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


Rita Hayworth dancing by candlelight in a small Mexican village; Elizabeth Taylor devouring homemade pasta and 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 City street.Captured forever in a unique memoir, FRita Hayworth dancing by candlelight in a small Mexican village; Elizabeth Taylor devouring homemade pasta and 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 City street.Captured forever in a unique memoir, Frank Langella's myriad encounters with some of the past century's most famous human beings are profoundly affecting, funny, wicked, sometimes shocking, and utterly irresistible. With sharp wit and a perceptive eye, Mr. 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.What, for instance, was Jack Kennedy doing on that coffee table? Why did the Queen Mother need Mr. Langella's help? When was Paul Mellon going to pay him money owed? How did Brooke Astor lose her virginity? Why was Robert Mitchum singing Gilbert & Sullivan patter songs at top volume, and what did Marilyn Monroe say to him that helped change the course of his life?Through these shared experiences, we learn something, too, of Mr. Langella's personal journey from the age of fifteen to the present day.Dropped Names is, like its subjects, riveting and unforgettable....

Title : Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women As I Knew Them
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ISBN : 16079817
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 373 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women As I Knew Them Reviews

  • Vanessa
    2018-09-22 23:22

    I generally am not much of a fan of celebrity memoirs. A little too much "Chapter one: I am born" for me. 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.) As the subtitle says and as Langella has pointed out in interviews, these are famous people as he experienced them, not necessarily as they actually were. He elected to only feature the deceased and dedicates a chapter to each one, organized chronologically by their deaths. If there is someone you are particularly interested in, you can flip right to that chapter. I tried to avoid doing that and read straight thru, but I did have to jump ahead and read the Roger Vadim section, being a huge fan of a gloriously terrible movie they did together called And God Created Woman (A remake of sorts which swapped Bridget Bardot for Rebecca DeMornay. See it if you get the chance. It's hilarious, probably not on purpose, although I really can't tell for sure.)The book is enjoyably dishy, but it's not mean spirited for the most part and some segments, such as the one detailing his close friendship/bromance with Raul Julia, are quite touching. Langella is a perfect memoir candidate as he's led a fascinating life. He was friends with Arthur Miller, frenemies with Laurence Olivier, had an on-set affair with Rita Hayworth, vacationed in the Caribbean with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, had phone sex with Bette Davis and the director John Frankenheimer once called him a "fucking motherfucking cocksucker."I don't know if he had the assistance of a ghost writer but Langella is quite witty and charming. This was a fun read and Langella is so forthright that through the intimate act of reading (is there anything more intimate than words going straight from the page to your brain?), I felt like I knew him as a friend by the end. I'm teetering between three and four stars on this and in the end, settled on three.

  • Bill Breedlove
    2018-10-02 19:34

    I came to this book not as die-hard "fan" of Mr. Langella's work--I have liked some of his performances, and others not so much, he was never "the deciding factor" for me in seeing a film or play. He has played Dracula and Nixon, as well as Skeletor and Dog the Bad Pirate. His career has spanned five decades, which is impressive as a stand alone fact. 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." Many of the people Mr. Langella discusses in the book he admits are hugely talented at what they do, yet, for some reason, there was a self-destructive streak that eventually took over. Throughout the 50 years or so chronicled in this book, we watch Mr. Langella go from a 10-month "unpaid internship" with Elia Kazan to his current position--that of a 74 year old individual looking over his life that has been filled--to put it mildly--with interesting encounters with people who used to be described as "bold face names." This is not so much as a "memoir" per se as it is a series of vignettes of his encounters with those folks. As such, there is not much biography here, tales of youthful struggle, sudden (or not-so-sudden) success, overconsumption of __________ (sex, drugs, booze, shopping, etc.), the resultant crash and subsequent rebirth that typical "celebrity" memoirs seem to follow. Instead, one gets the sense that Mr. Langella is both an avid and capable observer of others in the strange fishbowl world he exists in, and also determined to not fall victim to any of the demons that have laid so many of his compatriots low. Thus, what you get in this book is very much like (one imagines) stories and anecdotes you would hear from Mr. Langella at a dinner or cocktail party. I mean that in the best possible way--one feels as sort of a confidant into this world and where story after story comes with only the barest of background information, because it is assumed that you know enough background information to appreciate the story. 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.). Unless the subject of the anecdote is directly involved in the sexual activities going on, Mr. Langella discreetly lists "my companion at the time," "my girlfriend at the time" or "my wife" without naming those names. And, to be sure, this book is a diary of someone who tasted a lot of sexual fruit during those five decades, and is not the slightest bit sorry or embarrassed (nor should he be). In short, this book is extremely entertaining for what it is--short tidbits and gossip about folks who are (almost all) dead. The chapters and sections are short, which makes for perfect "stop and start" reading. I don't know that there are any tremendous insights into either Mr. Langella or the people profiled in this book, but then again, that may not be the point. As one reviewer pointed out, one can see why Mr. Langella was invited so many places--he is engaging company and would seem to be a wonderful companion to enjoy passing the time over cocktails or dinner with--with excellent, naughty conversation.

