Frank Langella

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Frank Langella
Frank Langella Deauville 2012.jpg
Langella at the 2012 Deauville American Film Festival
Born (1938-01-01) January 1, 1938 (age 85)
Alma mater Syracuse University
Years active1963–present
Ruth Weil
(m. 1977;div. 1995)
Partner Whoopi Goldberg (1995–2000)

Frank A. Langella Jr. ( /lænˈɛlə/ ; [1] born January 1, 1938) is an American actor known for his roles on stage and screen. Langella eschewed the career of a traditional film star by always making the stage the focal point of his career, appearing frequently on Broadway. He's received numerous accolades including four Tony Awards, a Drama Desk Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award as well as nominations for an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, an Emmy Award, and two Golden Globe Awards.


He has won four Tony Awards: two for Best Leading Actor in a Play for his performance as Richard Nixon in Peter Morgan's Frost/Nixon [2] and as André in Florian Zeller's The Father , and two for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his performances in Edward Albee's Seascape and Ivan Turgenev's Fortune's Fool . His other Tony-nominated roles were in Dracula in 1978, Match in 2004, and Man and Boy in 2012.

His reprisal of the Nixon role in the film production of Frost/Nixon directed by Ron Howard earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. [3] Langella's other notable film roles include parts in Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970), Mel Brooks' The Twelve Chairs (1970), Dracula (1979), Dave (1993), The Ninth Gate (1999), Good Night, and Good Luck (2005), Starting Out in the Evening (2007), Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010), Robot & Frank (2012), Noah (2014), Captain Fantastic (2016), and The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020).

He also played Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger in the HBO movie Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight (2013) and Senator Richard Russell Jr. in All the Way (2016). Langella also is had a recurring role as Gabriel, the KGB handler for the lead characters in the FX series The Americans (2013–2017) and Sebastian Piccirillo in the Showtime series Kidding (2018–2020).

Early life

Langella, an Italian American, [4] was born January 1, 1938, [5] in Bayonne, New Jersey, [6] the son of Angelina and Frank A. Langella Sr. (d. 1991), a business executive who was president of the Bayonne Barrel and Drum Company. [7] Langella attended Washington Elementary School and Bayonne High School in Bayonne. [8] After the family moved to South Orange, New Jersey, he graduated from Columbia High School in the South Orange-Maplewood School District in 1955 and later graduated from Syracuse University in 1959 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in drama. [9]


Early roles and breakthrough

Langella appeared off-Broadway (in The Immoralist at the Bouwerie Lane Theatre in 1963 [10] and Robert Lowell's The Old Glory in 1965 among other shows) before he made his first foray onto a Broadway stage in New York in Federico García Lorca's Yerma at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, Lincoln Center, on December 8, 1966. He followed this role by appearing in William Gibson's A Cry of Players, playing a young, highly fictionalized William Shakespeare opposite Anne Bancroft in 1968.

Bancroft suggested Langella to her husband Mel Brooks, who cast him in a leading role in The Twelve Chairs (1970). [11] The same year, he also appeared in Frank Perry's Diary of a Mad Housewife , being nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer. Langella won his first Tony Award for his performance in Edward Albee's Seascape in 1975 and was nominated again for what may have been the performance for which he was best known in the early part of his career: the title role of the 1977 Broadway production of Dracula . Despite his initial misgivings about continuing to play the role, he was persuaded to star opposite Laurence Olivier in the subsequent film version directed by John Badham.

Langella continued to juggle film and television with his stage work, playing Sherlock Holmes in a 1981 adaptation of William Gillette's play Sherlock Holmes . He repeated the role on Broadway in 1987 in Charles Marowitz's play Sherlock's Last Case. That same year, he portrayed the villain Skeletor in Masters of the Universe , one of his favorite parts. [12] In 1988, he co-starred in the film And God Created Woman . In 1982 Langella portrayed Antonio Salieri the Broadway production of Amadeus replacing Ian McKellen. During this time he also acted in Passion in 1983, Noël Coward's Design for Living in 1984, Arthur Miller's After the Fall in 1984, and David Rabe's Hurlyburly in 1985. He also portrayed Prospero in the revival of William Shakespeare revival The Tempest .

