Oscar-winning performer Martin Landau is no more

Nick Sanchez
July 18, 2017

From L-R: American actress Juliette Landau, American director Tim Burton, actor and rock star Johnny Depp and actor Martin Landau seen during a photo call for their film "Ed Wood" on May 26, 2006. Landau finally won the golden statuette five years later for "Ed Wood".

Even more sad news to report as prolific actor Martin Landau has passed away at age 89, per Deadline.

"Mission: Impossible", which also starred Landau's wife, Barbara Bain, became an immediate hit upon its debut in 1966. 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. 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.

Mr. Landau's career started in the 1950's and continued with numerous guest appearances on television shows, including The Twilight Zone, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and Columbo. But his career and performances were far from workmanlike: Landau made his mark on Hollywood early, and sustained and expanded it through intense dedication and preparation. Over his seven decade career, Landau appeared in hundreds of projects.

The veteran actor rose to prominence after playing a homosexual henchman in Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 film "North by Northwest". At the time of his death, he was still active in film, with one 2017 release, "The Last Poker Game", and another, "Without Ward", in post-production, according to the Internet Movie Database.

In a 2016 interview with The Washington Times, Landau explained what he thought of acting in the 21st century. They divorced in 1993 and had two children together. Then he drew attention for his role in "North by Northwest". Martin Landau, I was just telling a story about working with you tonight at dinner! Landau is survived by his daughters Susie Landau Finch, Juliet Landau, and his granddaughter Aria Isabel Landau.

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