Frank Langella

Frank A. Langella Jr. (/lænˈɛlə/;[1] born January 1, 1938) is an American stage and film actor. He has won four Tony Awards, two for Best Leading Actor in a Play for his performances as Richard Nixon in the play Frost/Nixon and as André in 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.

Frank Langella
Frank A. Langella Jr.

(1938-01-01) January 1, 1938
Alma materSyracuse University
Years active1963–present
Ruth Weil
(m. 1977; div. 1996)
Partner(s)Whoopi Goldberg (1996–2001)

His notable film roles include George Prager in Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970), Count Dracula in Dracula (1979), Skeletor in Masters of the Universe (1987), Bob Alexander in Dave (1993), William S. Paley in Good Night, and Good Luck (2005) and Richard Nixon in the film production of Frost/Nixon (2008), which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.[2][3] He had a recurring role as Gabriel, the KGB handler for the lead characters, in the FX series The Americans between 2013 and 2017.

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., a business executive who was the president of the Bayonne Barrel and Drum Company.[7][8] Langella attended Washington Elementary School and Bayonne High School in Bayonne.[9] 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 graduated from Syracuse University in 1959 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in drama.[10]


Langella appeared off-Broadway (e. g. in The Immoralist at the Bouwerie Lane Theatre in 1963,[11] and Robert Lowell's The Old Glory in 1965) before he made his first foray on 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 at the same venue in 1968, and won film fame in two 1970 films: Mel Brooks' The Twelve Chairs and Frank Perry's Diary of a Mad Housewife, being nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer for the latter. 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. He eschewed the career of a traditional film star by always making the stage the focal point of his career, appearing on Broadway in such plays as Strindberg's The Father (winning a Drama Desk Award), Match (Tony Award nomination), and Fortune's Fool, for which he won a second Tony Award.

But Langella would continue 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, Langella would also portray the villain Skeletor in Masters of the Universe, which he has described as one of his favorite roles.[12] In 1988, Langella co-starred in the film And God Created Woman. In 1993, he made a three-episode appearance on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as the devious Jaro Essa. He 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.

In 2000, he played the role of 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] He starred as Sir Thomas More in the 2008 Broadway revival of A Man for All Seasons.[15]

He was cast as Richard Nixon in Peter Morgan's play Frost/Nixon alongside Michael Sheen, 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, culminating in Langella's third Tony Award. He reprised the role of Nixon in the 2008 Oscar nominated Best Picture film Frost/Nixon, directed by Ron Howard. He received Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and BAFTA nominations for Best Actor for his 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.

His 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 alongside Cameron Diaz and James Marsden.[16] In 2011, Langella starred in the drama thriller Unknown alongside 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] He also appeared in Captain Fantastic alongside Viggo Mortensen and was again nominated with the ensemble cast for the Screen Actors Guild Award.

In October and November 2013, Langella played King Lear at the Minerva, Chichester Festival Theatre in Chichester, UK. It travelled to the Harvey Theater at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York in 2014.

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 career fourth Tony Award for his performance.[21]

Personal life

Langella was married to Ruth Weil from June 14, 1977 to their divorce in 1996. They have two children. He also lived with actress/comedian Whoopi Goldberg, whom he had met on the set of Eddie, from 1996 until they separated in March 2001. Langella published a memoir in 2012 called Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women As I Knew Them.[22] 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."[23]

Theatre credits

Year Title Role Note
1963–1964 The Immoralist Michael Bouwerie Lane Theatre
1964 The Old Glory Don Benito Cereno Theater at St. Clement's Church
1965 Good Day The 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 Quentin Playhouse 91
1985 Hurlyburly Eddie Ethel Barrymore Theatre
1987 Sherlock's Last Case Sherlock Holmes Nederlander Theatre
1989 The Tempest Prospero Union Square Theatre
1994 Booth Junius 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



Year Title Role Notes
1970 Diary of a Mad Housewife George Prager
The Twelve Chairs Ostap Bender National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor
1971 The Deadly Trap Philippe
1972 The Wrath of God De La Plata
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 Archer Voice
I'm Losing You Perry Needham Krohn
Alegría Guilietta's father/Fleur
1999 The Ninth Gate Boris Balkan
2001 Sweet November Edgar Price
2004 House of D Reverend Duncan
The Novice Father 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 Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actor
The Tale of Despereaux The Mayor Voice
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 Vicar Cameo
Noah Og Voice
Draft Day Anthony Molina
5 to 7 Sam
Grace of Monaco Father Francis Tucker
Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet Pasha Voice
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 Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1965 The Trials of O'Brien Michael Romani Episode: "How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?"
1967 NBC Experiment in Television The Young Man Episode: "Good Day"
NET Playhouse Episode: "Benito Cereno"
1973 Marcus Welby, M.D. Carey Robins Episode: "Friends in High Places"
Mannix Harry Tass Episode: "Silent Target"
Love Story Jimmy Lewin Episode: "When the Girls Came Out to Play"
1974 The Mark of Zorro Don Diego de la Vega / Zorro Television film
1976 Swiss Family Robinson Jean Lafitte 2 episodes
1981 Sherlock Holmes Sherlock Holmes Television recording of live stage production
1988 CBS Summer Playhouse Dr. Paradise Episode: "Dr. Paradise"
1993 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Minister Jaro Essa 3 episodes
1994 Doomsday Gun Gerald Bull Television film
1995 Moses Merneptah Television film
1996 The Greatest Pharaohs Narrator Documentary
2000 Jason and the Argonauts King Aeëtes 2 episodes
Cry Baby Lane Mr. Bennett Television film
2001 The Beast Jackson Burns 6 episodes
2003 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Al Baker Episode: "Dominance"
2005 Now You See It... Max Television film
Unscripted Goddard Fulton 10 episodes
2005–2006 Kitchen Confidential Pino 6 episodes
2006 10.5: Apocalypse Dr. Earl Hill 2 episodes
2013 Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight Warren Burger Television film
2015–2017 The Americans Gabriel 31 episodes
2016 All the Way Richard Russell Jr. Television film
2018 American Dad! Commodore Francis Stoat Voice
Episode: "Shell Game"
2018–present Kidding Sebastian Piccirillo 10 episodes