Established actor

In 1993, he made a three-episode appearance on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as the devious Bajoran Minister Jaro Essa. That same year, he also starred in the political comedy Dave starring Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver. He also played a supporting role in the Ivan Reitman comedy Junior alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito, and Emma Thompson. In 1994, he narrated the American Masters documentary on Tennessee Williams. In 1996, Langella starred in the Broadway revival of August Strindberg's The Father . That same year, Langella starred in the comedy film Eddie , starring Whoopi Goldberg, with whom he was involved romantically until 2001. He also played Clare Quilty in the 1997 film adaptation of Lolita , starring Jeremy Irons and Melanie Griffith. In 1999, he starred opposite Johnny Depp in Roman Polanski's film The Ninth Gate .

Langella at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival FrankLangella07TIFF.jpg
Langella at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival

In 2000, Langella played Ebenezer Scrooge in a musical version of A Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden. [13] He has also appeared in notable off-Broadway productions, including in the title role of Robert Kalfin's Chelsea Theater Center production of The Prince of Homburg, which was filmed by PBS for the Theatre in America series. [14] Langella also appeared as Al Baker in "Dominance", a 2003 episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and had a recurring role as Pino in the 2005 short-lived sitcom Kitchen Confidential .

Broadway success

Langella returned to the stage in the 2002 Broadway revival of the Ivan Turgenev play Fortune's Fool . In the play Langella portrayed Flegont Alexandrovitch Tropatcho opposite Alan Bates. The production received critical acclaim with Langella winning his second Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play. In 2004 he acted in the original Broadway play Match by Stephen Belber. In the play, Langella portrayed an aging dance choreographer. He acted alongside Jane Adams, and Ray Liotta. Langella received a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play, his fourth nomination. He starred as Sir Thomas More in the 2008 Broadway revival of A Man for All Seasons . [15]

He was cast as Richard Nixon opposite Michael Sheen in Peter Morgan's play Frost/Nixon , which received enthusiastic reviews during a run at the Donmar Warehouse and Gielgud Theatre in London before moving to Broadway in New York's Bernard B. Jacobs Theater in April 2007. Langella won his third Tony Award for the role. He reprised the role of Nixon in the 2008 Oscar-nominated film of the play directed by Ron Howard. Langella also earned Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and BAFTA nominations for Best Actor for the same performance. He was also nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Actor category for the role, losing to Sean Penn's performance in Milk .

Expansion into film and television

Langella's film work also includes roles in George Clooney's Good Night, and Good Luck (2005) as former CBS chief executive William S. Paley, for which he was nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Ensemble Cast. He also appeared in Bryan Singer's Superman Returns (2006) as Daily Planet editor Perry White. Langella received critical acclaim as well as the Boston Society of Film Critics Award in 2007 for his sensitive portrayal of an elderly novelist in Starting Out in the Evening . In late 2009, he starred in the Richard Kelly film The Box with Cameron Diaz and James Marsden. [16] In 2010, he played Louis Zabel in Oliver Stone's Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps , alongside Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, and Carey Mulligan. That same year, he played a supporting role in All Good Things , with Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst. In 2011, Langella starred in the drama thriller Unknown , opposite Liam Neeson and Diane Kruger. [17] In 2012, he earned critical praise for his role in the independent film Robot & Frank , with Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine calling his performance "a masterclass in acting". [18]

In 2013, Langella starred as Chief Justice Warren E. Burger in the Stephen Frears' HBO film Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight , with Christopher Plummer playing Justice John Marshall Harlan. In October and November 2013, Langella played King Lear at the Minerva, Chichester Festival Theatre in Chichester, UK. The play travelled to the Harvey Theater at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York in 2014. Langella also played Cleveland Browns owner Anthony Molina in the movie Draft Day, which also starred Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner, and Dennis Leary. In 2015, Langella joined the cast of FX's critically praised drama The Americans with Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys. [19] He appeared in seasons 3 through 5.

In 2016, he played the title role in Doug Hughes' production of the US premiere of Florian Zeller's play The Father at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on Broadway. [20] He won his fourth Tony Award for that performance. [21] That same year, he appeared in Captain Fantastic with Viggo Mortensen and was again nominated with the ensemble cast for the Screen Actors Guild Award. He also starred in the HBO television movie All the Way (2016) as Senator Richard Russell Jr., with Bryan Cranston as Lyndon B. Johnson. Langella received a Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Movie/Miniseries nomination for his performance. From 2018 to 2020, Langella appeared as Sebestian in Showtime's Kidding , starring Jim Carrey. The show's executive producer was Michel Gondry, and it received positive reviews.

