Martin Landau, Oscar-Winner & ‘Ed Wood’ Star, Dies At 89
Oscar-winning actor Martin Landau died Saturday night, aged 89.
MARTIN LANDAU DEAD AT 89
Landau’s publicist Dick Guttman said the actor died of unexpected complications during a short stay at UCLA Medical Center.
Landau gained fame in the 1960s as Rollin Hand on Mission: Impossible the TV show. His real-life wife, Barbara Bain, also starred in the show. They both left in 1969 at the end of the show’s third season. Landau turned down the role of Mr. Spock on Star Trek when he instead chose to act in Mission: Impossible. Ironically, Leonard Nimoy, who ended up playing Spock, replace Landau on Mission: Impossible.
Landau first attempted a Broadway career, but his success was short-lived. He soon moved to film and TV, where he was cast in his first film in 1950s as a soldier in Pork Chop Hill. He was also the villain in Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest.
Following his stint as Hand, Landau was typecast, and so saw less success after his run. In 1981, his career reached a low point when he appeared in The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island. But by 1988 he was back on top. He starred in Tucker: The Man and his Dream by Francis Ford Coppola, and earned his first Oscar nod. He was nominated the next year for his portrayal of an adulterous husband in Woody Allen‘s Crimes and Misdemeanors.
His third nomination was for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton‘s Ed Wood, about Hollywood’s worst filmmaker. This was the film for which Landau won his Oscar.
Landau studied at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and worked as a New York Daily News cartoonist before switching careers to acting at age 22. He made his stage debut in 1951 in a Maine summer theater and then off-Broadway. In 1955, Landau was one of two out of hundreds chosen to study at the Actors Studio – the other was Steve McQueen.
Landau and Bain had two daughters, Susan and Juliet, before they divorced in 1993.