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Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women As I…
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Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women As I Knew Them

by Frank Langella

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  1. 00
    With Nails: The Film Diaries of Richard E.Grant by Richard E. Grant (FemmeNoiresque)
    FemmeNoiresque: Grant's excellence as a character actor brought him work with modern cinema's finest on whom he slyly gossips as an "innocent abroad". His frankness probably lost him a role or two in the wake of this memoir. Langella is somewhat wiser in commenting only on his dead friends, lovers, co-workers and acquaintances. So no dish on Whoopi Goldberg, but indexed commentary on stars of Hollywood's Golden Age (*gold* to a movie buff like me), Broadway legends and the odd polician and Royal abound. Both are recommended for being pithy, a tad self-concious and quietly sensitive about the highs and lows of their profession.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
A pretty long book: often it seemed to be endlessly dishing the dirt on actors I haven't particularly liked, but then just as often finding the humanity lurking beneath the pancake. And sometimes, in a believe-it-or-not passage, showing Langella as a nice guy.

I chose to read the book because of Langella's entry on JFK--my goal being to read at least one book, biography or memoir, of each of our Presidents. ( )
  kaulsu | Mar 13, 2014 |
Well-written, easy-to-read, entertaining, and insightful look at some of the folks actor Frank Langella has known or worked with through the years. Each portrait lasted just a few pages but each was fascinating – even the people I had never heard of before. Langella seemed to have a way of meeting some extraordinary people like Jackie Kennedy and JFK, among others. Many famous names are discussed including Marilyn Monroe, Robert Mitchum, Rita Hayworth, Richard Burton, Raul Julia, Paul Newman, and so many more. A fun read and hard to put down. ( )
  knahs | Jan 27, 2014 |
I thought this was so interesting. I disagree with those who say that it was vitriolic and gossipy. He is an excellent and sensitive writer and gave fascinating, personal portraits of the many celebrities he socialized with over the years. Several of the anecdotes were quite touching. I enjoyed the stories about Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Onassis and Rita Hayworth. He knew and met just about every famous theatre or movie actor, and describes his encounters with them with wit, kindness and passion. He is harsher with a couple of characters, but they deserved it. I highly recommend this book. I listened to it on audible where it was read by the author and I can't imagine "reading" it any other way. It was like having him sitting with me in my kitchen or living room, telling me his memories of his glory days. What a grand life for a Italian Kid from Jersey. What a handsome, wonderful actor. ( )
  HollyBoggie | Mar 25, 2013 |
An odd book. I began it with high expectations, since I find Langella to be an intelligent, highly skilled actor. What I've discovered by reading his memoir of now-dead famous friends and acquaintances, however, is that I don't think I like him very much; he's a little too cruel for my taste. Consider this about Roddy Mcdowell -- "I watched him work the room like a cordless vacuum cleaner, sucking up celebrity droppings."

Or perhaps that's not fair. More accurately stated, I feel somewhat sorry for him. Reading between the lines here, he comes off as a very smart, somewhat insecure man with a dodgy semi-transparent sex life (there is a lot of slap and tickle in the book with famous women of all ages and, one suspects, a few tumbles--or at least exploratory sessions--with men) and a longing to be seen as both attractive and important, who regardless of accomplishments is dissatisfied and snarky. True, he does not escape his own criticism, but there's something about this parade of elderly, mostly drunken, sad, sick and lonely actors that left me feeling little more than pity for the entire profession. Many creative people feel this way, of course -- God knows I've met my fair share of writers who fit the bill.

His prose his fine -- not brilliant writing, but it serves -- and he certainly does know a lot of famous folks, many of whom say clever, if unkind, things about each other. Still, I think I'll go back and watch his STUNNING performance in "Starting Our In The Evening." I prefer that Langella. ( )
  Laurenbdavis | Jun 10, 2012 |
This book is an alluring look into the world of the theater and the privileged. Frank Langella has worked as an actor for five decades. He relates stories about the charismatic writers, directors and actors he has meet during his career. Mr. Langella has also been friends with some of the wealthiest people in America.

Each chapter is about a relationship with a different person. The author only writes about people who have passed away or people who have allowed him to write about there association. I don't know very much about theater actors and I had to google some of the names. It would have been nice to have pictures in the book to associate with the names. Other subjects were more well known. I wasn't surprised by Mr. Langella's description of the people I had already heard of. He wrote about divas, closeted homosexuals, narcissistic personalities, and lonely alcoholics as well as generous nobel people who profoundly altered his life. Some chapters were very poignant, particularly the one devoted to President Kennedy. This was an engaging quick read and I recommend it to fans of the New York theater and those interested in the lifestyles of the rich. ( )
  craso | May 1, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062094475, Hardcover)

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 fifteen to the present day.

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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:50:33 -0400)

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 fifteen to the present day. Dropped Names is, like its subjects, riveting and unforgettable.… (more)

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