Frank Langella reveals his love of older women
- Last Updated: 12:35 AM, March 11, 2012
- Posted: 11:54 PM, March 10, 2012
A decade later, before her death in 1989, Langella ran into her while staying at a Los Angeles hotel.
He heard that seductively harsh voice command: “Get the car.” He decided to approach her and reminisce about old times.
“Yes,” she said.
“I’m sorry to disturb you, but I just want to tell you that I think you are the greatest actress of the 20th century.”
“Thank you!” she replied.
He leaned in closer so that she could get a better view of his face and said, “Miss Davis, it’s me, Frank Langella.”
She sucked on a cigarette and exhaled in his face, apparently not recognizing him. “I said, ‘Thank you!’ ” and turned to leave.
Langella used his lifetime of experience with older ladies on the whitest-gloved of Manhattan’s elite, the venerable Brooke Astor, getting her to open up about her first sexual experience.
“I was 17. His name was Dryden, and he couldn’t do the business on our honeymoon. He spent every evening downstairs getting drunk . . . He came upstairs drunk and thought he’d done it, but he hadn’t,” she told Langella. The scene had taken place nearly 80 years before.
The two became fast friends in the late 1990s. She invited him to dinner parties at her Park Avenue townhouse, where she would hold court over New York’s richest and most famous (Langella being the latter).
Though the two were never involved, he does speak about the effect the elderly woman had on men of all ages.
“No question about it. Brooke Astor had pheromones,” he writes. “If you were a man, at some point you found yourself at Brooke’s side and the absolute center of attention.”
But the only man in her life that she seemed to have little time for was her own son, Anthony Marshall, who would, in 2007, be charged with grand larceny for exploiting his mother’s estate before her death at 105 in 2006.
Langella admits to sympathizing with Marshall and his wife, Charlene, whom Langella calls Marshall’s “life raft.” Astor, he says, was a “self-involved, non-maternal narcissist who had very little time for her one and only child.”
In the end, Marshall only wanted “a mother to recognize her son as not just a name in her appointment book.”
In 2001, Taylor may not have been the beauty she once was, but she still had it, according to Langella.
After the end of his relationship with Whoopi Goldberg, Langella was set up on a date with the 69-year-old, violet-eyed icon.
During their second date at her home, she urged him to “Come on, baby, and put me to sleep.”
He was “frightened” by her room, as it was filled with pictures of her dead ex-husbands, prescription pills, magazines, nail files and an open box of chocolates.
As he sat beside her, she took two pills, slipped off her caftan and invited him to spend the night. He declined.
But the “lonely” Taylor was undeterred and began incessantly calling and leaving voicemails, referring to Langella as “my angel,” even insisting to friends that the two were “dating.”
Still, Langella says being around her was “like quicksand” and he was sucked in. During their final fling, he invited her back to his hotel, where she confessed to wanting to “find a place that’s normal.”
“Like a farm or a country house. Animals. No more of this s--t. I’m finished. Let’s go east and look for something,” Taylor said.
It may have sounded nuts (the two hardly knew each other), but Langella was hooked.
“She was fragile, tender and extremely vulnerable,” he writes. “No man could possibly stay afloat in it. I knew that when I leaned in to kiss her, but still I kissed her.”
He stayed until 4 am and then took her downstairs to return to her house. He never saw her again before hearing of her death in 2011.Follow @NYPostOpinion