In 2020, he played Judge Julius Hoffman in Aaron Sorkin's The Trial of the Chicago 7 . The film follows the Chicago Seven, a group of anti-Vietnam War protesters charged with conspiracy and crossing state lines with the intention of inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. It was released in September, by Netflix.

In 2022, Langella was fired from his role in The Fall of the House of Usher following investigations into claims of sexual harassment on set. [22] In a guest column for Deadline , reacting to his firing, Langella claimed to have been "canceled," denying allegations of unacceptable behavior and telling his version of events. [23]

Personal life

Langella has dated actresses Diane Baker [24] and Elizabeth Taylor. [25] He was married to Ruth Weil from November 6, 1977 to their divorce in 1995. [26] They have two children, Frank III and Sara. He also lived with actress/comedian Whoopi Goldberg, whom he met on the set of Eddie , from 1995 until they separated in 2000. [27]


Langella published a memoir in 2012 called Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women As I Knew Them. [25]

In a review in the New York Times Book Review , Ada Calhoun wrote that "Langella's book celebrated sluttiness as a worthy—even noble—way of life. 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. It was no wonder Langella was invited everywhere." [28]

Acting credits


1963–1964 The Immoralist Michael Bouwerie Lane Theatre
1964 The Old Glory Don Benito CerenoTheater at St. Clement's Church
1965Good DayThe Young Men Cherry Lane Theatre
1965–1966 The White Devil Flamineo Circle in the Square Theatre
1966–1967 Yerma Vivian Beaumont Theatre
1968–1969 A Cry of Players Will Vivian Beaumont Theatre
1975 Seascape Leslie Shubert Theatre
1976 The Prince of Homburg Prince Friedrich Arthur of Homburg Westside Theatre
1977–1978 Dracula Count Dracula Martin Beck Theatre
1982 Amadeus Antonio Salieri Broadhurst Theatre
1983 Passion Jim Longacre Theatre
1984 Design for Living Otto Circle in the Square Theatre
1984 After the Fall QuentinPlayhouse 91
1985 Hurlyburly Eddie Ethel Barrymore Theatre
1987Sherlock's Last Case Sherlock Holmes Nederlander Theatre
1989 The Tempest Prospero Union Square Theatre
1994BoothJunius York Theatre
1996 The Father (Strindberg)The Cavalry Captain Criterion Center Stage Right
1996–1997 Present Laughter Garry Essendine Walter Kerr Theatre
1997–1998 Cyrano De Bergerac Cyrano de Bergerac Also director
Laura Pels Theatre
2000 A Christmas Carol Ebenezer Scrooge Madison Square Garden
2002 Fortune's Fool Flegont Alexandrovitch Tropatcho Music Box Theatre
2004 Match Tobi Plymouth Theatre
2006–2007 Frost/Nixon Richard Nixon Donmar Warehouse
Gielgud Theatre
Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre
2008 A Man for All Seasons Sir Thomas More American Airlines Theatre
2011 Man and Boy Gregor Antonescu American Airlines Theatre
2013–2014 King Lear Lear Chichester Festival Theatre
Harvey Theatre
2016 The Father (Zeller)André Samuel J. Friedman Theatre


