My first telephone conversation with Liane Langford lasted well over an hour, but it seemed like only about 10 minutes. I had my list of questions ready for a straightforward Q&A session, but we quickly fell into a conversation like two old friends catching up. The former centerfold model and current interior designer and art dealer has a very colorful background. With anecdotes that include names like Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock), Roger Taylor (of Queen), Alice Cooper, Rosanna Arquette, and Peter Frampton (who taught her how to properly make tea), I’ll definitely buy her tell-all autobiography, if and when she writes it.
When Liane mentioned the titles and issues of some of the magazines she’s appeared in, I knew I’d seen her before. The titles and dates coincided with the collection of men’s magazines I compiled as a teenager. (If the clerk wouldn’t sell a copy to me, I’d hang out outside the store and ask a clearly-over-21 male to do me the favor of purchasing it for me.) I did some checking and I was right. It’s not every guy who gets to meet one of the ladies he ogled on the pages of his favorite girly mag as a teen, so talking with Liane was quite a fulfillment for me. What follows are the extracted and condensed Q&A from my conversations with Liane. It had to be condensed because her tales of Toby alone could fill a whole book ….and may someday.
CHRIS CHARLES: You were born in Los Angeles and now live in Carmel. Tell me about where you’ve lived in-between.
LIANE LANGFORD: Yes I was born and raised in LA until about 20 when I went to Boston and lived for a year. My friends were attending Berkley College of Music. I lived with my boyfriend who was a saxophone player, David Camp. He ended up touring, recording several CDs as a studio musician and his own called Torrid Rain. I loved it so much. I remember walking down the street home in the snow and hearing the sound echoing from the windows, the musicians practicing their chops in the quiet. It was very haunting and beautiful. I lived in San Francisco when I was a child and again later as an exhibitions curator for Caldwell/Snyder Gallery. I did not like that as much as the galleries in Carmel and came home …actually I ran home to Carmel.
CHRIS: How was having Clint Eastwood for your mayor?
LIANE: We got to have ice cream ..since it had been outlawed …do ya feel lucky punk …well do ya?
CHRIS: You started modeling when you were 14. How did that come about?
LIANE: I was at my jr. high graduation and one of Seventeen magazine’s scouts approached me. I had already been photographed, so my mother Toby felt this to be a modeling coup. Something like “OK!” that was Seventeen. She wasn’t like a stage mom but she would go with me to my interviews to the modeling agencies. In my family I was the entertainment. “Shhhh …okay honey do your dance” or “Okay Liane has a song for us.” Basically I WAS my mother. She had been a vocalist and so it was not uncommon for the neighbors to suffer my singing “Liza with a Z” ten times and this time with feeling!
CHRIS: Judging from many of your more recent photos, it seems to me like you would have loved have been an actress during the silent film era or the Golden Age of Hollywood. Am I on target with that?
LIANE: I was raised watching old movies because of my family’s background in music and film, and since my Uncle John was a major executive at Universal Studios. There was always music playing, thanks to my mother. My grandmother had been a concert violinist in her youth, so there was Edith Piaf playing next to Rachmaninoff. I love and adore the 20s, 30s, and 40s. They had a huge influence on me.
CHRIS: Who has inspired you?
LIANE: Hmmm inspiration ….I would have to say, Marilyn Monroe. I was amazed by her even for five minutes in The Asphalt Jungle. Rita Hayworth ….ahaha, I guess all the gang molls for the time! That includes Lauren Bacall. I hated The Sound of Music but loved Fritz Lang’s Metropolis! I would stay up all night with my cousin and we would watch movies. She went on to act …and speaking of Clint Eastwood she was in Heartbreak Ridge. She had a speaking role …go Lisa!
CHRIS: Before we spoke, I read that you had done some centerfold modeling, but I had no idea you’ve appeared in so many prominent men’s magazines. How did you get started with that?
