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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 (187 )
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4.5 (166 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Linda Centennial, Wyoming, United States 08-04-14
    Linda Centennial, Wyoming, United States 08-04-14 Member Since 2011

    buffalogirlofwy

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A WONDERFUL BOOK FOR TEARS"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katie GLASTONBURY, CT, United States 12-12-13
    Katie GLASTONBURY, CT, United States 12-12-13
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    2
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    "Enchanting, Lots of unexpected bursts of laughter."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Dropped Names?

    I enjoyed his account of Jackie Kennedy & Bunny Mellon.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Its hard to say which scene was my favorite. I can say that I laughed out loud...a lot.


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

    Yes this is a book I wanted to listen to in one sitting. I tried but...daily life pulled me away.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Glen Ridge, NJ, United States 07-24-13
    Gary Glen Ridge, NJ, United States 07-24-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    10
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    "WOW!!"
    If you could sum up Dropped Names in three words, what would they be?

    Wonderful, Real, Performance


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

    Can't, Frank's a master story teller. The voices, the history, it's like experiencing a Broadway Play, the finest one man show.


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

    A great actor performing his finest play.


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

    Torture to put pause. It was a so so entertaining and real.


    Any additional comments?

    A must listen!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hillary MORRIS, CT, United States 07-09-13
    Hillary MORRIS, CT, United States 07-09-13 Member Since 2011

    avoiding road rage one book at a time...

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Frank! Where have you been all my life?!"

    If you care even a little bit about Old Hollywood, you need to read this luxuriously written book. If you want to hear the best narration ever committed to an audio file, please hear this. Hollywood's best kept secret, Frank Langella, has been there and done everything(one) and tells his stories with tactful abandon. My favorite story is his on-set dalliance with the beauty of mythological proportions, Rita Hayworth (at the time 20 years his senior). He shed light on her secret (even to her) struggle with Alzheimer's starting at age 53, for which she was chalked up as a crazy, paranoid alcoholic. Exceptional purchase.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    laconfidential Beverly Hills, CA 01-23-13
    laconfidential Beverly Hills, CA 01-23-13 Member Since 2012

    Sharply Opinionated Know-it-all. Curious beyond healthy. Gallows Humor. Election Coverage Junkie. Hollywood Insider.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "A Love Letter to Life"

    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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane Seattle, WA, United States 01-21-13
    Diane Seattle, WA, United States 01-21-13
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    "Like listening to an old friend reminisce...."
    Where does Dropped Names rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's hard to rank them because they all have been different, but I have loved them all. I have recommended this book to my friends love the entertainment industry.


    What did you like best about this story?

    He seems to be quite honest about the good and bad in the people he has met, and most importantly is very honest about his own shortcomings and failures.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    My most memorable scenes were the ones with Jackie Kennedy, especially the ones where he immediately regretted his actions, and she as always was a lady.


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

    I smiled through most of the book, really enjoyed his memories, observations & opinions.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Monica Cory Portland, OR USA 01-18-13
    Monica Cory Portland, OR USA 01-18-13
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    "Fun Behind the Scenes"
    Would you listen to Dropped Names again? Why?

    Great read, well written and a fun behind the scenes look at an actor's life and the myriad of personalities he encountered on an interesting life''s journey.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Clayton, CA, United States 01-04-13
    J. Clayton, CA, United States 01-04-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Anybody Still Alive Out There?"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    There's nothing like listening to the author's own voice in going through his or her own book. However, in this case, the listener will have to put up with Langella's low, slow, almost somnolescent, funereal voice or intonations. It's just as well, as by far the majority of the people he speaks of are either well past cremated or rather nicely dug in their graves or slid into their niches long ago.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Frank Langella? Why or why not?

    No. Though generally pleasing to listen to, his voice is a bit too funereal or, more charitably, sleep inducing.


    What three words best describe Frank Langella’s voice?

    rich, somnolescent, funereal.


    Could you see Dropped Names being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    No. But wait. Maybe so. Langella would probably feel that he's good enough to play them all, but then would probably pass if another Kennedy asked him to dinner.


    Any additional comments?

    Content of book is entertaining enough to recommend. For example, who knew how incredibly boring Richard Burton could be, and so forth. But then, like so many long dead others that Langella name-drops and "dishes" along the way, they can't quite answer back, can they?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maureen dublin, OH, United States 12-30-12
    Maureen dublin, OH, United States 12-30-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Be still my heart...delightful!"

    Full disclosure...I've been a besotted fan of Frank Langella forever and to hear him read this honest and extraordinary memoir in his own voice was heavenly! He shows great courage in revealing exactly how he feels about the great actors he's worked with...much of this is surprising and even shocking at times although it must be said that he is just as hard on himself! His recollections of Jack and Jackie Kennedy, Mel Brooks, Rita Hayworth, Elizabeth Taylor and so many others are amazing! We share having grown up in Bayonne, New Jersey and to think that he was able to rise above his humble beginnings to become the great actor makes this a truly fascinating bildungsroman!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LeSLiE Hillsborough, NC, United States 10-17-12
    LeSLiE Hillsborough, NC, United States 10-17-12 Member Since 2007

    QUESTION : DOES LISTENING TO AUDIO BOOKS MAKE YOU SMARTER? If so, I'm. Freakin Genius!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Refreshingly Brutal. Enough Said."

    Frank Langella's Name Dropping Memoir was Great!

    Yes, I am perfectly aware that all the persons mentioned in his book are dead (except one, the very rich, and recently in the news, Bunny) thus giving him the freedom to express his very detailed and mostly unflattering opinions of many of his past friends and fellow thespians.
    What can I say? I was completely HOOKED. Am I a little ashamed? Maybe. But, my fellow audio book listener, I dare you to buy this book and not become a fellow addict.
    IT'S ON! :)

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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