"I like audiences believing I am the character I am, and if they hear too much about how I play it or too much about my personal life, I'm not that character, I'm the guy they saw on ‘The Letterman Show’ telling that anecdote." Frank Langella
Versatile actor Frank Langella has won three Tony Awards, two for Best Featured Actor in a Play for Edward Albee's “Seascape” (1975) and Ivan Turgenev's “Fortune's Fool” (2002), and one for Best Leading Actor in a Play for his performance as former President Richard Nixon in Peter Morgan's “Frost/Nixon” (2007). He was also nominated for Tony's Best Leading Actor in a Play twice, one for the Edward Gorey revival of Bram Stoker's “Dracula” (1977) and Stephen Belber's “Match” (2004).
On the wide screen, Langella made his early film appearances in "Diary of a Mad Housewife" (1970) and "The Twelve Chairs" (1970) before he was shot to fame while reprising his Tony-nominated Broadway role in the lavish film adaptation of "Dracula" (1979). He later starred in such films as "Masters of the Universe" (1987), "Body of Evidence" (1993), "Dave" (1993), "Eddie" (1996), "Lolita" (1997), "I'm Losing You" (1998), "Sweet November" (2001), "House of D" (2004), "Good Night, and Good Luck." (2005), "Superman Returns" (2006), and "Starting Out in the Evening" (2007).
Langella will recreate the role of Nixon in the upcoming film adaptation directed by Ron Howard, "Frost/Nixon," and will co-star with James Marsden and Cameron Diaz in thriller film called "The Box." He is also set to team up with Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst in the upcoming drama "All Good Things."
On a more personal note, the 6' 4" Italian-American thespian was married to Ruth Weil and has two children. He lived with actress/comedienne Whoopi Goldberg from 1995 until early 2000.
Childhood and Family:
The son of business executive Frank A. Langella, Sr., Frank A. Langella Jr. was born on January 1, 1940, in Bayonne, New Jersey. The Italian-American attended Washington Elementary School and Bayonne High School in Bayonne before graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in drama from Syracuse University in 1959, where he studied with Larry Hankin and Carl Gottlieb.
He married Ruth Weil (born in 1941) on June 14, 1977, and has two children with her. They divorced in October 1995 and Langella lived with actress/comedienne Whoopi Goldberg (born on November 13, 1955) until early 2000.
Starting Out in the Evening
Touring Europe with a folk-singing group during the late '50s, Frank Langella made his New York stage debut in 1963 in a production of "The Immoralist." Two years later, he scored his first big break when he won an Obie Award for Best Performance in 1965 for his work in the play "The Old Glory," alongside Roscoe Lee Browne and Lester Rawlins). He also won another Obie Award, this time for Distinguished Performance, for his turn in the staging of "Good Day and The White Devil."
During the rest of the '60s, Langella acted in John Whiting's play based on the 1952 book "The Devils of Loudon," by Aldous Huxley, "The Devils," at Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum, and portrayed the title role of "Dracula" on-stage for the first time in 1967. He also portrayed a young Will Shakespeare in the stage drama "A Cry of Players" in 1968, which won him a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance, and made his stage directing debut with "John and Abigail" in 1969.
Entering the '70s, Langella appeared on a PBS program titled "Actor's Choice" in the episode "Nevermore" with Carrie Nye. He also made a film debut in director Frank Perry's critically-acclaimed adaptation of the 1967 novel by Sue Kaufman, "Diary of a Mad Housewife" (1970), for which Langella was nominated for a Golden Globe award for Most Promising Newcomer - Male and won the National Board of Review's Best Supporting Actor Award for his brilliant turn as George Prager.
He followed it up with a co-starring role in Mel Brooks' big screen version of a classic satirical novel by the Soviet authors Ilf and Petrov, "The Twelve Chairs" (1970), which won him another National Board of Review's Best Supporting Actor Award.
Langella was then cast in the title role in "Cyrano de Bergerac" (1971) at the Williamstown Theater Festival and appeared on television in a December 1973 episode of the short-lived romantic anthology series on NBC, "Love Story." He also made his first TV movie, "The Mark of Zorro" (1974; ABC), playing the title role of the swashbuckling masked hero, and appeared in the Williamstown staging of "The Seagull" (1975), which was filmed for public television's "Theater in America."
Langella made his Broadway debut as a lizard in Edward Albee's "Seascape" (1975), which won him a Best Supporting Actor Tony and Drama Desk's Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play. After starring with Blythe Danner in Tennessee Williams' "Eccentricities of a Nightingale" (1976) at the Williamstown Theater Festival, he returned to Broadway to play the title role of "Dracula" (1977), which earned him a Best Actor Tony nomination. He would later recreate the role, opposite Laurence Olivier's Van Helsing, in the lavish film adaptation of the same name in 1979, which earned him a Best Actor nomination from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films.
In the early '80s, Langella directed playwright Albert Innaurato's "Passione" on Broadway and revisited the role of "Cyrano de Bergerac" for a second time at the Williamstown Theater Festival. He also played Salieri on Broadway in Peter Shaffer's 1979 play loosely based on the lives of the composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri, "Amadeus" (1982), and received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Individual Achievement - Informational Programming for his portrayal of the title role in the made-for-television movie “I, Leonardo: A Journey of the Mind” (1983).
