Legendary character actor Martin Landau has died from “unexpected complications” during a stay at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. He was 89.
Landau was a professional cartoonist before turning to acting. He was a member of the Actor’s Studio in the same class as Steve McQueen and worked on Broadway before his big break.
In 1959, Alfred Hitchcock cast him as the villainous lackey in his classic North By Northwest. This led to film work in movies like Cleopatra, The Greatest Story Ever Told, and Nevada Smith.
Landau then moved on to television, taking on the roll of Rollin Hand on the Mission: Impossible TV show from 1966 to 1969. The show was a smash success and the part became his most famous role. He also starred in the sci-fi TV show, Space: 1999 from 1975 to 1977.
The actor went into a bit of a career slump until Francis Ford Coppola cast him in his 1988 film, Tucker: A Man and His Dream. Landau earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in that role, and again the next year in in the same category for the Woody Allen film Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Landau would get his Best Supporting Actor award in 1995 for Tim Burton’s Ed Wood. In it, he played an aged and decrepit Bela Lugosi and examined his relationship with the director Ed Wood (Johnny Depp). Landau would work with Burton two more times–in Sleepy Hollow and a voice in the Frankenweenee. One of his last films was the Holocaust thriller Remember in 2015.