(written from a Production point of view)
Frank Langella (born 1 January 1938; age 77) is the Tony Award-winning American actor who played Jaro Essa in the first three episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's second season: "The Homecoming", "The Circle", and "The Siege". Langella took the role because his children were great fans of the series. He went uncredited in all of his appearances as he did not want to seem to be doing it for the exposure or money, as guest stars can sometimes seem. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
Langella has won three Tony Awards and an additional two Tony Award nominations over the course of his career, which has thus far spanned four decades. He is recognized for his portrayal of Count Dracula in the 1977 Broadway production of Dracula and its subsequent 1979 film adaptation. He is currently known for his Tony Award-winning portrayal of Richard M. Nixon in the 2007 Broadway production of Frost/Nixon and for his Academy Award-nominated performance in the same role in the 2008 film based on the play.
With his Oscar nomination for Frost/Nixon, Langella is one of only three Star Trek performers to receive an Academy Award nomination as Best Actor in a Leading Role. F. Murray Abraham and Paul Winfield were the others. Thus far, Abraham is the only one to win the award.
Langella was born in Bayonne, New Jersey. He graduated from New York's Syracuse University in 1959 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Drama.
Langella was married to Ruth Weil from 1977 until their divorce in 1996. They have two children, including a daughter named Sarah. Langella and Star Trek: The Next Generation actress Whoopi Goldberg, whom he worked with on the 1996 film Eddie, lived together as domestic partners from 1996 until they separated in 2001.
Langella made his television acting debut in a 1965 episode of the CBS series The Trials of O'Brien with Eugene Roche. He then began performing on Broadway, receiving a Drama Desk Award for his performance in the play A Cry of Players. One of his co-stars in this production was Deep Space Nine regular Rene Auberjonois.
Langella earned a Golden Globe nomination as Most Promising Newcomer (Male) for his supporting role in the 1970 film Diary of a Mad Housewife. He also starred in Mel Brooks' second film, The Twelve Chairs, that same year. He received an award from the National Board of Review as Best Supporting Actor for his performances in both Diary of a Mad Housewife and The Twelve Chairs. He later won his first Tony Award and second Drama Desk Award for his performance in the Broadway play Seascape.
In the 1973 western The Wrath of God, Langella worked alongside fellow DS9 guest actors John Colicos and Gregory Sierra. In 1974, he starred in the unsold TV series pilot The Mark of Zorro, in which he played the title role opposite Ricardo Montalban and Louise Sorel; the show was directed by Don McDougall. The following year, Langella starred in a TV adaptation of Anton Chekov's The Seagull, which co-starred David Clennon. Langella also worked with Star Trek: Voyager's Kate Mulgrew in the 1976 TV movie The American Woman: Portraits of Courage.
Langella is perhaps best remembered for his portrayal of Count Dracula in the 1977 Broadway stage adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, a role which earned him a Tony Award nomination and a Drama Desk Award nomination. He reprised the role for the 1979 film based on the play, for which he received a Saturn Award nomination from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films.
Langella continued to perform on stage, in film, and in television movies throughout the 1980s. He appeared in no less than five Broadway productions during this decade. He was one of several actors to portray Antonio Salieri in the original Broadway production of the Tony Award-winning play Amadeus; others include David Birney and Daniel Davis, while F. Murray Abraham played the role in the 1984 film.
Langella portrayed detective Sherlock Holmes in two productions in the 1980s: the 1981 TV movie Sherlock Holmes (in which he worked with Stephen Collins) and the 1987 Broadway play Sherlock's Last Case. Langella also worked with Bob Gunton in the play Passion in 1983, and afterward took over the role of Eddie from John Rubinstein in Broadway's Hurlyburly; Natalia Nogulich was also a cast member on this production.
On film, Langella portrayed the evil Skeletor in the 1987 fantasy Masters of the Universe. Meg Foster, Anthony De Longis, and Voyager regular Robert Duncan McNeill were among his co-stars in this film. The mask which he wore as Skeletor in the film would later be reused for the Skull faced alien seen in Worf and Jadzia Dax's Klingon calisthenics programs in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
His other film credits during the 1980s include Sphinx (1981, with John Rhys-Davies), The Men's Club (1986, with Craig Wasson), and the 1988 romantic comedy And God Created Woman. In addition, Langella was nominated for an Emmy Award for his portrayal of Leonardo in the 1983 TV movie I, Leonardo: A Journey of the Mind. He also starred with Star Trek: The Next Generation's LeVar Burton and fellow DS9 guest actor Chris Sarandon in the 1986 TV movie Liberty.
