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July 17, 2017

Martin Landau Dies: Oscar-Winning ‘Ed Wood’ Actor Was 89

Academy Award winning actor of Ed Wood, Martin Landau has died at the age of 89. Also known for his versatile roles in classic films like Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest and for his role in the Mission: Impossible television series as master of disguise Rollin Hand , the actor died Saturday of “unexpected complications.”

Landau’s death, which was confirmed by his publicist Dick Guttman, occurred after a brief stay at the UCLA Medical Center. He was born in Brooklyn, NY and  studied art at the Pratt Institute. The year he auditioned for the Actors Studio, he and Steve McQueen were accepted out of 2000 applicants. This was the start of his successful acting career.

His career in television, film, and stage spanned over five decades.  “Martin Landau is living proof that Hollywood will find great roles for great actors at any stage of their careers,” said Guttman in a release.

In addition to his aforementioned roles in North by Northwest and TV’s Mission: Impossible, he starred opposite Jeff Bridges in Francis Ford Coppola’s Tucker: The Man His Dream in 1988, where he received his first Oscar nomination. The following year he earned his second Oscar nod for his role as Judah Rosenthal in Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors. In 1994, when he received a third nom and won for Best Supporting Actor in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood where he played Bela Lugosi.

His performance in Ed Wood also earned him a Golden Globe Award the Screen Actor Guild’s first annual award, The American Comedy Award, The New York Film Critics Award, The National Society of Film Critics Award, The Chicago Film Critics Award, The Los Angeles Film Critics Award, and every other award for Best Supporting Actor in 1994. He collaborated with Burton again as a voice actor for his animated features 9 and Frankenweenie.

More recently, he starred opposite with Paul Sorvino in the dramedy The Last Poker Game, which bowed earlier this year at Tribeca Film Festival. The story centered on the challenges and complexities of old age but emphasizing that life must be lived fully at any age. He also starred with legendary actor Christopher Plummer in the 2015 indie Holocaust drama Remember from director Atom Egoyan. He also starred in The Red Maple Leaf with Kris Kirstofferson and James Caan as well as the critically acclaimed Lovely with Ellen Burstyn.

Before his death, Landau was the Artistic Director of the Actors Studio alongside director Mark Rydell. He was a member of the Studio for over sixty years. After encouragement my Lee Strasberg, he became a sought-after acting teacher training actors such as Jack Nicholson and Angelica Houston.

Landau’s versatile talents shined on TV as he made appearances on the small screen after his memorable role on Mission: Impossible. He nabbed six Emmy nominations including two for guest starring appearances on Without A Trace as well as the HBO comedy Entourage.

More to come….

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