  • Luann
    2018-10-03 19:32

    Title is accurate - you don't learn much about Frank except that he has a way of ingratiating himself with people and he likes to screw. The sexual tidbits weren't all that salacious or interesting - I thought the subject of who and when presented rather boorishly. Frank redeems the book when he talks about his deepest friendships and about loss. There he allows himself to become a bit vulnerable and it can be touching, if just momentarily so. Not many people can come across as silmutaneously self-aggrandizing and self-effacing. He seems candid and honest yet most of the book feels pretty shallow. He also seems to like to kiss people on the head.I wouldn't buy this -- I read it during a number of tea-time breaks at the B&N.

    2018-10-15 00:42

    It was AN UTTER DELIGHT to read this book. It lived fully up to its billing as advertised recently in USA Today. With clarity, insight, and an unflinching truthfulness and candor, Langella provides the reader with penetrating and well-crafted vignettes throughout his 50-year acting career of the many notable people of the last half of the 20th century (e.g. President Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Rita Hayworth, James Mason, Lawrence Olivier, George C. Scott, Raul Julia, Robert Mitchum, Paul Newman, the Queen Mother, Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor) with whom he worked on stage and screen or met during various periods of his life. 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. Their anxieties, fears, foibles, passions, and loves. I was saddened to see that George C. Scott felt himself, despite his love and talent for acting, to be a fraud. In a conversation with the author, he admitted that had acting not been open to him, he would have been a writer. "But I can't write." Langella proves here to be a deft writer, as well as a keen observer of people.

  • Kathy
    2018-10-16 02:31

    I thought this book would be a little like listening to a grocery store tabloid but it wasn’t. Langella gives a well written, insightful and sensitive voice to some great stories he shared with other famous people. That is not to say he takes the warts off,,, not even for himself. Not only are his memories told in almost elegant prose but his narration is splendid I must admit that I’ve been in love with Mr. Langella since I saw The Twelve Chairs and again when I saw the Sphinx (he says it was a stinker but I loved it) I gave up dreams of marrying Capt. Von Trapp for him. I turned away from John Lennon and oh so many others for him. Yet odd as it might seem, he seems to have had close if not intimate relationships with everyone on the planet except me! How could that be? :::sigh:::Cruel. Downright brutal Still, it’s a delightful memoir of a fascinating and fortunate life

  • Ian W. Hill
    2018-09-22 19:27

    A quick, enjoyable read, but not as much fun as I expected from the Times review. I've seen this called "Places My Penis Has Been," and there are indeed many wonderful stories of the women Langella has known, but the overall sense of the book is of great melancholy -- not for nothing are the chapters placed in the order in which their subjects died. He tells more than a few stories of great S.O.B.s he has known, but even the people he liked and loved come off as hugely flawed and deeply unhappy, even cruel people. 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." On working on the play with Miller, however, he discovered that Miller did not consider the character "guilty" at all, and refused to write a new speech for Quentin (as Langella requested) in which the character would confront his own selfishness and cruelty. This book sometimes feels like Langella's own version of the speech he wanted Miller to write.Which means it is in an odd zone -- not quite the "breezy" memoir that Langella seems to want to present, but neither is it deep enough to be a more satisfying account of a life. I suppose that means it's "unsuccessful," but at the same time it is a fabulous collection of funny and/or revealing anecdotes about interesting people -- every other page I would find myself laughing hard and having to reread aloud to my wife what I had just read. In doing so, I found one of the other odd problems with the book -- while his prose is fine, and at times even inspired, Langella seems unable to capture in his stories the actual VOICES of the people he is quoting, with one, maybe two exceptions (definitely Raul Julia, whose every word sounds JUST LIKE HIM, and maybe George C. Scott). It's a strange feeling to be so frustrated by such an ENJOYABLE book.

