Actor Frank Langella’s powers of observation lend the odd brief profiles in “ Dropped Names” substance and richness. Dropped NamesFamous Men and Women As I Knew ThemFrank LangellaHarper: pp., $Frank Langella’s “Dropped Names” is a. The Juiciest Bits From Frank Langella’s Celebrity-Leveling Memoir “Dropped Names”. “All actors are angry babies”: Langella. (Courtesy Getty.

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May 22, Ian W. So many tales of his are of wounded and flawed if talented people. Langella discreetly lists “my companion at the nnames “my girlfriend at the time” or “my wife” without naming those names.

Review: ‘Dropped Names’ by Frank Langella dishes on fellow actors

Langella does not spare himself. Frank Langella bypasses all of that by writing an episodic memoir composed solely of his interactions with the famous some of whom he met fleetingly and a few not at all. A quick, enjoyable read, but not as much fun as I expected from the Times review.

He doesn’t exclude himself from his own harsh criticism either — a running theme through the book is his obsession with Arthur Miller’s autobiographical play AFTER THE FALL, and the role of Quentin Miller’s standin which he has played twice, fascinated with the question of the character’s “guilt. Their anxieties, fears, foibles, passions, and loves. The author forthrightly puts himself in the wrong in his interactions with the gentle Deborah Kerr, and he pays touching tribute to his friendship with Raul Julia.

So many tales of his are of wounded and A perfect summer book — fun, low intellectual investment, and full of juicy gossip. And throughout, Langella’s own story is told, albeit not completely.

Langella takes us with him into the private worlds and privileged lives of movie stars, presidents, royalty, literary lions, the social elite, and the greats of the Broadway stage.

It doesn’t take a lab technician to detect the high level of testosterone in his summation of a few Hollywood notables:. I would recommend this without reserve. He certainly got around! Unfortunately, the book suffers, IMHO, from dwelling on his intimate relations with so many of the people profiled or mentioned.


I generally am not much of a fan of celebrity memoirs. A good chunk of the book is quite friendly, with respectful recollections of Al Hirschfeld, George C. In reading this book, I was able to get glimpses of what some of my favorite stars and people in the public eye I grew up admiring were really like.

In the end though, it’s outlook is nostalgic and sad. He respects privacy, and only suggests where he may have been given liberties — one or two, if, well, surprising. There are some details about his life, how he started in acting as a theater apprentice, how he eschewed the Actor’s Studio way of acting in favor of Stella Adler, how he met JFK as a young man, his friendships with people like Raul Julia, Alan Bates, a few people he didn’t care for, such as Rex Harrison, he tells it like it was.

Read it the next time you are sitting in an airport. At one point, Olivier tells him, ” In the end, “Dropped Names” lives up to its billing as a memoir, leaving the reader with a rawer sense of Langella’s personality than likely would have been possible through a more conventional autobiography. But as several of the memoir’s gay characters circle around his charismatic young self, Mr. He tells more than a few stories of great S.

I turned away from John Lennon and oh so many others for him. I leave that question up to the editors out there. I know I will. Some of the stories are funny, many of them especially the longish section involving a declining Elizabeth Taylor are very sad, and a few seem unnecessarily cruel the Oliver Reed bit, for one. Books by Frank Langella.

Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women As I Knew Them by Frank Langella

Mr Langella has met plenty of successful people, but he has also met with lots of actors whose early promise never materialised. Sep 02, Terri rated it it was ok Shelves: As he tells about his impressions of these people, he also manages to tell you a lot about his own life story but in a more entertaining way than a straight biography. Langella’s couch, where the patients, in a highly unusual twist, rarely get a word in edgewise. If the author is disarmingly frank lahgella, say, Anne Bancroft’s temperament and his own unflattering opinion of Ricardo Montalban, he can also be unsettlingly coy about something else.


His chapter about Elizabeth Taylor kangella painful to read.

But in the film Looking for Richardthe star’s exploration of Shakespeare’s Richard III, that’s how he refers to Frank Langella, who originally signed on to play Clarence in that picture but apparently couldn’t take the production’s meandering discussion process for each scene. In fact, it provides a good entry point to this book, which is filled with his memories of time spent with other well-known folks in theatre, movies, literature and “high society.

So much more thrilling than giving a Star Performance. Langella stoically fending off the clingy attentions of one more faded movie star. What a fun book to read.

It doesn’t take a lab technician to detect the high level of testosterone in his summation of a few Hollywood notables: Life vibrates, has rhythms, drlpped the moment. If you’re a fan like I am, this book is highly recommended. But mostly it is more gentle than that. We learn something, too, of Mr. He opens telling of a chance Manhattan encounter with Marilyn Monroe inand ends with the wealthy Bunny Mellon, whose motto was “Nothing should be noticed.