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Vincent Price Was Originally Supposed To Voice Santa In The Nightmare Before Christmas

Vincent Price is best known to fans as a master of the macabre thanks to his numerous appearances in horror films during his storied career. Price first caught the acting bug while studying at Yale, and it was while receiving his Ivy-League education that he performed in his friends' student movies, according to "Biography." But it was his performance in the Broadway show "Victoria Regina" which caught the attention of Hollywood. Price was signed as a player with Universal Pictures, and his fourth film for the studio was the now-iconic "The Invisible Man Returns."

In 1953, Price made his second appearance in horror films as the vengeful Jarrod in "House of Wax," and he continued to excel in the genre when he played the forthright François in "The Fly." Price then collaborated with B-movie extraordinaire William Castle in "House on Haunted Hill" and "The Tingler," and then joined forces with Roger Corman to create the Edgar Allan Poe-inspired horror flicks "House of Usher," "The Pit and the Pendulum" and "The Raven."

Younger audiences discovered Price via his performances in Tim Burton's animated short, "Vincent," his eerie rap in Michael Jackson's song, "Thriller," and as Edward's (Johnny Depp) inventor in "Edward Scissorhands." So, it only seems natural that Price would be involved with the enduring, horror/holiday hit, "The Nightmare Before Christmas," even though he wasn't. But did you know Price was director Henry Selick's top choice to portray the voice of Santa Claus?

Price would've voiced Santa in The Nightmare Before Christmas

Director Henry Selick knew Vincent Price's inimitable voice was perfect for Old Saint Nicholas in "The Nightmare Before Christmas," but the death of Price's wife, Coral Browne, was sadly the undoing of Selick's top casting choice. "We recorded him, and he would've done the introduction to the film since it's supposed to be Santa Claus' voice at the beginning [and] end," Selick told The Daily Beast. "[Price] had just lost his wife, and he was despondent, and it just didn't work. He was the first choice, [but] that didn't work out."

Selick told The Daily Beast that other prominent Hollywood players were considered when Price was no longer a viable option to portray the role. Don Ameche ("The Three Musketeers," "Trading Places," "Cocoon") met with Selick, but the director couldn't believe how "insanely grouchy" the thespian was. And Selick's meeting with the voice of Darth Vader himself, James Earl Jones, was also a challenge because the actor acted like a real-life Sith Lord.

During their conference, which also included Danny Elfman, Jones became irate when Elfman said he'd written the part with Jones in mind to play Santa Claus. "You don't know me," Jones barked at Elfman, according to the same interview with Selick. In the end, the part intended for Price was voiced by a virtually unknown actor hailing from San Francisco, Ed Ivory, who only has 10 acting credits to his name over his eight-year career.