  • Mediaman
    2018-09-20 19:31

    Langella's huge ego gets in the way of this guarded book, which tells stories about dead famous people he supposedly knew. He rarely gives enough details in any story to make it interesting and uses much of it to look down upon names much bigger than his. He is downright mean at times. How he thinks he's greater than Paul Newman and Charlton Heston we'll never know, but he says they can't act (despite their Academy Awards).There are almost no self-revelations here, carefully preserving Langella's privacy so we never know most of the "companions" that he mentions in the stories (though he does claim to conquer Elizabeth Taylor in a cringe-inducing chapter). He isn't afraid to repeat rumors but there is little salacious here--it's most dull drive-by encounters with celebrities. Marilyn Monroe? He saw her get out of a car. John F. Kennedy? He was at a luncheon with the president and said two sentences to him. Princess Diana? Um...he never actually knew her, but that doesn't stop him from writing a chapter about her!There are a few interesting tidbits but it's so poorly written (those who say it's well written must like theatrical Shakespeare-style language), with walls up to make sure Langella doesn't reveal too much of himself, that it ends up being a trifle. It's not really a memoir but more a chance for him to make himself look good by associating himself with those who are much more famous or interesting than he is.

  • T Fool
    2018-09-24 02:22

    Langella's acting is intense and dangerous. He's a guy you'll do your best to be careful around. I didn't know him as a writer until this. The writing comes across as the acting does. It's got the same quiet snap in its smart put-downs, and enough of those to make a reader grateful for the praise that goes out when it goes out.With a single exception all the celebrities he accounts for have died, the contents set up in order of decease. He's met some you'd expect and some you wouldn't. JFK in yellow pants, Monty Clift curled and unconscious in a hallway, Rita Hayworth patronized by a frustrated crew, Yul Brynner arrogantly insisting everyone at New York's 21 get an order of french fries. This is not a tell-all. He respects privacy, and only suggests where he may have been given liberties -- one or two, if, well, surprising.Since we're dealing with the dead, no one comes out of this without a final curtain, and few if any, comedies. While these read as terrific anecdotes, in the postscript Langella reminds you that living is not a dramatic art work. Life vibrates, has rhythms, in the moment. There's the final surprise of this book. It's got a philosophic theme: transience.

  • Cateline
    2018-09-18 22:45

    Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women as I Knew Them by Frank Langella Not only is Frank Langella a marvelous and talented actor, it turns out he is a gifted writer as well. His turn of phrase is a delight to read. His candid stories of the wide array of famous people he has known, both casually and intimately, are fabulous. This is definitely not a kiss and tell book. Langella remains a gentleman at all times. The few intimate encounters he does mention are told with sensitivity and discretion. The humor with which the Cast of Characters are handled is wonderful. We hear stories of Marilyn Monroe and Noel Coward to Tip O'Neill, from Richard Burton to Bette Davis. Actors, politicians, agents are all there. Langella does not spare himself. He is not always cast as the "hero". He admits when he behaved badly, and when he did, or didn't attempt to make up for said behavior. There are funny stories, there are deathbed stories, the reader laughs out loud and sometimes sheds a tear. And throughout, Langella's own story is told, albeit not completely. I hope he writes that story someday. I'd certainly buy that one. Langella comes off as a sensual and kind gentleman that has made good in an industry that will eat one alive. Recommended.