LIANE: On a dare …and that is not a good idea. I was a bit devil may care! I had been living at a friend’s house whose girlfriend at the time was Rosanna Arquette. She was the first to see my centerfold hot off the press. This house was amazing it had a built-in studio and Dale Bozzio’s (Missing Persons) husband Terry Bozzio was giving my friend lessons on the drums. Well, when I found out that Dale had done a centerfold, and many more as we all found out later, I kind of thought “Hey I am in good company!” Hell! even Madonna. But I loved working with the photographers and staff. It was really simple. I called a few publications in Los Angeles, major names, got light tests and a week later was on a sound stage!
CHRIS:What adult magazines have you’ve appeared in?
LIANE: I have been featured in Hustler and Chic(Hustler’s sister publication) mainly. I was one of the most photographed models they had at the time. I worked with Penthouse as well.
CHRIS: You also appeared in National Lampoon?
LIANE: Yes, I loved the guys from National Lampoon. I would walk onto this huge sound stage and over in a tight huddle, two guys; “Okay Liane, today we would like you to be a human Island. Sound good?” Always a great time. Another was; “Hey we thought it would be a scream to put raw meat on your face and then call the Cuisinart ‘Queezy Art.’ What do ya think? Sound fun?”
CHRIS: What were some of your most memorable photo shoots?
LIANE: I loved them all, but I loved the ballet shoot and since I was a dancer it was natural for me. But who can resist a woman in a men’s locker room! (Referring to her September ’81 Chic pictorial in a football outfit)
CHRIS: What did your family think of your nude modeling?
LIANE: Let’s put it this way …everyone had a copy. Toby had one on her coffee table.
CHRIS: What was it like working with the people at Flynt Publications?
LIANE: Amazing. I loved them. I loved going up to the penthouse in the Century Towers and being treated like part of the family. Althea was so good to me, Clive Davis is great to work with very English! Funny and a very good director but I knew how not to get in way of my own shadow. I had been modeling for quite sometime so it was like butter working together.
CHRIS: Do you think Courtney Love’s portrayal of Althea in The People vs. Larry Flynt was at all accurate?
LIANE: No, not at all. I remember her as kind and strong. When they had offered me the position of talent coordinator, it was Althea and Debra her assistant, who had recommend me in the first place.
CHRIS: You’ve also worked as a stylist?
LIANE: Yes, I did at Fred Segal’s on Melrose Ave. (Laughs) They put me in the front room. I was to dance, sing and sell! We were known as the “Fred Segal Girls,” mentioned by Alice Cooper on KLOS Radio while we were all at work. We could get into anywhere! We all had our own look; one punk, one sort of all black hair like Cher and dating one of the guys form Black Sabbath, me sort of glamour punk, one who was an aspiring actress, etc. Later when LA Story came out and Sarah Jessica Parker played the dip dancing in the front of the store helping Steve Martin with his pants, I thought; HEY!!
CHRIS: I’ll bet you have a lot of stories to tell about your times there.
LIANE: Yes. One of so many memorable moments for me was when Peter Frampton came up to me with a handful of socks, looking completely lost. But that’s another story. Another was when Alice Cooper came in and I was up a ladder putting away hideous disco hoodies and said “Liane, there is someone I want you to meet. It was Bernie Taupin!
CHRIS: I must admit that I like to drop names, and I know you have quite a few names to drop. Would you mind naming some you still keep in touch with?
LIANE: Names huh? Good god man, are you crazy? I really haven’t seen these guys in ages since just after I moved away from LA. It is a part of my history. I think if I saw Lisa Casale, Robet Casale’s wife, I think we would cry and laugh and then catch up. I would love to see Gerry (Casale, founding member of Devo) again. I tried to get in touch with him but I won’t disclose where his place is. I lost the number and have been slowly trying to find Lisa. So Lisa, if by some freak happening you read this, find me! You want names? Okay, Edgar, Jean luc Ponte, Peter Frampton, Roger Taylor, Tony K., Peter Banks. Those are a few musicians. How bout some celebs babe? Woops! I need to talk to my agent first! (Laughs) Oh, David Lynch! There are so many! Then you have the movie people I grew up with! Nothing too unusual when you spend half your life in LA.
CHRIS: Any places you have fond memories of?
