Actor Frank Langella arrives at the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures awards ceremony in New York in January 2006, honoring "Good Night, and Good Luck" as Best Film. The Tony Award-winning actor, known for playing villains, swains and skeptics, has been nominated for an Academy Award for playing disgraced President Richard Nixon.
Langella won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Richard Nixon in Peter Morgan's "Frost/Nixon," which recreates the war of words between interviewer David Frost and the disgraced ex-president. Pictured here: Langella with Michael Sheen, who also recreated his stage role for the film version directed by Ron Howard.
On The Boards
Born in Bayonne, N.J., Langella described himself as "emotionally very fragile" at a young age. He started acting in elementary school and by the time he attended Syracuse University he knew it'd be a career. He found early success on stage. (Pictured here, Langella with Roberta Maxwell as Oberon and Titania in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," in London, Aug. 29, 1972.)
Clockwise, from top left: Langella made his film debut in 1970's "Dairy of a Mad Housewife" with Carrie Snodgress. Among his other credits are "Bad Company" (1995) with Ellen Barkin; "1492: Conquest of Paradise" (1992) with Gerard Depardieu; "Dave" (1993) with Kevin Dunn and Kevin Kline; and Mel Brooks' "The Twelve Chairs" (1970) with Ron Moody.
He won his first Tony Award for his performance in 1975's "Seascape," and just a couple of years later he was making women faint as "Dracula." (Langella is pictured here in the 1979 film version.) Yet film offers were few and far between: "My career has been like a Chekhov play; you know, it's gone up and down, little hills and valleys. But it's never really gotten to some desperately bad place."
During his run in "Dracula," Langella married magazine editor Ruth Weil. Here he poses with Weil and a wedding cake decorated with flying bats at a cast party at the Martin Beck Theater, Nov. 9, 1977, two days after their wedding. The couple, who had two children, divorced in 1996.
An Actor For All Seasons
When movie pickings were slim, Langella turned back to theater, steadily building his reputation as a stage actor in more than 20 plays. Here he plays Sir Thomas More in "A Man For All Seasons" on Broadway in 2008.
Langella and Whoopi Goldberg (pictured here in 1996) were a couple for several years, but Langella has made it a rule to never discuss his personal life. "It's just none of your business," he said. "And it's none of the public's business. What I owe the public is a great performance, and I hope and I give my absolute all to the public."
The Tiffany Network Chairman
In "Good Night, and Good Luck" (2005), Langella played William Paley, the CBS head who confronts newsmen Edward R. Murrow and Fred Friendly when they target Sen. Joseph McCarthy. In playing Paley, Langella said he sympathized with what the corporate chief believed about reporting the news and not making it, yet he felt the film spoke to the very American trait of speaking truth to power.
The Daily Planet
When the Superman franchise was reborn in 2006, Langella took the role of Perry White, editor of the Daily Planet, in "Superman Returns." Among Langella's other sci-fi credits is his performance as Skeletor in "Masters of the Universe" (1987) and an unbilled appearance in "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" which he says he did for his children.
Starting Out In The Evening
In "Starting Out In The Evening" (2007), Langella played an aging novelist who develops a relationship with a young graduate student (Lauren Ambrose) eager to base her master's thesis on the literary lion's work.
First (And Last) Choice
Even though he won the Tony Award for his performance in the stage play "Frost/Nixon," Langella says he wasn't the producers' first choice for the film: "The usual: Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty. I heard all sorts of names for a long period of time, for about a year. And one by one they faded away." First choice or not, Langella received his first Academy Award nomination for the performance.
Angela Bassett and Frank Langella pose on the red carpet at the 14th Annual Critics' Choice Awards, Jan. 8, 2009, in Santa Monica, Calif. Langella was nominated for Best Actor for "Frost/Nixon."