Video game

Year Title Role Notes
2017 Destiny 2 The Consul Voice

Awards and nominations

Tony Awards

Year Nominated Work Category Result
1974 Seascape Featured Actor in a Play Won
1978 Dracula Actor in a Play Nominated
2002 Fortune's Fool Featured Actor in a Play Won
2004 Match Actor in a Play Nominated
2007 Frost/Nixon Actor in a Play Won
2012 Man and Boy Actor in a Play Nominated
2016 The Father Actor in a Play Won

Academy Awards

Year Nominated Work Category Result
2008 Frost/Nixon Best Actor Nominated

Emmy Awards

Year Nominated Work Category Result
1983 I, Leonardo: A Journey of the Mind Outstanding Informational Programming Nominated

Golden Globe Awards

Year Nominated Work Category Result
1971 Diary of a Mad Housewife Most Promising Newcomer -Male Nominated
2008 Frost/Nixon Best Actor in a Drama Film Nominated

Screen Actors Guild Award

Year Nominated Work Category Result
2006 Good Night, and Good Luck Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated
2009 Frost/Nixon Best Actor in a Motion Picture Nominated
2009 Frost/Nixon Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated
2017 Captain Fantastic Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated

BAFTA Awards

Year Nominated Work Category Result
2008 Frost/Nixon Best Leading Actor Nominated

Independent Spirit Award

Year Nominated Work Category Result
2008 Starting Out in the Evening Best Male Lead Nominated

Drama Desk Award

Year Nominated Work Category Result
2016 The Father Actor in a Play Won

Obie Awards

Year Nominated Work Category Result
1965 Good Day Distinguished Performance Won
1966 The White Devil Distinguished Performance Won

See also


  1. "Theater Talk: Frank Langella in "The Father"". CUNY TV. May 2, 2016. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  2. Rudd, Andy (January 21, 2009). "Oscar nominations: Frank Langhella – Top 10 facts you need to know about the Academy Award-nominated Frost/Nixon actor". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 2010-03-27.
  3. McGrath, Charles (January 4, 2009). "So Nixonian That His Nose Seems to Evolve". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-27.
  4. Roberts, Sheila (2007-11-22). "Frank Langella Interview, Starting out in the Evening". MoviesOnline. Retrieved 2007-12-04.
  5. "UPI Almanac for Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019". United Press International. January 1, 2019. Archived from the original on September 2, 2019. Retrieved September 2, 2019. actor Frank Langella in 1938 (age 81)
  6. Peter Marks (1996-02-11). "Frank Langella Stamps The Father as His Own". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
  7. "Frank Langella Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
  8. White, Timothy (1998). The entertainers. Billboard Books. pp. 72. ISBN 0-8230-7606-7.
  9. Coutros, Evonne E. "Playing a Wicked Streak for All It's Worth", The Record. January 23, 1994.
  10. Venutolo, Anthony. "From heroes to villains, Frank Langella finds the heart in them all", The Star-Ledger, November 29, 2008. Accessed June 14, 2011. "The family moved to South Orange, where Langella graduated from Columbia High School before heading off to Syracuse to study drama."
  11. "The Immoralist - Lortel Archives".
  12. Marshall, Rick. "Frank Langella calls Skeletor "one of my very favorite parts"". IFC (U.S. TV network). Retrieved 2015-06-07.
  13. "Frank Langella Biography (1940?–)". Retrieved 2010-03-27.
  14. Napoleon, Davi (1991). Chelsea on the Edge: The Adventures of an American Theater. Iowa State University Press. ISBN 0-8138-1713-7.
  15. Cox, Gordon. Frank Langella to be 'Man' on B'way, Variety, 21 May 2008.
  16. Video Interviews: The Box
  17. "Frank Langella Scores Starring Role in 'Unknown White Male' - Bloody Disgusting!". 8 December 2009.
  20. "See Frank Langella in the American Premiere of The Father" by Hannah Vine, Playbill, 30 March 2016
  22. Langella, Frank (2012). Dropped Names. HarperCollins Publishers.
  23. Calhoun, Ada (April 22, 2012). "Cheerful Debauchery". New York Times Book Review. Retrieved April 27, 2012.
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