New Year’s Day. I was up early and reading the Newspapers. I noted in The News Tribune that actor Frank Langella turned eighty-one. You may not recognize the name, but Peg and I have loved his acting since seeing him in one of our favorite Mel Brooks’ movies, The Twelve Chairs (1970). We discovered the film on cable-TV in 1974 just before we saw Blazing Saddles with a group of friends. The Twelve Chairs was a better traditional film, but Blazing Saddles scores much higher on the laugh-o-meter. With Langella’s black curly hair, he held the attention, however.
“Langella was married to Ruth Weil from June 14, 1977 to their divorce in 1996. They have two children. He also then lived with actress/comedian Whoopi Goldberg, whom he had met on the set of Eddie. From 1996 they were together but they separated in March 2001. Langella published a memoir in 2012 called Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women As I Knew Them. In a review in the New York Times Book Review, Ada Calhoun wrote that ‘Langella’s book celebrated sluttiness as a worthy—even noble—way of life. There was so much happy sexuality in this book that reading it was like being flirted with for a whole party by the hottest person in the room. It was no wonder Langella was invited everywhere.'” – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Langella
His acting career began off-Broadway. He has won four Tony Awards, two for Best Leading Actor in a Play for his performances as Richard Nixon in the play Frost/Nixon and as André in The Father and two for Best Featured Actor in a Play for the roles of Leslie in Edward Albee’s Seascape and Flegont Alexandrovitch Tropatchov in Ivan Turgenev’s Fortune’s Fool. Additionally, Langella has won two Obie Awards. His memoir, “Dropped Names” came out in 2012. I loved his star studded stories. I really enjoyed his story about Bette Davis and others.
“Rita Hayworth dancing by candlelight; Elizabeth Taylor tenderly wrapping him in her Pashmina scarf; streaking for Sir Laurence Olivier in a drafty English castle; terrifying a dozing Jackie Onassis; carrying an unconscious Montgomery Clift to safety on a dark New York street . . .” – amazon.com/Dropped-Names-Famous-Women-Knew/dp/0062094491
Another favorite Langella film was Robot & Frank in 2012. I think his last film was Youth In Oregon, which I just saw a few weeks ago. Youth In Oregon is about choosing your time to die (euthanasia). It’s funny and worth watching multiple times. Do yourself a favor and watch one or more of Frank Langella films.