Actor Frank Langela has just published his memoir, Dropped Names, and, appropriately, its filled with anecdotes about famous co-stars, friends, lovers and enemies.One of the more interesting elements of the book, according to a review in the New York Times, is how alluring the young Langella, a rising star on Broadway and Hollywood, was to other well-known men.
“On Cape Cod, Noël Coward hits on him in the presence of President and Mrs. Kennedy. In Arizona, filming a TV remake of “The Mark of Zorro,” Yvonne De Carlo (better known as Lily Munster) plays Langella’s mother by day, and by night treats him “like a pretty girl in the back seat of a convertible on a hot summer night.”
In the south of England, on location for “Dracula,” Langella flashes Laurence Olivier through the doorway of their adjoining suites, calling, “Oh professor, see anything you like?” He and Jill Clayburgh come “dangerously close to a tumble,” and backstage they and Raul Julia become “a pulsating Oreo cookie with nothing remotely chaste about where our hands and mouths wandered.” The book’s subtitle should be “Bad Girls Go Everywhere,” although Langella is no girl—as Anthony Perkins rather bluntly attempts to verify one night in a dressing room.”
Though heterosexual—and famously attached to Whoopi Goldberg—Langella isn’t above admiring the “carefree, rangy masculinity” of Robert Mitchum, the “devotion to physical pleasure” of director Roger Vadim and the “original and mesmerizing” beauty of Paul Newman.
Was Langella the James Franco of the 1960s and 70s?
Reviewer Ada Calhoun describes Names as celebrating “sluttiness as a worthy—even noble—way of life,” an idea we can certainly get behind. “There was so much happy sexuality in this book that reading it was like being flirted with for a whole party by the hottest person in the room.”
Sounds like we’ve got our summer beach read.