Langella appeared on the Showtime series Monkey House in 1991. He won a CableACE Award for his performance on the series. In addition, Langella had supporting roles in many films during the 1990s, including Dave (1993) and Junior (1994), both from director Ivan Reitman and both featuring Stefan Gierasch. His other films include 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992), Bad Company (1995; with Daniel Hugh Kelly and David Ogden Stiers), Cutthroat Island (1995; with Jimmie F. Skaggs and Harris Yulin), the aforementioned Eddie with Whoopi Goldberg, the controversial Lolita (1997), and Roman Polanski's The Ninth Gate (1999).
Langella voiced John Wilkes Booth in the 1992 TV movie Lincoln, which also featured the voices of Keith Carradine and Laurence Luckinbill. He voiced Archer, leader of the Gorgonites, in the film Small Soldiers which featured the voice of Michael McKean as Insaniac and Troglokhan, and featured live performances by Kirsten Dunst, Gregory Itzin, Dick Miller, Robert Picardo, and Wendy Schaal.
Langella won a third Drama Desk Award (his fourth nomination) for his performance in the 1996 Broadway production of The Father, in which he acted alongside Ivar Brogger and Gail Strickland. The following year, he received another nomination from the Drama Desk Awards for his performance in Present Laughter, in which he worked with Carolyn Seymour.
Langella played King Aeëtes in the 2000 TV movie version of Jason and the Argonauts. Star Trek: Enterprise star Jolene Blalock played Aeëtes' daughter, Medea; Brian Thompson portrayed Hercules. Langella then starred in the short-lived ABC series The Beast.
In 2002, Langella won his second Tony Award and fourth Drama Desk Award for his performance in the Broadway comedy Fortune's Fool. He again received nominations from both the Tony Awards and the Drama Desk Awards for the play Match in 2004. That same year, Langella was seen in the film House of D with Anton Yelchin and Mark Margolis.
Langella was part of the ensemble cast of the Academy Award-nominated film Good Night, and Good Luck., in which he played CBS founder William S. Paley. JD Cullum, Glenn Morshower, Robert Knepper, and Ray Wise were also part of the film's cast; Robert Elswit was the film's Director of Photography. Langella and many of his fellow castmates from this movie, including Wise, were nominated by the Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.
In 2003, Langella guest-starred on NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. In 2005, he played the recurring role of Pino on the short-lived FOX comedy series Kitchen Confidential, on which John Cho was a regular. Langella also starred in the improvised HBO series Unscripted.
Langella played Daily Planet Editor-in-Chief Perry White in the 2006 blockbuster Superman Returns, which was directed, co-written, and produced by Bryan Singer. He then starred in the 2007 romantic drama film Starting Out in the Evening, for which he won a Boston Society of Film Critics Award in addition to nominations from such organizations as the Independent Spirit Awards and the Chicago Film Critics Association. Jeff McCarthy had a supporting role in this film.
In 2007, Langella starred as former President of the United States Richard Nixon in the Broadway production of Peter Morgan's acclaimed play Frost/Nixon, which won Langella his third Tony Award and fifth Drama Desk Award; Rene Auberjonois also appeared in the play. He then played Nixon in the 2008 film adaptation of the play, which also featured Geoffrey Blake, Clint Howard, Andy Milder, and Ned Vaughn. For his performance in the film version of Frost/Nixon, Langella earned his first Academy Award nomination in January 2009. He also received acting nominations from the Golden Globes, the BAFTA Awards, the Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards, the Satellite Awards, the London Critics Circle Film Awards, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Langella voiced the mayor in the 2008 animated film The Tale of Despereaux, which also featured the voice of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock's Christopher Lloyd. He was most recently seen in the horror/thriller The Box, which also featured Holmes Osborne. His upcoming films include the mystery All Good Things, in which he works with Kirsten Dunst and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps with Michael Cumpsty, Oliver Stone's sequel to his acclaimed 1987 film.
Other Trek connections
- Marcus Welby, M.D. episode "Friends with High Places" (1973) directed by Marc Daniels
- Mannix episode "Silent Target" (1973) with Barbara Luna
- Swiss Family Robinson episodes "Jean LaFitte: Part 1" and "Part 2" (1976) with Whit Bissell
- CBS Summer Playhouse episode "Dr. Paradise" (1989) with Sally Kellerman
- True Identity (1991 film) with Christopher Collins, Andreas Katsulas, and Michael McKean
- Body of Evidence (1993 film) with Michael Forest
- Moses (1995 TV movie) with Maurice Roëves
- 111 Gramercy Park (2003 TV pilot) with Joel Grey