Dropped Names by Frank Langella

80%

17 Critic Reviews

Through it all, the author’s respect for the craft of acting and those who attempt to practice it at the highest level is evident, and his focus on the importance of real connection between not just actor and audience but between human beings, elevates the book above mere name-dropping.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

Rita Hayworth dancing by candlelight; Elizabeth Taylor 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 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. 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.

 

About Frank Langella

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Frank Langella has been a star of stage and screen for over four decades. In 2009, he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his portrayal of Richard Nixon in Ron Howard's big-screen adaptation of Frost/Nixon, a role that had previously earned him his third Tony for its stage performance. Langella scored an artistic and critical success in 2005 playing William Paley in George Clooney's historical docudrama, Good Night and Good Luck. Throughout the 1990s, Langella acted in a number of box-office and critical successes, including Ivan Reitman's Dave, Adrian Lyne's Lolita, and Roman Polanski's The Ninth Gate. Most recently he has been seen in Oliver Stone's Wall Street II, All Good Things, and Unknown.
 
Published March 27, 2012 by Harper. 384 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Apr 15 2012
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Weeks as Bestseller
Bookmark Counts:
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Critic reviews for Dropped Names
All: 17 | Positive: 13 | Negative: 4

Kirkus

Excellent
Mar 15 2012

Through it all, the author’s respect for the craft of acting and those who attempt to practice it at the highest level is evident, and his focus on the importance of real connection between not just actor and audience but between human beings, elevates the book above mere name-dropping.

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NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Ada Calhoun on Apr 20 2012

There is so much happy sexuality in this book that reading it is like being flirted with for a whole party by the hottest person in the room. It’s no wonder Langella was invited everywhere.

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National Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Shinan Govani on May 09 2012

As sentimental as this page-turner gets, it’s also insanely wicked. Not to mention a new classic as far as these kinds of celebrity compendiums go.

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The Washington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Charles Matthews on Mar 30 2012

But the book gains richness and depth by being taken as a whole, as a revelation that fame turns everyone... into actors, strutting and fretting their hour upon the stage.

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USA Today

Excellent
Reviewed by Elyssa Gardner on Mar 25 2012

Some actors are only good with other people's language, or too discreet to publicly indulge in deep-dish gossip. Frank Langella, happily, is not one of them.

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Huffington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Susan Dormady Eisenberg on Mar 29 2012

...Frank Langella who, at age 74, displays a shimmering gift for prose. He's the literary life of the party, and I hope he has enough material for a sequel...

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Newsday

Below average
Reviewed by Linda Winer on Mar 27 2012

Around this time, late in the book, one wishes Langella had stopped a few chapters earlier. By the end, his nasty charm turns cruel and his revelations about others feel too private.

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Mail Online

Below average
Reviewed by Tom Leonard on Mar 23 2012

...he has written only about people who are dead. It is just as well. Few of those with whom he has trodden the boards or worked on a film set will thank him for his revelations, affectionate as some of them are clearly intended to be.

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Chicago Tribune

Excellent
Reviewed by Liz Smith on Mar 05 2012

But there's so much more. It's like the best steak dinner you'll ever have -- meat a bit bloody! -- with a creamy, comforting side-dish.

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BuffaloNews.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Jeff Simon on Apr 27 2012

the world now adds one of the truly great, compulsively readable theatrical memoirs from a suitably exceptional theatrical and film figure of the second rank, Frank Langella.

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NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Charles Isherwood on Apr 12 2012

His uncommonly eloquent book is enjoyable for the panoply of great names...But the memoir is more notable, and moving, for its keen awareness of the harsh emotional price many performers pay to earn their turn on the stage.

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TheaterMania

Excellent
Reviewed by Ellis Nassour on Mar 28 2012

While Langella has a sharp knack for shoveling dirt over some corpses, there's no question that Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women As I Knew Them, is much more than a bitchfest -- and a very hard book to put down.

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Blouin Artinfo

Excellent
Reviewed by Patrick Pacheco on Mar 20 2012

And in this bitchy, highly entertaining memoir, he throws open the doors of the zoo and reveals the galloping egos, peccadilloes, delusions, insecurities, and self-destructive tantrums of those who labor before and behind the cameras and footlights.

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Talkin' Broadway

Excellent
Reviewed by Michael Ladenson

Nonetheless, Dropped Names is an undeniable pleasure, one you may be tempted to devour too quickly.

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Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine

Good
Reviewed by Bill Crider on May 26 2012

It's gossipy, insightful, funny, sad, and hugely entertaining if, like me, you're a sucker for reading the intimate details of the lives of glamorous people...

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Vince Keenan

Below average
Reviewed by Vince Keenan on May 15 2012

There’s clichéd writing throughout, but it’s punctuated by sharp observations that read like a skilled actor sizing up a character... Langella brings big names onto the stage, giving them the limelight – then proceeds to steal the scene.

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My Three Percent is Swimming

Below average
Reviewed by Rob Kotaska on May 23 2012

When bitter, vindictive Frank emerges I found the book to be almost unreadable. His scalding critique of people that he met, but really did not know, bothers me on a fundamental level.

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Reader Rating for Dropped Names
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