Frank Langella’s insightful new book, Dropped Names, does just that, devoting a short chapter to each of the famous people he’s encountered in his career.
I was most fascinated by the one on Tony Perkins, the Psycho star who visited Langella backstage after a 1960s play.
Langella told Perkins that people kept telling him he was a young version of Perkins, but he couldn’t see the resemblance.
“We both stood in front of my makeup mirror shoulder to shoulder and stared at each other.
” ‘I don’t see it,’ he said. ‘How big is your cock?’
” ‘I didn’t bring it with me tonight,’ I joked.
“We turned and faced each other in silence. There is a way one man stares at another when a sexual encounter may be in the offing that is completely unlike the uncomplicated gaze exchanged with no hint of its possibility.”
Tony then said he was going off to the backstage tent of one of the actors, a place where all sorts of feelgood stuff regularly happened.
“If you feel like it,” he told Langella, “stop in.”
Langella never says if he did so.
But he does reveal that even though Perkins was older than him, Perkins may have wanted to be fathered.
” ‘How big is your cock?’ may have been more than a come-on,” Langella writes.
“In a little boy’s mind, Daddy’s is always bigger.”
And so typical of Hollywood that they usually cast Perkins as someone in love with a mother figure.