  • Patrice
    2018-09-30 00:28

    Two lines come to mind when thinking of this book. The first my father said to me when I was about 8 years old. "Anyone who belittles others is really belittling themselves". My father never said a bad word about anyone. He was a wonderful person, everyone loved him.The second line is Alice Roosevelt's. "Anyone who has nothing nice to say about anyone...come sit by me." Frank Langella is definitely in the Alice Roosevelt camp. He's written a memoir of people he has known. And he tells the truth, as he sees it. He really doesn't hold back. And I couldn't put the book down. I can't help it, I love gossip and boy is this book full of it. John Gielguld, Lawrence Olivier, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Stella Adler, Paul Newman, he's known them all.But, in the back of mind, I do hear my father's voice. I think less of Frank Langella. By revealing so much about so many, so many secrets and negative thoughts, he does belittle himself. And yes, I feel guilty for enjoying this book so much! But I have to be honest, I DID enjoy this book a lot!

  • Cindy Knoke
    2018-10-10 22:29

    This is the kind of book you read when you want your brain to veg a bit with some really useless gossip.Like when you are in the dentists office or in the waiting room for your colonoscopy.Except it was a bit better than that. Mainly because Langella is so honest about himself. I guess he was kind of a pretty boy actor. He is unflinching about his sexual peccadilloes and those of the great actors of the day. He says Paul Newman was an asshole.Really?With all those charities helping dying kids and such?All that spaghetti sauce he cooked and donated to charity?Nonetheless. It is a fun, seemingly unimportant book, that might be a bit more. Poking holes in all the great celebrity icons of his era. And himself.He seems more self aware than most actors who write books, and we have to remember “Frost Nixon,” in which he was nothing short of brilliant.Fun book. But probably not as good as that role.Read it the next time you are sitting in an airport. It will distract you.

  • Barbara
    2018-09-18 22:17

    This is one of the better celebrity memoirs that I have read. Langella is witty,articulate and quite a good writer. He was a young Italian boy who had grown up in New Jersey and was working at the Cape Playhouse when he became friends with Bunny Melon's daughter. Through his warm relationship with her family, he met people like John and Jackie Kennedy. As an actor on the stage in both the U.S. and London, he has known fascinating people from the entertainment business. 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. I've always liked him as an actor but was impressed by him personally after hearing him interviewed by Sam Tanenhaus on the New York Times Book Review podcast. The book did not disappoint.

  • Bob Schnell
    2018-09-22 23:16

    This is not a biography of Frank Langella. It is a series of stories about famous people he has met or known in his life, from a quick encounter with Marilyn Monroe when he was a boy to lifelong friendships with actors and some members of high society. The chapters are short and reading more than a few in a sitting can diminish the impact of any individual tale. Like potato chips, scrumptious for the first few but kind of bland and repetitive if you keep eating.

  • Lori
    2018-09-20 20:30

    I would give this an almost four. Frank Langella has been in show business since the late 1950s. He has met a LOT of famous people. This book is comprised of all the famous people the good and the bad. This is HIS experience with the stars he has met either working with them or just meeting them. Most are good encounters with a few bad in the mix { Like Rex Harrison}. for the most part he has nice things to say.Some are his friends, co workers etc. A fun book to read.

