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Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women As I Knew Them | [Frank Langella]

Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women As I Knew Them

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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? Through these shared experiences, we learn something, too, of Mr. Langella's personal journey from the age of 15 to the present.

Dropped Names is, like its subjects, riveting and unforgettable.

©2012 Frank Langella (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers

What the Critics Say

"Engaging.... Not just Langella’s "famous people I have known," but a heartfelt love letter to the theater and to the days when stars were stars, not merely celebrities." (Kirkus Reviews)

"Rarely have I read a book about celebrities that is as insightful, candid, revealing, and as well-written as this one. Frank Langella’s memoir is not the usual author's ego trip, but rather his remembrances of the many accomplished men and women that he has come to know." (Gay Talese)

"A delightfully unabashed page-turner about people we wish we had known in the throes of work, love, and growing old." (A. R. Gurney, award-winning playwright)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (178 )
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4.2 (153 )
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4.5 (157 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Kathy Bedford, TX, United States 04-03-12
    Kathy Bedford, TX, United States 04-03-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Delightful"

    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

    17 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PT PA 05-10-12
    PT PA 05-10-12 Member Since 2006
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    "Very Enjoyable"

    Not as "sexy" as its billing--or, rather, it was more discreet than I expected. Which I actually appreciated. Made it seem much classier.

    I felt the author was being honest and sincere, no more and no less. He evaluated everyone for their good and bad traits alike. As a professional (technical and business) writer I am sensitive to bias and loaded language. Mr. Langella seemed quite straightforward.

    I was never a fan, although the latest movie I saw him in gave him a very full-blooded part that caught my interest. His voice, of course, is among the finest speaking voices recorded.

    His subjects are just about all dead. Besides avoiding libel problems, this allows for stories that are complete with endings. Beyond that, there are moments of poignant memory that are very touching. A couple of passages made me catch my breath.

    A good read, and not especially scandalous. Told with considerable dry humor. What more could you want?

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G Barth Cambridge, MA, United States 06-03-12
    G Barth Cambridge, MA, United States 06-03-12 Member Since 2000
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    "Good Dishing"

    Langella is a masterful narrator, to be expected of an actor I suppose, but still this is first rate. The writing is clever and smart and, necessarily, catty, mean, score-settling but...revealing of the actors craft: skill, rehearsals, the ruined family life, the travel, the rarified circle of friends and acquaintances. And the detailed memories of well-know people! This audiobook doesn't sound like People magazine, more like Insecure People magazine. George C. Scott, Liz Taylor, Paul Newman mix pathos with talent. Langella spares no one and certainly not himself. He sounds like he was a horse's ass of a young talent. Richard Burton comes off as a total ass no matter his age. Loved this audiobook.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tina Tipton Camarillo, CA, United States 05-02-12
    Tina Tipton Camarillo, CA, United States 05-02-12 Member Since 2012

    RPG, history and movie fan

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A glimpse into bits of Frank Langella's life."
    What made the experience of listening to Dropped Names the most enjoyable?

    Mr. Langella's voice was so delicious. And knowing that everything he spoke of was his own observations, for good or ill.


    What other book might you compare Dropped Names to and why?

    Not as deeply personal as David Niven's autobiographies, yet much, much, much more poetic.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The description of his accidental "meeting" with Marilyn Monroe. The whole scene was almost painful in its beauty. It took my breath away. There were many more breathtaking pieces of writing, but this one in particular was solitary in its perfection.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I so loved the reading that I will be buying a hardcopy of the book. I want to revel in that beautiful prose.


    Any additional comments?

