Iconic Actor Martin Landau Has Passed Away at 89

Landau earned three Academy Award nominations in his almost 60 year career: first for his performance in Francis Ford Coppola's Tucker: The Man and His Dream in 1988; then for his performance in Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors in 1989; finally winning for his portrayal of Lugosi in Ed Wood in 1994.

He appeared in almost 200 films and TV shows during his lengthy career.

"We are overcome with sadness to report the death of iconic actor Martin Landau", said his publicist in a statement.

In 1955, he auditioned for Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio (choosing a scene from Clifford Odets' Clash by Night against the advice of friends), and he and Steve McQueen were the only new students accepted that year out of the 2,000-plus aspirants who had applied.

There are some roles that Landau took on in various mediums that could genuinely surprise you - for example, that he voiced the villain Scorpion in the classic 1960's Spider-Man cartoon.

In a 2016 interview with The Washington Times, Landau explained what he thought of acting in the 21st century. Landau had famously passed on the role of Star Trek's Mister Spock in the same year.


It was the Los Angeles run of that show that brought him to the attention of Alfred Hitchcock, who gave the actor, by then 30 years old, his first film role in North By Northwest as Leonard, one of the two henchmen who pursue Cary Grant throughout the film. Landau was known as the chameleon-like actor who gained fame as the crafty master of disguise in the 1960s TV show "Mission: Impossible", then capped a long and versatile career with an Oscar for his poignant portrayal of aging horror movie star Bela Lugosi in 1994's "Ed Wood".

Landau originally started out as a cartoonist for the New York Daily News before moving into theatre and television acting. That would be the part of Rollin Hand in TV's Mission: Impossible.

For decades now, Martin Landau has been one of the most respectable elder statesmen in the entertainment industry, with prolific appearances in good films, bad films and every film in between.

In addition to Mission: Impossible, his television credits include Without A Trace, Space: 1999 and Entourage.

It was in this drama that he was discovered by Hitchcock, who cast him as a killer, who falls to his death off Mount Rushmore, in North by Northwest.

Landau and Bain were married from 1957 to 1993. Landau is survived by his daughters Susie Landau Finch, Juliet Landau, and his granddaughter Aria Isabel Landau. "Trust has to be attained", Landau said. "So I hit the mark, say the words and get the hell out of there".


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