was apparent to all that Vincent was infatuated with Coral. Diana Rigg recalled, "I was instrumental in bringing Vincent and Coral together, insomuch as I think Vincent would not have made the first move. And I must also say in hindsight that he had not spoken about a wife and children, so I had absolutely no idea that there were other people involved. As far as I knew, he was separated. And so, in the light of that, my action appears something less than laudable. But I had absolutely no idea. Here was an absolutely adorable man who seemed quite lonely. I think you are, if you're on location somewhere and you're in a flat or a hotel somewhere and you don't know a vast number of people." One night Vincent asked Rigg to accompany him to a charity benefit performance. "I thought, 'My God, this man's got stamina.' After all, he was working from six in the morning. I suppose, in a way, he demonstrated his enormous relish for life. And I went with him to this do and Coral was there. I'm not sure if they had played their scene together in the film. In the interval, she and I both went to the lavatory and she said, 'It's a long time since I've fancied a man my own age, and I fancy Vincent Price.' Well, in the car home, Vincent volunteered that it was Coral's birthday the following week and he didn't know what to do about it. So, I think they must have eyed each other. And I said, 'Well, I think you can take her out to dinner. If you proffer an invitation, I think it would be kindly looked upon.' And from then on, they never looked back. I think they fell into bed and it was a wildly sexual relationship. Incredibly sexual. I remember Coral saying that they had worked out their combined ages were 120-something, and when you saw these absolutely shagged out people on the set, it was really quite funny. And that was the start of it all."

Page 318-319

Diana Rigg remembered her dissolution of her friendship with Coral and Vincent. "Coral was in the hospital for cancer in her leg, and I remember ringing her up and getting frost at the other end of the telephone. After that, when I rang or sent cards and messages, I always got the frost. I could never understand this. It was completely unexplicable to me. I didn't really know Coral well. I wasn't part of her coterie or her group or anything, so it was really Vincent that I cared about. I was not laying claim to anything other than a great fondness for him, but I was frozen out, and I think the same applies to a lot of other people that I've talked to. What her motives were behind it, I can't begin to conjecture. Nothing happened between us, absolutely nothing. It was simply that I was a person non grata to Coral for reasons which I could not understand. My feelings of affectionwere chiefly for Vincent, and probably that is what she sensed."

Most of those friends who were spurned by Coral, and consequently faded out of my father's life, found it hard to believe that he could be a party to her actions; but they also couldn't believe that he could have been entirely ignorant of her behavior. Indeed, it is difficult to understand why he put up with his wife's mercurial behavior unless, as Diana Rigg believed, he was unaware of it. Sandy Leonard, however, talked with my father about his friendship with Diana. According to him, my dad said, "She stopped calling. When she used to come to California, she'd call all the time. But she stopped." When Leonard asked why, my father replied with a slight smile, "I think it must have been something Coral said."

Page 346

And Diana Rigg remarked, "I could have told Vinnie. Anyone could have. Coral was constantly moaning about the price of everything, but there was no shortage of anything in her life. And I knew, as did most of her aquaintances, that when Firth Shephard died , and then her first husband, they both left her money. And she was a very canny woman. I'm pretty certain that just about everyone else knew except Vincent. She never picked up the bill for a dinner or a lunch or anything. I suppose she did this in order for Vincent to pay for as much as possible. Vincent must have felt very betrayed."

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