  • Josep
    2018-10-06 20:29

    I don't usually read auto-biographies, and I have never before read anything autobiographical by any actor. I made an exception with this book by Frank Langella, because he is someone I recently discovered and I felt intrigued about him and because I like the concept of his book: a collection of short chapters about the people, more or less well known, he has met during his life.Some reviews, like the one by the New York Times, can be misleading. This is not a book about his sexual conquests, as it has been suggested. This is a far more interesting book: this is a book about failure.Mr Langella has met plenty of successful people, but he has also met with lots of actors whose early promise never materialised. Or actors whose early promise did materialise for a while but it was eventually ruined by the self-destructiveness, neediness, lack of emotional control, reality-denying narcissism and overwhelming emotional immaturity that seem to fall like a plague over many people in the acting community.And even the successful ones are interesting for what they have in themselves of failure. One of the most interesting chapters is about the very successful playwright Arthur Miller. The chapter is focused in Langella attempt to put to stage on of Miller's less successful plays, "After the fall", where the main character is based in Miller himself. Miller is unable to see how the character that reflects him is a person no one in the audience likes. He obviously likes himself, and has everybody in the play say all the time he is such a great person. He is not, and that's obvious by everyone except the character and Mr Miller. Langella, at the end, and after plenty of negotiating with Miller, manages to get the author's agreement to have the character slapped at the end of the play. Miller didn't really understand why it was necessary. "Because someone has to", Langella said. That was great. Miller was slapped enough during his time with Marilyn, I suspect, but he may have chosen not to think too much it when constructing his idealized fictional persona. Good of him to manage that and to be able to describe it for us in his book.His chapter about Elizabeth Taylor is painful to read. He dated her 10 years before her death. She was someone who couldn't remember a time in her life when she was not famous and who spent the last years of her life confined in a mansion full of tones (quite likely, literally tones) of clothing items, jewels and bottles of astringent lotion (she was promoting them and had to have them at home as a part of her contract, apparently), and no human contacts able to give her any type of emotional fulfilment.Langella writes superbly, not as a stylist (he is good, but not outstanding), but as a dissector of human souls. He must be a good actor.

  • John
    2018-10-10 20:19

    (I had written a lengthy review earlier, lost to a computer "hiccup" at the last minute)If you're expecting to learn more about Langella himself, you get a feel for who he is, but not a lot about his own off-screen life; however, that may be as he's careful about respecting others' privacy. What you get here are highlights (although a few are a bit drawn out) of his interactions with famous names, usually film stars, some stage names, and a few other less-commonly known folks as well. I think the book is organized (more or less) chronologically, though I could be wrong. Most of the entries are matter-of-fact about what it was like for him to work with the person, good or bad (or mixed), others profiled came to become actual friends of his. His motivation seems to be that the subject be seen as a person, not a "legend" or composite of famous roles. Some involve older actors who were famous even when Frank was a kid, and what it was like to see them as (much older) colleagues later. Granted Frank was in his 70's when he wrote the book, but he does go out of his way to be kind where others might use the term "has been" instead. He's only truly negative a couple of times, often quite sympathetic. His section on Elizabeth Taylor's incredibly sad last days serves as a warning not to be envious that you, reader, aren't beautiful and famous. Montgomery Clift's entry reads as an indictment of how the (pre-60's) puritan society caused so much internalized homophobia. One story that I found just plain fun was the day he ended up meeting the Queen Mother of England ... twice!A must-read for film and theater buffs, as well as those interested in memoir and biography. If you're "not into 'show biz' stuff" - skip it.Glad I listened to this one rather than reading the print version, as the author uses his considerable acting skills to highlight the text. However, there were a few TMI moments here and there I ended up fast-forwarding past.

  • Bridget Petrella
    2018-09-21 03:41

    Rita Hayworth dancing by candlelight in a small Mexican village; Elizabeth Taylor devouring homemade pasta and 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 City street. Captured forever in a unique memoir, Frank Langella's myriad encounters with some of the past century's most famous human beings are profoundly affecting, funny, wicked, sometimes shocking, and utterly irresistible. With sharp wit and a perceptive eye, Mr. 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.What, for instance, was Jack Kennedy doing on that coffee table? Why did the Queen Mother need Mr. Langella's help? When was Paul Mellon going to pay him money owed? How did Brooke Astor lose her virginity? Why was Robert Mitchum singing Gilbert & Sullivan patter songs at top volume, and what did Marilyn Monroe say to him that helped change the course of his life? Dropped Names is a sizzling platter of stellar vignettes— pungent, indeed, but poignant as well. He opens telling of a chance Manhattan encounter with Marilyn Monroe in 1953, and ends with the wealthy Bunny Mellon, whose motto was "Nothing should be noticed." Through these shared experiences, we learn something, too, of Mr. Langella's personal journey from the age of fifteen to the present day. Dropped Names is, like its subjects, absolutely riveting and unforgettable.Frank Langella has been a professional actor for over five decades and hopes to carry on for several more. He began performing as a boy in his hometown of Bayonne, New Jersey, and currently resides in New York City. This is his first book.

