On stage, three-time Tony winner Frank Langella has played a (literal) lizard in Seascape, an undead aristocrat in Dracula, a 16th century Chancellor of England in A Man For All Seasons, and an egomaniac actor in Present Laughter, to name just a few. But we’re equally enamored of his film career! On screen, Langella has been a swashbuckler in Zorro, a Russian con man in Mel Brooks’ The Twelve Chairs, an overworked editor in Superman, a media mogul in Good Night and Good Luck and many more. Below, check out six of our must-see Langella film roles (including the big-screen adaptation of his Broadway triumph in Frost/Nixon), then stop by the American Airlines Theatre to see the man himself as corrupt financier Gregor Antonescu in Man and Boy
George Prager in Diary of a Mad Housewife
As writer George Prager, Langella plays “the other man” to Carrie Snodgress’ frustrated New York City wife. His sexy, swaggering performance probably wasn’t a hit with the women’s lib movement he makes jabs at in the film, but it’s easy to see why he was nominated for New Star of the Year (Male) at the 1970 Golden Globe Awards.
Count Dracula in Dracula
Way before Twilight and True Blood made sexy vampires part of daily life, this seductive blood-sucker put Langella on the map. The actor was already a Tony winner (for 1975’s Seascape) when he debuted in Dracula on Broadway in 1977, but when he reprised the role in this 1979 film version, he became a household name.
Harry Crystal in Those Lips, Those Eyes
We’re suckers for song-and-dance numbers, which makes Langella’s turn as a hoofer in 1980’s Those Lips, Those Eyes a must watch. The film takes place at an outdoor theater in Cleveland in the early 1950s, where a cheesy musical comedy performer named Harry Crystal, not quite good enough to make it on Broadway, reigns supreme. We beg the question: Why hasn’t Langella done a Broadway musical?
Skeletor in Masters of the Universe
With a resume like his, who knew that Frank Langella would ever go on record calling He-Man’s nemesis one of his favorite roles? The actor said exactly that in a TV interview about the 1987 film. As the villain in this live-action adaptation of the cartoon series, Langella had a lot to work with: Skeletor captures He-Man’s fortress, Castle Grayskull, imprisons the Sorceress, absorbs the power of the Great Eye and transforms into a warrior god. (Don’t worry, He-Man still wins.)
Wild Bill Burgess in Eddie
In this 1996 comedy, Langella turned his abrasive charm to playing Wild Bill Burgess, the ten gallon hat-wearing owner of the failing New York Knicks who ends up hiring obsessive fan Edwina “Eddie” Franklin (Langella's real-life former flame Whoopi Goldberg) to head the team after he fires the coach. Keep an eye out for a guest appearance by the most amazing horseshoes ever seen on the silver screen. Seriously.
Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon
Nixon is the latest role Langella has taken from stage to screen, and it may very well be his greatest. The disgraced former president sits down for a series of television interviews with British journalist and media personality David Frost (Michael Sheen) in March and April 1977. Langella won a Tony for the role on Broadway and earned an Oscar nomination for Ron Howard's 2008 film adaptation.