Martin Landau, Oscar Winner and 'Mission: Impossible' Star, Dead at 89

Martin Landau, Oscar Winner and 'Mission: Impossible' Star, Dead at 89

Cult film legend Martin Landau has died at 89-years-old during a short stay in hospital over the weekend. But after a highly successful three-year run as master-of-disguise Rollin Hand on TV's Mission: Impossible, the actor who'd crafted his art alongside James Dean and mentored Jack Nicholson discovered the movie business had lost interest in him.

Landau originally started out as a cartoonist for the New York Daily News before moving into theatre and television acting.

Then, in 1994, he played Lugosi, the faded horror star - now elderly, poor and morphine-addicted - in Tim Burton's "Ed Wood".

The job, he said, would have entailed "going to dress rehearsal or opening night" of a Broadway show and "doing a cast drawing for the Sunday paper". Landau was perhaps best know for his Academy Award-winning turn in Tim Burton's Ed Wood, but his time in the spotlight saw him take on a number of other impressive roles.

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.

Landau, who was born in Brooklyn on 20 June 1928, is survived by his daughters Susan and Juliet from his marriage to his Mission: Impossible co-star Barbara Bain, whom he divorced in 1993.

He left the show in 1969 over a pay dispute where he was then replaced by Leonard Nimoy; Landau had also turned down the role of Mr Spock in Star Trek, a role that then went to Nimoy instead.

He appeared in almost 200 films and TV shows during his lengthy career. Landau said he doesn't regret it however, saying "Lenny (Nimoy) was better suited for" the role.

Four years later, Landau landed his breakout role as a henchman in Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 classic North by Northwest, with Landau later revealing he "played the character gay", a decision that Hitchcock "loved".

He earned his first Oscar nomination for Judah Rosenthal in Crimes & Misdemeanors with a Best Supporting Actor nod, an award he won in 1994 for Ed Wood.

According to IMDb, in 2017 he played Abe in "The Last Poker Game; in post-production is "Without Ward;" and in pre-production is "Nate & Al".

More recently, Landau earned Emmy noms for playing the father of Anthony LaPaglia's character on CBS' Without a Trace and guest-starring as an out-of-touch movie producer on HBO's Entourage.

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