  • Hermgirl
    2018-09-15 00:36

    Frank Langella as an actor is one of those guys who doesn't go in for a lot of rigmarole; he just does the job. I happen to think he does it quite well--check out the 1979 version of Dracula, or The Ninth Gate, where he stood out well against Johnny Depp's scenery chewing performance if you don't know what I'm talking about.On to the book review, though (one gets the impression Mr. L. wouldn't stand for too much ass kissing about his accomplishments, "Get it done." he might say.)As a memoir, this is adequate. 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. There were some details about ladies he dated that seemed like too much information--not salacious details, just stuff that seemed a little unflattering.This is more of a remembrance of the more famous and the slightly less famous people Frank has known, basically, it does what it says on the tin. Again, don't look to this for overly salacious dish, but do appreciate the way he reveals his own character and values in the way he speaks about friends and the not so friendly.If you're a fan like I am, this book is highly recommended.

  • Mary Timbes
    2018-10-09 19:41

    Langella is a bit of a sly fox, opening the curtain to reveal the truth about so many actors and theatrical luminaries he has known, all of them dead. He does have some dishy stories and many names I like to see dropped, and he frankly does skewer some sacred cows like Lee Strasberg, Roddy McDowell, Cary Grant, and Anne Bancroft. He has his favorites, too, like Raul Julia with whom he shared a long bromance, Jo Van Fleet, whom he admired and felt sorry for, and Maureen Stapleton, about whom I've never heard a bad word from anybody. Tony Curtis and Paul Newman come across pretty well. He hints at affairs he's had in very high places--I'll leave that for you to discover--and never mentions the name of Whoopi Goldberg. We don't learn details of his life, and he does seem to want us to think that all actors are narcissistic, perhaps exempting himself by virtue of being the teller of the tale. However, much as I enjoyed reading this, I couldn't help but think how much the writer thinks of himself. It's cleverly written and chock-full of actor-stories, however; if that's as much your thing as it is mine, you'll like this book too.

  • Sande
    2018-09-29 21:35

    What a fun book to read. Gossip like you never dreamed about everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Bunny Mellon written with candor and trenchant prose. The first three anecdotes had me in tears and I was hooked. Each famous person has a few pages as remembered by Frank Langella who reveals as much about himself as he does those whose names he drops. Not everyone from in his rich life in the theater and the elite of NYC society is featured, only those that have passed on. The surprises were Anne Bancroft, George C. Scott, and well let's face it they were all surprises. Best to read one or two, then put the book down and digest them, recall them as you thought you knew them and process. Then pick it up and devour the next one to two to three. When I tried to read more than that at one time, I was overwhelmed and skipping around isn't a great idea either since the memories/anecdotes lead often to one later on. Some of these nmes Langella knew well, others ever so briefly or tangentally, all touched him in some way that his sharing brings a new understand of these people to the reader and of fame.

  • Anmiryam
    2018-10-04 19:44

    A perfect summer book -- fun, low intellectual investment, and full of juicy gossip. Pick it up, take a few minutes to read a single chapter devoted to Langella's encounter with a given notable -- a tasty reading snack. Then put it down for several days and come back to it again when you are looking for something to help you pass a few lazy minutes with no worries about having to remember where you were.In the end though, it's outlook is nostalgic and sad. So many tales of his are of wounded and flawed if talented people. Langella seems to be largely honest and describes the few that lived their lives gracefully and those that failed to fight their demons with equal candor and sympathy. While he never explicitly turns the spotlight on himself, with a few hints here and there you come away with the impression that Langella would would assess his own life and missteps with candor and rueful acknowledgement of his own failures, egotism and hubris. Nice to come away from this book feeling that the man that was described by a fellow actor friend of my family growing up as singularly self-absorbed and vain may have grown up.

