Martin Landau dead at 89 after legendary Ed Wood actor suffers 'unexpected complications' during brief hospital stay
Legendary actor Martin Landau has passed away aged 89.
The Oscar-winner died of “unexpected complications” on Saturday during a brief spell in a Los Angeles hospital, his publicist Dick Guttman said.
Landau’s career began in the 1950s when he landed a supporting role in Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest.
His fame began to skyrocket when he went on to score a regular part as Rollin Hand in TV series Mission: Impossible – a role that earned him a number of Emmy Award nominations as well as a Golden Globe Award in 1968.
After a dry spell, his career roared back to life in the late 1980s when Francis Ford Coppola cast him in Tucker: The Man and His Dream.
It was, he reminded one journalist, the first time this “Jewish kid from Brooklyn” took a role that called for him to play Jewish.
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An even more impressive turn as a successful Jewish ophthalmologist haunted by a secret in Woody Allen’s drama Crimes and Misdemeanors brought him an Oscar nomination for the second year in a row.
In a late-career comback, he eventually won an Oscar for his supporting role as Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton’s biopic Ed Wood in 1994.
As well as the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award, he also won a Screen Actors Guild award.
Landau provided voices for the 1997 Oscar-winning documentary The Long Way Home and appeared as himself in the documentaries Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasen’s, Cannes: Through the Eyes of the Hunter and Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There (2003) as well as a 2011 American Masters documentary on Woody Allen.
He kept his hand in on the smallscreen as well, starring in the miniseries Bonanno: A Godfather’s Story and appearing as a series regular on the brief ABC series The Evidence.
Landau had a recurring part on Without a Trace as Anthony LaPaglia’s father with Alzheimer’s and on Entourage as a washed-up producer, drawing Emmy nominations in 2004 and 2005 for the former and in 2007 for the latter.
Most recently he appeared in The Last Poker Game with Paul Sorvino, which screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, and in Remember for director Atom Egoyan.
Also in the 2000s, Landau worked as an acting coach in a venture with director Mark Rydell and screenwriter-playwriter Lyle Kessler.
The Brookly-born actor started out as a cartoonist, spending four years with the New York Daily News from 1948-51, then turned his attentions to acting.
He claimed that he and Steve McQueen were the only two among 2,000 applicants whose auditions gained them admittance to the Actors Studio (of which Landau later became an officer).
Landau did some stage work, most notably touring with the Paddy Chayefsky play Middle of the Night in 1956-57. He married one of the understudies, Bain, whom he met in Curt Conway’s acting classes.
His film debut came in a small role in Pork Chop Hill in 1959, followed by a larger role in The Gazebo. Then he drew attention for his role in North by Northwest.
He is survived by two daughters, writer-producer-casting director Susan Landau Finch and thesp Juliet Landau of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, a sister and a granddaughter.
After the sad news of his death was announced, actress Patricia Arquette paid tribute to Landau as a “talented, sweet, generous” actor.
“Working with Martin Landau on Ed Wood was a joy,” she added.
Actor Ralph Macchio said he was a “simply wonderful” performer whose Oscar-nominated performance in Woody Allen’s Crimes And Misdemeanours is among his favourites.
The actor’s publicist announced his death in a statement on Sunday.
“We are overcome with sadness to report the death of iconic actor Martin Landau on July 15th, 2017, at 1.30pm at UCLA Medical Centre, where he succumbed to unexpected complications during a short hospitalisation,” he said.
“He had just celebrated his 89th birthday.”
Thanks to: mirror – US gossip