Frank Langella Was a Happy Slut

6.8.2012

By Jerry Portwood

His memoir, 'Dropped Names,' paints him as a man who turned on the ladies—and the men

Now most people think of Frank Langella as either Nixon (he played him on Broadway and in the movie version of Frost/Nixon) or some sort of lovable old guy they'd be happy to meet at a dinner party. Most recently he was seen on Broadway in Man and Boy (pictured) opposite Adam Driver (who we now know as Hannah's bf in HBO's Girls). But according to his memoir, Dropped Names, he was a randy starfucker in his day. As Ada Calhoun points out in her New York Times book review: 

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.

This is the sort of sexy storytelling that makes for a good summer beach read—lots of dropped names indeed! But wait! There's more. While Langella seems to really like older ladies in carnal ways (Brooke Astor, Loretta Young, Rita Hayworth, Bette Davis, and Liz Taylor are all mentioned), he also appreciates the gents. As Calhoun notes: "He celebrates Robert Mitchum’s 'carefree, rangy masculinity,' Roger Vadim’s 'devotion to physical pleasure,' and Paul Newman’s 'original and mesmerizin' beauty (although he does call him 'dull' and note that he didn’t have 'much of a behind')." This is great stuff!

What we appreciate most of all is that Calhoun seems to be intoxicated by the slutty glow rather than repulsed.

As she writes: "The word 'slut' has been invoked in the public discourse as an ugly slur. But Langella’s book celebrates sluttiness as a worthy — even noble — way of life...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."

We here ya, Ada, and we back you up, gal.

 

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