Martin Landau, Oscar victor and 'Mission: Impossible' star, dies at 89

  • Martin Landau, Oscar victor and 'Mission: Impossible' star, dies at 89

Martin Landau, Oscar victor and 'Mission: Impossible' star, dies at 89

That was the role that finally won Landau his Oscar in 1994: the foul-mouthed, morphine-addicted Bela Lugosi in Burton's cracked biopic.

Actor Martin Landau, who amassed almost 200 acting credits in his 50-plus year career, died Saturday at the age of 89.

Landau, who appeared in nearly 200 movies and TV shows, was best known for his performances in the Mission: Impossible TV series, Tim Burton's Ed Wood (1994), and Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959).

He was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Abe Karatz in Tucker in 1988 and again in 1989 for his portrayal of an adulterous husband in Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanours.

Infamously, Landau passed on the role of Spock in the original Star Trek.

Nimoy then replaced Landau on Mission: Impossible when he left in a salary dispute. "I was a bad guy by profession, a heavy in a certain kind of tacky movie". "Trust has to be attained", Landau said.

In a 2016 interview with The Washington Times, Landau explained what he thought of acting in the 21st century. After a few years, though, he abruptly quit his job to follow his dream and become a theatrical actor, something he recognized many years later as a "crazy" idea.

Landau - who was hired at age 17 as a cartoonist at the New York Daily News, a resume tidbit that never ceases to delight me - had an acting career that stretched over six decades, moving back and forth between film and television as the opportunities allowed. But it was the 1966 TV show "Mission: Impossible', which helped him make a mark in the industry". He later received another Emmy nomination for his role in HBO's Entourage (as aging movie producer Bob Ryan) and two more for his part in Without a Trace (playing the father of Anthony LaPaglia's character). Insane as it was, Landau auditioned at the Actors Studio in 1955, and out of more than 2,000 other aspiring actors, only he and one other person were accepted into the program-the other being Steve McQueen. Barbara Bain and Landau have two daughters, Susan and Juliet.

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.

Laundau and Bain divorced in 1993. Donations can be made to the Actors Studio West.

A documentary titled "An Actor's Actor: The Life of Martin Landau" is also now being prepared.