Best Known For
Actor Frank Langella portrayed Richard Nixon in the Broadway and film version of Frost/Nixon. He won a Tony Award and an Oscar nomination.
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Born Jan. 1, 1938 in Bayonne, New Jersey, Frank Langella pursued acting from an early age. After college he moved to New York City. In 1963, he had his off-Broadway stage debut in The Immoralist. He played a variety of Broadway roles, but playing Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon changed his career. He won a Tony and Ron Howard directed him in the film version in 2008.
Actor, director, producer. Born on January 1, 1938, in Bayonne, New Jersey. (Some sources give 1940 as his birth year.) From an early age, Langella had an interest in becoming an actor. He studied acting at Syracuse University, then moved to New York City. While in New York, Langella joined the Lincoln Center Repertory Company where he studied his craft with the likes of Elia Kazan. He made his stage debut in an off-Broadway production of The Immoralist in 1963. Langella soon appeared in a string of productions, earning a 1966 OBIE Award for his performances in Good Day and The White Devil.
On Broadway, Langella had a role in William Gibson's A Cry of Players, which netted him the 1969 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance. As his star continued to rise, Langella got his first taste of film success with 1970’s Diary of a Mad Housewife. Carrie Snodgress starred as the title character—playing a woman bullied by both her husband and her demanding daughters—who finds escape in her affair with a writer (played by Langella). Langella received critical praise for his performance in the drama. Trying his hand at lighter fare, Langella next starred in the Mel Brooks comedy, The Twelve Chairs (1970), as a Russian con man.
Returning to Broadway in 1975, Langella received accolades for his work in Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Seascape. The play explores the interaction between two couples—a mature human couple and a pair of lizards. As Leslie the lizard, Langella won his first Tony Award and his second Drama Desk Award. Langella next pursued another unusual stage role, playing the title character in Dracula. This 1977 production featured set and costume design by famed illustrator Edward Gorey. Two years later, Langella starred in the film adaptation, which helped make him a popular sex symbol. The cast also included Laurence Olivier, Donald Pleasence, and Kate Nelligan.
Langella earned favorable reviews for his next film effort, Those Lips, Those Eyes (1980), in which he played a mediocre veteran stage actor. Critic Roger Ebert described him as “appealingly vulnerable and egotistical as the theater’s star performer, always scanning the audience for Broadway talent scouts.” He then appeared in Sphinx (1981), an adaptation of the popular Robin Cook novel by the same name. Unfortunately the film proved to be a critical and commercial disappointment.
Focusing mostly on theatrical work, Langella played a broad range of characters in the 1980s.
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