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)
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.
No. Though generally pleasing to listen to, his voice is a bit too funereal or, more charitably, sleep inducing.
rich, somnolescent, funereal.
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.
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?
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!
QUESTION : DOES LISTENING TO AUDIO BOOKS MAKE YOU SMARTER? If so, I'm. Freakin Genius!
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! :)
This is my favorite nonfiction audio book to date. It's witty, well written, and endlessly fascinating.
Edgy, intelligent, and fun!
That's hard to say. I gues any other biography or autobiography. There is a lot to like in this book.
I have never heard any of Frank Langella's other "reads" for Audible but I am a huge fan and I've seen him on Broadway. This is a phenomenal actor!
Absolutely! If I had time to do so, I would have taken the entire day to get through it in one sitting. I have very little time and as it was I got through it in three days. I couldn't put it down.
This is a great book about famous people Frank Langella met and knew well. This was a forthright telling of famous people and their good and not-so-good qualities. It just goes to show you that it doesn't matter how much money you make or how famous you are, we are all only human.
I already have, and shared it with friends who I knew would feel as I had. Hilarious, touching, pompous and deliciously written, this memoir touches on the lives of the rich and famous as few before have. Everyone from Jackie O to Elia Kazan gets the full treatment, and while none of the subjects are alive to confirm or dispel the stories, you have to applaud the author, who reads with alarming stillness and wit, for sharing them the way "he remembers them".
The chapter on Oliver Reed is the most fun, Marilyn Monroe the most unbelievable, Rita Hayworth, the saddest, Anthony Quinn the most revealing, Lee Strasberg the dishiest. The Cape Cod story of luncheon with the president and Mrs. Kennedy at the Mellons with Noel Coward and "Dellie" is alone worth the price.
His impersonations, vitriol, sarcasm, wit, and matter of fact presentation.
"You'd have to live it to believe it".
Ideal for anyone who has ever had a connection to the world of entertainment, for anyone who has ever been a fan or idolized a celebrity, for anyone who has seen a play or a movie.
I wouldn't listen again because it's a book and there are so many other books to read and listen to!
Perhaps the chapter on Rex Harrison.
I have not.
"Be careful what you say to Frank Langella."
I found the book fascinating, but, then, I am in the business and recognized pertty much all of the "characters." So I gave it five stars across the board. I can see, though, how some listeners/readers might find Langella as pompous and arrogant as some of the people about whom he writes. Still, I enjoyed listening very much.
Am a huge LOTR & STAR WARS fan that love to listen to very good books that are literary in nature. I especially enjoy medical thrillers.
I like how Langella shared his thoughts of the people he'd met if a few he'd only known for a short time and his first impressions of them. That and for some of them, how they've impacted his own influence and personal opinion.
Hard to say on that subject...the closest might be to having heard Barbara Walter's memoir when she'd mentioned some folks that were a part of her life...but from her, this was only a small part of her world compared to Langella's DROPPED NAMES.
I wished he'd sounded better than he did...otherwise he'd told his story very well and with a lot of meaning to those stories he'd shared in his book.
Perhaps a follow up might come in the form of a Volume 2. Could be more folks he'd had more recently had come by since they'd passed since the first publication like perhaps he'd come across Phyllis (sp?) Diller or Neil Armstrong...or his thought of Tony Scott?? Who knows??
Thank you Mr. Langella for writing this book and reading this for us. It's much appreciated!! Yours Truly a fan of yours!! :)
Frank Langella reads his own work expertly. I doubt I would have enjoyed this as much if I read it myself.
There are funny, interesting, absorbing chapters in this well written series of observations of famous people Langella has met or known over his long career. This may be too gossipy for some but it is well written, thoughtful and expertly performed. Some very funny and very sad recollections.
70 year old grandmother of 2 teenagers. Still working in real estate appraisal field, live in OH and SC - spend time listening & traveling.
Doubtful. I don't think I could tolerate Frank Langella's monotone droning on and on for another 10+ hours. He has some good stuff to say about people who are well known but dead (so he's safe that they won't dispute what he says about them). He is tough on alot of people and outs more than a few. Remarkably, he always comes out as being the one everyone turns to - from Elizabeth Taylor to Bunny Mellon - for comfort. He's always "Frankie" or "Baby" and it wears thin after a while.
No. I think he's said all he has to say that's interesting.
His ever present droning monotone. He's an actor, for Heaven's sake! The only time his tone changed was when he was portraying a female.
From "Dropping Names" to throwing names in the gutter.
I've heard worse.
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