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On the TV Screen or the Movie Screen, He Was an Actor’s Actor: Oscar Winner Martin Landau Dead at 89

Jul 17, 2017  •  Post A Comment

Martin Landau, beloved for his TV role on “Mission: Impossible” and an Oscar winner for playing Bela Lugosi in “Ed Wood,” has died.

“His publicists Dick Guttman and Rona Menashe confirmed his death to USA Today. They said in a statement that the veteran actor, who also was nominated for Academy Awards for his roles in ‘Crimes and Misdemeanors’ and ‘Tucker: The Man and His Dream,’ died at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, ‘where he succumbed to unexpected complications during a short hospitalization,'” USA Today reports.

Landau played master of disguise Rollin Hand for three seasons on the TV spy series “Mission: Impossible” in the late 1960s. “He also gained some measure of fame among ‘Star Trek’ fans for a role he didn’t play, pointy-eared starship Enterprise science officer Mr. Spock,” USA Today notes. “‘Star Trek’ creator Gene Roddenberry had offered him the role, but Landau turned it down.”

The report adds: “Landau continued working until the end. He attended Tribeca Film Festival in New York last spring, where his upcoming movie with Paul Sorvino, ‘The Last Poker Game,’ was screened.”

Landau’s recent credits include “Remember” (2015) and “The Red Maple Leaf” (2016).

He was nominated six times for Primetime Emmys, without a win, including three nominations for his leading role on “Mission: Impossible,” along with nods for guest appearances on “Without a Trace” (2004 and 2005) and “Entourage” (2007).

Landau won Golden Globes for “Mission: Impossible” (1968), “Tucker: The Man and His Dream” (1989) and “Ed Wood” (1995).

Early in his career Landau paid his dues with a string of guest roles on TV Westerns and drama anthologies, including “Armstrong Circle Theatre,” “Rawhide,” “Tales of Wells Fargo,” “Playhouse 90,” “Wanted: Dead or Alive,” “Wagon Train” and “Bonanza.” After “Mission: Impossible,” he had a long run as Commander John Koenig on “Space: 1999” in the mid-1970s.

Here’s a clip from “Mission: Impossible” featuring Landau — impersonating someone named George Simpson — working with actor Steve Ihnat …

2 Comments

  1. I haven’t seen anywhere where he starred with his wife at the time (Barbara Bain) in Space 1999 in the 70’s. R.I.P.

  2. Really? No mention of “North by Northwest?”

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