  • Susan Eisenberg
    2018-10-01 02:16

    Frank Langella's new memoir, DROPPED NAMES, is a fast-paced, juicy tell-all about the actor's relationships with many famous colleagues over the past 35 or so years. Though the book is receiving publicity for Langella's critical comments about fellow actors including Laurence Olivier, and his affairs with Rita Hayworth, Elizabeth Taylor, and possibly Jackie Kennedy just before she married Ari Onassis (their relationship remains unclear on the page), I was moved by Langella's accounts of three ailing friends: actors Alan Bates and Raul Julia, and playwright William Gibson, author of the actor's first New York triumph, "A Cry of Players." Langella also offers a tender paean to late actress Jill Clayburgh. There are 66 chapters, some quite brief, and the prose shimmers with humor, insight, and occasional testiness. What more could one want in a Hollywood memoir? I hope he has enough for a sequel, or a backstage novel that's as much fun as his 1980 movie, "Those Lips, Those Eyes," which I just watched again with delight!

  • Alice
    2018-09-25 21:18

    I think Frank Langella is a terrific actor, so I was interested in reading his memoir. The premise -- each chapter about his relationship/interaction with another famous person (mostly actors) -- is intriguing. Unfortunately, the book suffers, IMHO, from dwelling on his intimate relations with so many of the people profiled or mentioned. I found this repetitive and therefore boring. If he had left out the fact that he slept with Ms/Mrs/Miss so and so, I would have much preferred the profiles. Could they have omitted that and still had a coherent profile? I leave that question up to the editors out there. I still think Mr. Langella is a fine actor, especially in Frost/Nixon, but I can't recommend this book enthusiastically as I can his roles on stage or in films.

  • Bill
    2018-10-01 22:38

    I listened to this book, thinking that it was pointless to *read* what a great actor with a beautiful voice would write about his life when I could listen to him read it. I was not disappointed. Langella is a gifted writer for the reason that he says great actors are great: they are able to practice their art with honestly. Langella's view of actors is somewhat condescending, which is something that he often accuses his famous friends of being. However, his portraits range from funny to poignant to painful as he shows us that most "famous" people do not have the enviable lives we believe they do.

  • Megan
    2018-10-08 03:17

    This was certainly different than anything I've read lately. Mr. Langella's writing style is such that you feel like you are sitting in a room gossiping with him, which I am pretty sure was his intention. Some of the stories were very interesting, particularly the ones about the Kennedy's and Elizabeth Taylor. Many of the famous men and women were way before my time and I had no idea who they were, which diminished the stories somewhat. All and all, it wasn't the best book I've ever read, but it was fairly entertaining and a nice change of pace.

  • Diane Webber-thrush
    2018-09-18 03:17

    Reading this gift from my sister-in-law Jaymie Webber and just loving it so much. These little vignettes of people Frank Langella has known are like a delicious box of chocolates -- in sweet, sublime, bitchy and heartbreaking flavors. And the writing is fantastic ... such an ear for language and an eye for salient details. Everyone he is writing about is already dead, so he can dish hilariously when he wants to. But mostly it is more gentle than that. 100 pages in but I can recommend it highly already.

  • Terri
    2018-09-20 20:30

    Can't quite decide if I liked this one or not. Frank Langella is a very talented actor and seems a very straightforward person. The premise and organization of this memoir are good; focussed on famous people, now passed on, he has known. Some stories here are very compelling. Others are shallow or dismissive. He certainly got around! Hope he keeps his day job ...

  • Harriet
    2018-09-28 20:28

    A wonderfully gossipy memoir of all the famous people Langella knew with all the spicy details you'd want to know about. Except for Jackie O, who he knew but coyly avoids mentioning if they had an affair or not. I suspect that they did, but Langella doesn't dot the i. Decide for yourself. To a great extent, he seems to be part of their lives as a stud rather than with a speaking role.

  • Sylvia
    2018-09-23 20:34

    This was a very enjoyable book, more like sitting down with the author over a cup of coffee and reminiscing about people he had known or briefly encountered over the years. He's clear about this NOT being an autobiography but only his experiences with several well known people. These are one man's memories, and they are presented thoughtfully and honestly. I would recommend this without reserve.

  • Audrey
    2018-09-19 01:28

    Who knew Frank Langella was so in love with himself? This book was alright, but each vignette tells the same story over and over. This is a quick, beach read. I might go so far as to call it mindless fun.