Oscar Winner Martin Landau Passes Away at 89

Kelly Massey
July 18, 2017

But he truly impressed the world with his role in the fan favorite TV show, Mission: Impossible, and his Oscar award winning role in Ed Wood.

Landau first shot to fame in 1959, after he was cast in the popular Alfred Hitchcock movie, North By Northwest.

Landau's work spanned seven different decades and he was nominated for six Emmys. "What could I do?" he later lamented. On the big screen, he appeared in the likes of Cleopatra, The Call Me Mr. Tibbs!, Rounders, Sleepy Hollow, The Majestic and Frankenweenie. Speaking in 2011, Landau spoke of this role.

"Mission: Impossible", which also starred Landau's wife, Barbara Bain, became an immediate hit upon its debut in 1966. "I think if they don't like what I'm doing, they'll say something", he said. But he gloriously came into his own in movies in his later years. After all, Landau's roller-coaster career included credits like The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island.

He also taught acting at the famed Actor's Studio, and at his death was serving as its artistic director, a post he shared with director Mark Rydell.

He brought poignancy to his role as a judge in "City Hall" and played Gepetto in "The Adventures of Pinocchio".

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Perhaps it took a Landau to know a Lugosi.

He had a series of roles in small films including 2006's "David and Fatima" and starred in 2008's "Harrison Montgomery".

Academy award winning actor Martin Landau sits on his new star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as he poses for photographers during ceremonies to honor him, in Hollywood, Calif., on December 17, 2001. He would later star in Space: 1999, and earned further Emmy nominations for guest roles in Without a Trace and Entourage. Most recently he appeared in "The Last Poker Game" with Paul Sorvino, which screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, and in "Remember" for director Atom Egoyan.

Landau - born and raised in Brooklyn - landed a job as a cartoonist at the New York Daily News at age 17, until he quit five years later to pursue acting. The couple divorced in 1993.

In 1955, he was among hundreds who applied to study at the prestigious Actors Studio and one of only two selected.

Generally considered one of the best films of all time, North by Northwest is not lacking for memorable performances, including Grant's resourceful protagonist, Eva Marie Saint as his enigmatic ally, and James Mason as Leonard's boss Vandamm. It's a truism that Oscar loves actors who play other actors, but there was more to Landau's performance than stunt casting: he imbued the horror has-been with a broken-down misery that vanished only when the cameras were rolling, turning into blazing mania.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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