    If this book was truly written by Mr. Langella, he definitely had an alternate method to earn a living.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Coventry, VT, United States 02-20-13
    Susan Coventry, VT, United States 02-20-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Very enjoyable and dishy"

    It is great to listen to at the end of the day. His voice is relaxing and you feel like you are chatting with an old friend. He can come up with some unexpected, surprising opinions which keeps things lively. He is discreet about his personal life which I like but in the world of movies and the theatre, anything goes!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Toronto, Ontario, Canada 02-12-13
    John Toronto, Ontario, Canada 02-12-13 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pleasantly surprised"

    I knew very little of the author but thoroughly enjoyed this book. Dropped names is an apt title as the number of well known people involved in Langella's life is staggering. Will listen to this again soon.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas United States 06-07-12
    Douglas United States 06-07-12 Member Since 2003

    Urgyen Menla

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    "A Good One"

    I'm not a People Magazine reader, so, this somewhat gossipy reading material would not normally be my first pick to read/listen to. But, I love the Charlie Rose Show, and I've always found Frank Langella to be a superb guest. He's intelligent, self reflective, revealing, and an entertaining story teller. All of those qualities make this such a delightful book. I looked forward to getting into my car and listen to Frank Langella read his own book and tell wonderful stories about celebrities he's known: he can demystify celebrity while engaging the reader in a treasure of life's lessons.

    He is an exceptional narrator. This is the first author narration in which the material was not negatively effected by the typical amateurish sounding author's own narration.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DS NH 02-15-13
    DS NH 02-15-13 Member Since 2012

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "good hollywood story"

    While Frank Langella is best known for his movie work, he was first and foremost a stage actor. He knew everyone, befriended most of them and has a lifetime of stories to tell about them all. I enjoyed this very much.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Philadelphia, PA, United States 05-02-12
    Paul Philadelphia, PA, United States 05-02-12 Member Since 2011

    Paul

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "You don't want Frank as a friend"
    What did you love best about Dropped Names?

    Frank Langella's voice is worth the trip


    What other book might you compare Dropped Names to and why?

    Memoirs by Tony Curtis and Kirk Douglas


    What does Frank Langella bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His resonant voice


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Frank Langella goes out of his way to reveal the weaknesses of many celebrities through the telling of catty stories. These include Cameron Mitchell, Lee Strasberg, Arthur Miller, Rex Harrison, Elizabeth Taylor and Stella Adler among others. He seems to be impressed by great wealth (the Mellons) and fawns on others (the Kennedys, Princess Diana) and damns others with faint praise (Tony Curtis, Susannah York, Claudette Colbert, Robert Mitchum and Rita Hayworth). He reveals little of his personal life, only suggesting failed marriage(s) with several children and many sexual conquests. He remains true to his stage and screen personna, a cold and calculating customer with nary a hint of humanity.


    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jerold Seattle, WA 05-18-12
    Jerold Seattle, WA 05-18-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Highly Entertaining Fun Gossip"
    Where does Dropped Names rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

    Langella has written a good entertaining book. Mr Langella does a good job presenting a positive presentation of the many celebrities he has met in his life. A really good celebrity memoir more interested in the people Mr Langella has met in his life.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I enjoyed Frank's celebrity chapters as opposed to chapter and boring chapter on the writer's point of view as an actor and celebrity.


    What does Frank Langella bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

    Mr Langella brings his personal interest and confident voice in reading his own book.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, this is a book I wanted to listen entirely in one sitting.


    Any additional comments?

    Frank Langella's personal stories and commentaries regarding Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor, Charlton Heston, Jackie Kennedy, and Raul Julia were particularly fascinating. Very nice of Mr Langella's admission of Raul Julia as his boyfriend. His commentaries were so honest and enjoyable. I feel as if Mr Langella has been a life long friend.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
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  • Robert
    Huntingdon, United Kingdom
    9/24/13
    Overall
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    "Could Have Been Better"

    Not bad. I got bored with him telling me how wonderful Jackie Onasis was. She was only famous because she was the wife of Edward Kennedy as far as I am concerned. Some of the language was a bit crude. The use of the 'C' word I could have done without. And some of the sex 'scenes' I could have done without as well. But all in all worth a listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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