LIANE: One word: Paris.
CHRIS: Well, perhaps like Bangkok and Las Vegas, whatever happens there, stays there. So, moving on; you’re also an art dealer. Have you ever found any real gems at garage sales or flea markets?
LIANE: Speaking of Paris, one word: Les Puces, Okay, that was two ..but!
CHRIS: I’m a recent follower of your blog, so let’s talk about some of your entries there. While I was reading “Hello Georgeous, The Toby Chronicles,” it didn’t immediately strike me that Toby was your mother. At first, I thought she was your friend.
LIANE: I am in the process of finally writing about memories of my mother, and my blog is the best place to find her. She has been gone for seven years now and writing about her is for her and everyone that loved her. She really was a character.
CHRIS: Yes, that’s evident in another entry of yours entitled “It Only Comes Once a Year” (which mad me laugh until there were tears in my eyes). Your favorite time of year is the Halloween season, as is mine. So, when were you able to dress as something other than a ghost for Halloween?
LIANE: Well Chris I am Morticia, my favorite! I designed the stormtrooper outfit from Pink Floyd’s The Wall. There were four of us and we went out like PINK! I was a costume designer when I first moved to Monterey. I worked for the theaters and Halloween was our Christmas! Many days of doing make-up for different customers in the dance studio portion of the shop, the owner Dale Lefler was the stand-in dancer for Danny Kaye at MGM. I loved that job. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday …except for the Toby debacle.
CHRIS: After reading “Here’s Mudd in Your Eye” I have two questions: Are you or have you ever been a Trekkie and how did you find out your elbows could be shaped into labias?
LIANE: I have to say the most amazing Yom Kippur was spent at the dinner table with my girlfriend’s family. I was 11 years old, sitting right in front of me was Leonard Nimoy. I thought I was going to hurl my matzah! All I could think was OMG! Spock is Jewish! That’s LA for you. Oh and to answer your first question, yes I am a huge fan of Star Trek but only the original. I know, I know, but you asked. I mean, how can anyone resist Captain Kirk in those cummerbunds!? The guy in red always bit the dust. I like my world to have some order to it. As far as elbows and labias? Take a look at yours and pinch! There ya go.
LIANE: During a reading I was giving! And then a friend of mine saw the movie Mirror Mirror. There ya go…I always know when a new Julia Roberts movie has been released by the flurry of stares in restaurants. Oh well, time for the sunglasses.
CHRIS: Ah, speaking of readings, we have a mutual friend; Debra Lamb, whom I’ve also had the pleasure of interviewing last year. Tell me how you met her.
LIANE: I met Debra at the Rota Psychic Fair in Monterey, where I am a psychic/medium. She recognized my booth and name “Practicalmajick” and said that she just loved my website! It was love at first sight! I adore Debra. She is an incredible horror movie maven and is a delight. She is my “Dangerous D”! We also have many things in common. It turns out not only is Debra a psychic as well but she wears sunglasses too!!
CHRIS: This has been great, Liane but there’s a lot more I’d like to know (as well as my readers), so I hope you’ll be game for a follow-up interview in the very near future. LIANE: Stay tuned kids!
Catch all of Liane’s blog entries here. This and the two photos above by Ade Daff.
Liane’s self-made video The Curse of the Psychotic Psychic features her lip-syncing to “Witch” by The Bird And The Bee.
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Chris flirted with the music business there and in Nashville before joining the U.S. Army and serving in South Korea. He remained in Asia for several years afterwards, teaching English, traveling, and covering the regional entertainment scenes. Currently in a mindset between Seoul and San Francisco, besides Idol Features, you can also catch his writings in the print edition of the monthly magazine, Effective.
Based out of St. Petersburg, Russia, the premiere horror surf band Messer Chups, kicked off their first US tour in August. The band’s bombshell bassist Zombierella, gave us this exclusive backstage interview in San Jose, California.
Minnesota native Nicole Kruex began performing on stage in elementary school, after she was able to break away from Nintendo long enough to discover her love for acting. She already had a love for horror as well.