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
"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)
Citing anecdotal chapter and verse and wielding a stiletto of finely toned English , the great and the good are praised, rewarded ... and and great and the bad sent forthwith to Langella Hell.
You know, I always thought that was something fishy, distinctly "off" about The Actor's Method, at least as promulgated by Lee Strasberg. Langella briskly skewers Strasberg on his own petard. Liked that, I did.
Ah, that macrocosmic world of Unspeakable (as one does not speak of it) Wealth, its weedless emerald lawns, its summer linens lifting in a light Cape Cod breeze, its breezy luncheons, chummy discourses over dewy glasses of G&T and crisp, monogrammed cards of perfectly penned thank you notes. Extraordinary generosity to charities and important museums to be sure. But too often neither finding nor seeking a bridge connecting "their" world to "ours", to a genuine, feeling, human to human experience. Oh, don't bother, the servants will take care of it. Absolutely terrifying.
Rita Hayworth and Gloria de Haven ... what tender bundles he lifts up and delivers to his readers with his experiences with these beautiful and battered Hollywood moth-blossoms, while candidly admitting his own selfish shallowness.
A box of chocolates ... you never knew what you were going to get. In Hogwartian terms, some bonbons were earwax and vomit and some truffe-rich, nougat-yummt or cherry centered creams. But the box is beautifully presented, impeccably appointed and offered to one with such slyly casual aplomb that one cannot fail, no matter one's choice, to be deliciously captivated.
Rarely should an author narrate their own book but this is a great exception. Frank has a wonderful voice. Even though many of the stars were before my time he does a fantastic job of weaving spicy tales about his long history with them in show business.
I love Frank as an actor. This reading gives insight into his personality. He comes across as witty, and at times spiteful, which makes it fun to listen and use your imagination. At times it feels that so voyeuristic. Enjoy this guilty pleasure on a rainy day!
Book & History Enthusiast
This glimpse into Mr. Langella only makes me admire him more. I truly loved hearing about his experiences with all these people...and his voice! Well really...it just melts me. I wasn't sure what to expect but I am so glad I downloaded this book.
Fun and interesting. Fun and interesting. Fun and interesting. Fun and interesting. Fun and interesting. Fun and interesting. Fun and interesting. Four unique words remaining.
The combination of funny and poignant stories of the rich and famous with Mr. Langella's soothing voice adds up to an audio book you don't want to end and will never forget...If you like it bawdy.
It's was not Hollywood fodder, but true experiences by the author. So many stories about famous people that brought them to the same level as the average person. It's funny at times and very touching just as many times.
There were so many moments that it's impossible to name one.
He was a pleasure to listen to giving life to everything he talks about.
Should not and could not possibly be be put on screen.
I had this in my wish list for months. Thinking it would be tabloid in nature, I wasn't really interested. I have no use for Hollywood gossip and despise all the mags that produce it. This is so far from that! I'm thrilled I finally gave it a try and enjoyed every moment of it. Its a must read especially if you've enjoyed old Hollywood.
As I listened to this book, I welled up with tears many times. I guess I really needed to feel some emotion because once completed, I felt rejuvenated, like I had revisited every wonderful moment I have ever seen on screen. I was very surprised by my reaction. I highly recommend this book. Frank Langella's writing is so humble, as is his soft voice. I could hear the emotion in some of the recollections. I loved this book.
This was a wonderful account of Mr. Langella's life in movies & theater. Laced with stories of his celebrity friendships. It was truly a great read.
I enjoyed his account of Jackie Kennedy & Bunny Mellon.
Its hard to say which scene was my favorite. I can say that I laughed out loud...a lot.
Yes this is a book I wanted to listen to in one sitting. I tried but...daily life pulled me away.
I have a friend who is an actress (Broadway/off Broadway) who has done a few things with Mr. Langella. I adored her stories and impersonations she did of him. I have long since been curious of who he really is and what is life is like.
Sharply Opinionated Know-it-all. Gallows Humor. Hollywood Insider.
What a joy to hear the author read his extraordinary book. If you are even thinking about reading or purchasing the audio version, do not wait another moment.
The best autobiography or biography I have ever "heard" . . . Truly remarkable.
The author does not make the mistake of painting himself as the hero of his own narrative - bravo to him and even better for us.
Honest, profound, intriguing . . . a Love Letter to Life
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