Langella subsequently returned to the stage to co-star with Jill Clayburgh in Noel Coward's 1932 comedy play "Design for Living" (1984) and both produced and starred in the off-Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's 1964 play "After the Fall" (1984). He went back to Broadway in 1985 as Eddie in David Rabe's acclaimed dark comedy play "Hurlyburly" before producing and starring on Broadway as Sherlock Holmes in "Sherlock's Last Case" (1987). Meanwhile, moviegoers probably failed to recognize him as Skeletor, the arch-enemy and main antagonist of He-Man (played by Dolph Lundgren), in Gary Goddard's live action feature film, "Masters of the Universe" (1987).
Hitting the '90s, Langella made his musical comedy stage debut as Professor Henry Higgins in the Houston Grand Opera staging of "My Fair Lady." He also won a CableACE Award for Best Actor in a Dramatic Series for his performance as Dr. Frankel in the episode "Fortitude" of the TV series "Monkey House" (1991). Afterward, he played Minister Jaro (1993) on the syndicated sci-fi series “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”
Langella portrayed Bob Alexander in Ivan Reitman's movie starring Kevin Kline, "Dave" (1993) and starred as Madonna's ex-lover in Uli Edel's uneven thriller, "Body of Evidence" (1993), which also starred Willem Dafoe. He also appeared as family patriarch Junius Brutus Booth in the New York stage production of Austin Pendleton's "Booth" (1994) and co-starred with Whoopi Goldberg in the successful basketball comedy movie "Eddie" (1996).
After earning praise for his Broadway role of Garry Essedine in a revival of Noel Coward's "Present Laughter" (1996), Langella garnered positive reviews while playing the title role in the revival of August Strindberg's play, "The Father" (1996), which won him a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play. He then played the Pharaoh to Ben Kingsley's "Moses" (1996; TNT) and adapted Edmund Rostand's "Cyrano de Bergerac" (1997) in an intimate off-Broadway setting, which he also directed and starred in the title role.
Langella spent the rest of the '90s playing Jeremy Irons’ nemesis in Adrain Lyne's film version of Vladimir Nabokov's 1955 novel, "Lolita" (banned from feature release in the USA; aired on Showtime in August 1998), and provided the voice of Archer for Joe Dante's "Toy Soldiers" (1998). He also played a movie producer in Bruce Wagner's film adaptation of his bestselling 1997 novel, "I'm Losing You" (1999).
The new millennium saw Langella appear in the NBC miniseries, "Jason and the Argonauts" (2000) and co-star with Joan Collins in the London stage production of Ken Ludwig's comedic play "Moon Over Buffalo" (2001), but he withdrew from the production shortly after it opened. He also portrayed a shark-like executive in a memorable cameo in the remake of the 1968 film "Sweet November" (2001; starring Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron).
In 2002, Langella won a Best Featured Actor Tony for his performance of Flegont Alexandrovitch Tropatchov in Mike Poulton's adaptation of Ivan Turgenev's play, "Fortune's Fool." He also took home Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play awards from Drama Desk and Outer Critics' Circle.
Following his second Tony win, Langella received another Tony nomination for his portrayal of Tobi Powell, an aging choreographer and dance teacher, in the play "Match" (2003).
Frank returned to the wide screen in David Duchovny's directorial debut "House of D," which was screened at the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival, and portrayed William Paley in the George Clooney-directed “Good Night, and Good Luck.” (2005).
Langella recently played Clark Kent's boss, Daily Planet editor-in-chief Perry White, in Bryan Singer's Academy-Award nominated superhero film based on the fictional DC Comics character, "Superman Returns" (2006; starring Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, and Kevin Spacey) and starred in Andrew Wagner's film adaptation of the novel by Brian Morton, "Starting Out in the Evening" (2007).
He also won another Tony for brilliantly portraying former president Richard Nixon, opposite Michael Sheen's British talk-show host David Frost, in Peter Morgan's acclaimed Broadway drama, "Frost/Nixon" (2007). He is set to reprise the role in the upcoming film version directed by Ron Howard in which Sheen will also return as Frost.
Langella is now filming Richard Kelly's new film, a thriller called "The Box," with James Marsden and Cameron Diaz, and Andrew Jarecki's upcoming drama, "All Good Things," alongside Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst.
“Well, certainly 'Frost/Nixon' is brilliantly written and that was a lucky break. The movie I’m starting on Monday for Rich Kelly called 'The Box' is equally brilliant. I’m having an extraordinary year. Great role and a great cast and I’m thrilled with what I have to say in that film.” Frank Langella
Boston Society of Film Critics Awards: Best Actor, "Starting Out in the Evening," 2007
Tony: Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play, "Frost/Nixon," 2007
Drama Desk: Outstanding Actor in a Play, "Frost/Nixon," 2007
Outer Critics Circle: Outstanding Actor in a Play, "Frost/Nixon," 2007
Outer Critics Circle: Outstanding Actor in a Play, "Match," 2004
Outer Critics' Circle: Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play, "Fortune's Fool," 2002
Drama League: "Fortune's Fool," 2002
Drama Desk: Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play, "Fortune's Fool," 2002
Tony: Best Featured Actor in a Play, "Fortune's Fool," 2002
Drama Desk: Outstanding Actor in a Play, "The Father," 1996
CableACE: Actor in a Dramatic Series, "Monkey House" (for episode "Fortitude"), 1993
Drama Desk: Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play, "Seascape," 1975
Tony: Best Featured Actor in a Play, "Seascape," 1975
National Board of Review: Best Supporting Actor, "Diary of a Mad Housewife," 1971
National Board of Review: Best Supporting Actor, "The Twelve Chairs," 1971
Drama Desk: Outstanding Performance, "A Cry of Players," 1969
Obie: Distinguished Performance, "Good Day and The White Devil," 1965
Obie: Best Performance (shared with co-stars Roscoe Lee Browne and Lester Rawlins), "The Old Glory," 1964