1970 Diary of a Mad Housewife George Prager
The Twelve Chairs Ostap Bender
1971 The Deadly Trap Philippe
1972 The Wrath of God De La Plata
1974 The Mark of Zorro Don Diego Vega
1979 Dracula Count Dracula
1980 Those Lips, Those Eyes Harry Crystal
1981 Sphinx Akmed Khazzan
1986 The Men's Club Harold Canterbury
1987 Masters of the Universe Skeletor
1988 And God Created Woman James Tiernan
1991 True Identity Leland Carver
1992 1492: Conquest of Paradise Santangel
1993 Body of Evidence Jeffrey Roston
Dave White House Chief of Staff Bob Alexander
1994 Brainscan Detective Hayden
Junior Noah Banes
1995 Bad Company Vic Grimes
Cutthroat Island Dawg Brown
1996 Eddie Wild Bill Burgess
1997 Lolita Clare Quilty
1998 Small Soldiers ArcherVoice
I'm Losing You Perry Needham Krohn
Alegría Giulietta's father/Fleur
1999 The Ninth Gate Boris Balkan
2000 Stardom Blaine De Castillon
2001 Sweet November Edgar Price
2004 House of D Reverend Duncan
The NoviceFather Tew
2005 Back in the Day Lt. Bill Hudson
How You Look to Me Professor Driskoll
Good Night, and Good Luck William S. Paley
2006 Superman Returns Perry White
2007 Starting Out in the Evening Leonard Schiller
2008 The Caller Jimmy Stevens
Frost/Nixon Richard Nixon
The Tale of Despereaux The MayorVoice
2009 The Box Arlington Steward
2010 Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Louis Zabel
All Good Things Sanford Marks
2011 Unknown Rodney Cole
2012 Robot & Frank Frank
The Time Being Warner Dax
2013 Parts per Billion Andy
2014 Muppets Most Wanted Beefeater VicarCameo
Noah OgVoice
Draft Day Anthony Molina
5 to 7 Sam
Grace of Monaco Father Francis Tucker
Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet PashaVoice
2015 The Driftless Area Tim Geer
2016 Captain Fantastic Jack Bertrang
Youth in Oregon Raymond Engersol
2020 The Trial of the Chicago 7 Julius Hoffman
2022 Angry Neighbors Harry March


1965 The Trials of O'Brien Michael RomaniEpisode: "How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?"
1967 NBC Experiment in Television The Young ManEpisode: "Good Day"
NET Playhouse Episode: "Benito Cereno"
1973 Marcus Welby, M.D. Carey RobinsEpisode: "Friends in High Places"
Mannix Harry TassEpisode: "Silent Target"
Love Story Jimmy LewinEpisode: "When the Girls Came Out to Play"
1974 The Mark of Zorro Don Diego de la Vega / Zorro Television movie
1976 Swiss Family Robinson Jean Lafitte 2 episodes
1981 Sherlock Holmes Sherlock Holmes Television recording of live stage production
1986 Liberty Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi Television movies
1988 CBS Summer Playhouse Dr. ParadiseEpisode: "Dr. Paradise"
1993 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Minister Jaro Essa3 episodes - uncredited
1994 Doomsday Gun Gerald Bull Television movie
1995 Moses Merneptah Television movie
1996 The Greatest Pharaohs NarratorVoice
2000 Jason and the Argonauts King Aeëtes 2 episodes
Cry Baby Lane Mr. BennettTelevision movie
2001 The Beast Jackson Burns6 episodes
2003 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Al BakerEpisode: "Dominance"
2005 Now You See It... MaxTelevision movie
Unscripted Goddard Fulton10 episodes
2005–2006 Kitchen Confidential Pino6 episodes
2006 10.5: Apocalypse Dr. Earl Hill2 episodes
2013 Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight Warren Burger Television movie
2015–2017 The Americans Gabriel 31 episodes
2016 All the Way Richard Russell Jr. Television movie
2018 American Dad! Commodore Francis StoatVoice
Episode: "Shell Game"
2018–2020 Kidding Sebastian Piccirillo17 episodes

Video game

2017 Destiny 2 The ConsulVoice

Awards and nominations

YearAwardCategoryNominated WorkResult
2008 Academy Award Best Actor Frost/Nixon Nominated
1975 Tony Award Best Featured Actor in a Play Seascape Won
1978 Best Actor in a Play Dracula Nominated
2002 Best Featured Actor in a Play Fortune's Fool Won
2004 Best Actor in a Play Match Nominated
2007 Frost/Nixon Won
2012 Man and Boy Nominated
2016 The Father Won
1983 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Informational Programming I, Leonardo: A Journey of the MindNominated
1971 Golden Globe Award Most Promising Newcomer -Male Diary of a Mad Housewife Nominated
2008 Best Actor in a Drama Film Frost/Nixon Nominated
2008 British Academy Film Awards Best Leading Actor Nominated
2005 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture Good Night, and Good Luck Nominated
2008 Best Actor in a Motion Picture Frost/Nixon Nominated
Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated
2016 Captain Fantastic Nominated
2020 The Trial of the Chicago 7 Won
2008 Independent Spirit Award Best Male Lead Starting Out in the Evening Nominated
2016 Drama Desk Award Actor in a Play The Father Won
1965 Obie Awards Distinguished PerformanceGood DayWon
1966 The White Devil Won

See also

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