Martin Landau, ‘Mission Impossible,’ ‘North by Northwest’ actor, dead at 89
One of the iconic actors who helped make the original Mission Impossible so good, Martin Landau, has died at age 89.
Most recently known for his leading role as Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood (which won him an Oscar), Landau’s credits span some of the great films in Hollywood history, including Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors, and Rounders.
But his most far reaching presence in the mainstream was through television on shows like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, Space: 1999, The Untouchables, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and many others.
Highly respected among his peers, one of Landau’s greatest loves was using his skills in the theater, an aspect of his career he recently illuminated for fans on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast in January. During the episode, Landau told stories about his early days as a struggling actor in New York City studying under the legendary Lee Strasberg and roaming the streets of the city with the likes of James Dean.
But as accomplished and talented as he was, Landau wasn’t afraid to poke fun at himself and Hollywood. His appearance in HBO’s Entourage as an absent-minded movie producer trying to hold on to greatness was both a commentary on the business and a brilliant example of his comedic range, despite his long track record of dramatic roles.
The Brooklyn-born actor died in Los Angeles, according to his agent, who confirmed his passing to Entertainment Weekly on Sunday evening.
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