Frank Langella's Tonys Speech Honors Orlando With A Message Of Strength & Support
On Sunday night, 2016 Tony Awards saw many tributes to the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting that occurred in the early hours of the day. And the winner of Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play did not shy away from the subject. Frank Langella honored Orlando victims in his Tonys speech, going from some inspiring words about his late-in-life success to a beautiful tribute to the Orlando families effected by the tragedy. The award is Langella's fourth Tony Award and he previously won the trophy for roles in Frost/Nixon, Fortune's Fool, and Seascape. Update: An earlier version of this article listed the death toll of the Orlando shooting as 50, but it has since been updated to 53.
In his speech, Langella talked about how he met an astrologer when he first arrived in New York City in 1960. The astrologer told him he would achieve "great successes late in his career." "I thought she meant 30," he joked. "But the fact of the matter is, there really is no late in an actor’s career. There’s just journey and there’s just now." In The Father, Langella plays a father suffering from Alzheimer’s in a family drama where the world and the facts keep changing. "It’s rather ironic that I should be honored for playing a man who’s losing his now, who’s losing his reality, as indeed my dear brother Andrew is at the moment," Langella said.
But then, Langella shifted gears to Orlando nightclub shooting, which is the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. with 53 people killed in the early hours of June 12. The actor paid the victims and Orlando a lovely tribute:
"There are so many names I wrote down today to thank, but I hope they will forgive me if I bring in a dose of true reality, what happened today in Orlando. When something bad happens, we have three choices: We let it define us, we let it destroy us, we let it strengthen us. Today in Orlando, we had a hideous dose of reality. I urge you, Orlando, to be strong, because I'm standing in a room with the most generous human beings on earth and we will be with you every step of the way."
Well said by an amazing and accomplished actor.