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Extended Audio Sample Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women As I Knew Them Audiobook, by Frank Langella Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (545 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Frank Langella Narrator: Frank Langella Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2012 ISBN: 9780062213266
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Splendid…As much a memoir as a primer on the vicissitudes of an actor’s life, the book is a collage based on real-life situations that offer touching insights into stars like Rita Hayworth, and into the practical magic that informs Langella’s signature sensibility.” 

    New Yorker

  • “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 

  • “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, author of A Writer's Life 

  • “Frank Langella’s Dropped Names is a different kind of memoir. Not many of his peers could write such an eloquently dishy book.” 

    Los Angeles Times

  • Dropped Names is a sizzling platter of stellar vignettes—pungent, for sure, but poignant too…Mr. Langella is surgically precise, and eloquent…The human condition in most of its vagaries is beautifully rendered between these pages.” 

    Liz Smith

  • “If Frank Langella’s memoir simply did what its title promises, it would be deep-dish gossip. But his memories of the stars he’s encountered during a lengthy career on Broadway and in film shed perceptive light on the costs of pursuing and maintaining fame.”  

    Detroit Free Press

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Terence | 2/19/2014

    " Just an okay celebrity memoir. Very light summer reading "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jaynez | 2/11/2014

    " I appreciate a man who loves & respects women and that's exactly what Frank Langella is. He dishes a lot on old movie stars, writers, directors he's known - maybe sometimes a little bit TMI. At least he waited until they were all dead... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leslie | 2/11/2014

    " Frank Langella is a great story teller and knew, worked with, or slept with almost everyone in Hollywood or on Broadway. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark Ellis | 2/7/2014

    " I zipped through this jolly read featuring vignettes of the author's famous friends or acquaintances from films, theatre, and elsewhere. From Arthur Miller to Elizabeth Taylor, from the Queen Mother to Paul Newman. Well written and engaging. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Donna Frasor | 2/1/2014

    " A gossipy book of primarily threater and movie personalities that the author has met over his lifetime. You learn as much about the author as you do about the characters he writes about. This book would be difficult read for a young adult to connect to, as many of the people have died or are peolpe that I, a 60+ aged reader, did not know. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura | 1/30/2014

    " I thought this was all right. I didn't learn much of anything new about anyone. Nothing was shocking or scathing. Thought he sounded like a bit of a braggart at times. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Greg | 1/25/2014

    " Frank Langella's interesting take on a memoir - reflecting on the rich and famous he's encountered and known over the past 50 years or so - Dropped Names is a delightful read, dishy, a little scandalous here and there, and entirely engaging. The anecdotes are each very well written - one learns as much about Langella as the particular celebrity he's writing about. The stories range from LOL (Colleen Dewhurst, Charlton Heston, Elsa Lanchester) to poignant (Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Rita Hayworth) to pitiful (Bette Davis, Richard Burton). A wonderful read to dip into over the course of a few evenings - you feel like you're sitting down to cocktails with a wonderful storyteller who's not afraid to name names. Highly recommended. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Berry Simpson | 1/24/2014

    " I enjoyed these stories, but I'll admit I only read the chapters if I knew who the famous person was. For me, that was about half. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen | 1/12/2014

    " It's always fun to read about celebrities by other celebrities and this was no exception. Langella doesn't hold back. Very interesting insights on Jackie O, Elizabeth Taylor, et al. If you enjoy this sort of thing, it was fun and quick read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 12/30/2013

    " I've had the pleasure of seeing FL perform in two different plays and found him to be an exceptional actor. His personal memories of some of the great celebrities of his time was a fascinating read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Judy | 12/27/2013

    " This book is a fun read for those who have followed the lives of actors on the big screen and stage. Langella chooses a famous name and then writes about encountering that person as a friend or colleague. It somehow comes off in a very interesting way. I hope Langella writes another book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Trisha | 12/16/2013

    " interesting, but a bit mean. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Victoria Shepherd | 12/14/2013

    " Who knew that Frank had contact, some of it quite intimate, with so many famous folks? A fun read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vernon Campbell | 11/6/2013

    " The stories that are told are not always showy or fabulous, some just deals with being friends. Or not being friends in some cases. We see behind the curtain about some famous people and I totally enjoyed it... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dave Jones | 9/30/2013

    " Honest, maybe too honest, stories about famous people who crossed his life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeanie Hackett | 9/21/2013

    " so totally brilliant, and totally, honestly FRANK. You are attracted to his brain, his sensitivity, his great big undefinable sexuality. And did I say insightful and perceptive and (surprise!) empathetic? this is just delicious. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 9/21/2013

    " Well written and analogous to an anthology of short stories. These vignettes can be read in any order and are interesting to the extent that the reader recognizes the names being dropped. The author was respectful of the subjects. A diversion. Simple, not unpleasant, and quick read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leslie Angel | 6/2/2013

    " ok, I'll admit it. I read it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lacy | 4/30/2013

    " I read this book because of an NPR interview with Frank Langella. I enjoyed the interview more than the book, but I was not the intended audience for either. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dan | 1/19/2013

    " It was a great fast read with wonderful dish. Very entertaining. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristine | 1/14/2013

    " I flew through this one, it was just delightful. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maureen Lelaidier | 10/30/2012

    " I love Frank Langella, so I might be prejudiced, but he seems to be a really good writer. My only problem was that I did not know some of the people he wrote about. Before my time? Hard to believe but maybe true. Fascinating picture of the old Hollywood. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Molly | 10/3/2012

    " Really fun, dishy read with lots of famous names and revealing aspects of the rich and famous. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 marcali | 8/27/2012

    " fun comparison with Scotty Bowers' book (& the silverware premise is pretty cute) "

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About the Author

Frank Langella has been a professional actor for over five decades and hopes to carry on for several more. He began performing as a boy in his hometown of Bayonne, New Jersey, and currently resides in New York City. This is his first book.