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Actor Martin Landau Has Died At The Age of 89
17 July 2017, 04:16 | Max Haynes
Martin Landau, Oscar Winner for 'Ed Wood,' Dies at 89
Long undervalued, he finally earned the recognition he deserved in his 60s, winning an Academy Award in 1995.
Landau was born in Brooklyn and began his career as an illustrator and staff cartoonist at the New York Daily News.
He began his career on the stage in NY, doing roles in such plays as "Stalag 17", "Goat Song", "First Love", and "Middle of the Night", the first play written by famed playwright Paddy Chayevsky.
"I had him do a bunch of exercises that would connect his voice, his body, and emotions", Landau said of Nicholson in a 2012 interview with the entertainment website Movieline. "I think he just could relate to it, and had been through enough ups and downs to understand Bela Lugosi", the Turner Classic Movies website quoted Burton as saying about Landau.
He made his Broadway debut in Paddy Chayefsky's Middle of the Night alongside his idol, Robinson.
Landau broke into films in 1959 with a small role in Korean war drama Pork Chop Hill and a larger one in Hitchcock's big-budget thriller North by Northwest; in the latter he plays James Mason's creepy henchman who chases Cary Grant during the celebrated Mount Rushmore finale. His character, a henchman who menaces star Cary Grant, meets his demise beneath the Mount Rushmore busts of USA presidents. "I will miss his work".
Landau continued working even in his later years. Instead, however, he was stuck in roles as sinister heavies.
During the 1960s, he had character roles in "The Greatest Story Ever Told", "Nevada Smith" and "The Hallelujah Trail". Years later, he taught at the group's second location, in West Hollywood, CA, the Actors Studio West. As an undercover disguise artist, Hand proved a showcase for Landau's acting skills, allowing him to play multiple characters - often in the same episode.
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Landau was married for almost 40 years to actress Barbara Bain, though the two split in 1993.
Landau is survived by daughters Susan Landau Finch (a casting director and producer whose upcoming projects include Nate and Al, with her father tapped to play Al) and Juliet Landau (a ballerina and actress best known for playing Drusilla on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel).
Though he worked consistently, his movie career didn't kick into high gear again until he was 60.
Martin Landau, a talented and prolific character actor who achieved TV stardom in "Mission: Impossible" and won an Oscar for his portrayal of a washed-up Bela Lugosi in the sweetly freaky 1994 film "Ed Wood", has died at age 89. The role of a seemingly decent, venerable man harboring a dark secret became a Landau specialty.
Landau's career spanned the decades.
He went on to star in the television series Mission: Impossible and famously turned down the part of Mr Spock in Star Trek. In 2008, he had a lead role in the indie romance Lovely, Still, opposite Ellen Burstyn.
Genre fans also know Landau from his TV work, which included Mission: Impossible and Space: 1999. Of thousands of applicants, only he and Steve McQueen were accepted in that class at the prestigious Actors Studio in Manhattan.
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