Oscar-Winning Actor Martin Landau Dies at Age 89

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Martin Landau

Celebrated actor Martin Landau, an Oscar winner and longtime television star, has died, his publicist announced Sunday.

Landau, 89, died Saturday after a brief illness and stay at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood.

Landau — winner of an Academy Award for his role in the 1994 film “Ed Wood” — rose to fame playing a killer in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1959 tale of intrigue, “North by Northwest.”

Martin Landau
Martin Landau at brunch by Montblanc & UNICEF at Hotel Bel-Air on February 23, 2013 in Los Angeles, CA

Starred in Mission Impossible TV Series

He then starred for three years in the hit series, “Mission Impossible,” leaving in 1969 because of a contract dispute, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Landau’s career was then resurrected by director Francis Ford Coppola who picked him to play Abe Karatz — the business partner of automaker Preston Tucker, played by Jeff Bridges — in the 1988 film, “Tucker: The Man and His Dream.”

Landau also had the major role of Judah Rosenthal in Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, “Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

Martin Landau Won Oscar for “Ed Wood”

Although he had previously been nominated for an Oscar, Landau broke through and won the golden statue for his best supporting actor portrayal of horror movie legend Bela Lugosi in the 1994 film, “Ed Wood,” directed by Tim Burton.

Landau also portrayed a space commander John Koenig in the 1970s TV series, “Space 1999,” in which Landau again played opposite his “Mission Impossible” co-star and former wife, Barbara Bain.

The “Mission Impossible” star and co-star Bain were married from 1957 to 1993.

Landau turned down the role of Mr. Spock in the original “Star Trek” series, a role that ultimately went to Leonard Nimoy, who had replaced Landau on the “Mission Impossible” show after Landau quit.

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. Landau was best friends with James Dean and a one-time beau of legendary actress Marilyn Monroe, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Was Cartoonist at New York Daily News

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.

He began his career on the stage in New York, doing roles in such plays as “Stalag 17,” “Goat Song,” “First Love,” and “Middle of the Night,” the first play written by famed playwright Paddy Chayevsky.

Landau also played roles in such movies as “Cleopatra,” “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” “The Hallelujah Trail,” “Nevada Smith” and “They Call Me Mr. Tibbs.”

Actor Martin Landau is survived by Bain and their two daughters, Susan Landau Finch and Juliet Landau.

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Oscar-Winning Actor Martin Landau Dies at Age 89
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Oscar-Winning Actor Martin Landau Dies at Age 89
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Celebrated actor Martin Landau, an Oscar winner and longtime television star, has died, his publicist announced Sunday.
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