Vale: Martin Landau
Veteran actor, best known for Ed Wood, Space: 1999 & Mission: Impossible, has died.
Veteran actor Martin Landau, best known for Ed Wood, Space: 1999 and Mission: Impossible, has died, aged 89.
He died in hospital in Los Angeles after “unexpected complications” during a short hospitalisation, his publicist confirmed.
“We are overcome with sadness to report the death of iconic actor Martin Landau,” a statement said.
Landau made his Hollywood debut in the 1959 Korean war film, Pork Chop Hill, which also starred Gregory Peck. Other film credits included North by Northwest, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Cleopatra, Tucker: The Man and His Dream, The Adventures of Pinocchio, Rounders, In the Beginning.
1994’s Ed Wood earned him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, as well as Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards, among a number of other trophies.
But Landau became wildly popular for his role as Rollin Hand, the “Man of a Million Faces” sleuth on the 1960s hit series Mission: Impossible, with then-wife Barbara Bain. The actor was not meant to be a regular on the show but became so popular that he went on to receive Emmy nominations for each of the three seasons in which he appeared, and in 1968 won a Golden Globe for male TV star. He quit the show in a contract dispute and went on to co-star with Bain in the UK’s sci-fi Space: 1999.
Other notable TV credits included The Twilight Zone, Spiderman, Murder She Wrote, The Man from UNCLE, The Big Valley, The Outer Limits, Wagon Train, Rawhide and In Plain Sight.
More recently he starred in Without a Trace, playing Jack’s father with Alzheimer’s disease, and HBO’s Entourage, playing bumbling film producer Bob Ryan.
In the early “golden years” of television, Landau told The Times in 1992, “no one knew who was in charge yet. There weren’t that many sets and ad agencies didn’t butt in.” As time went by, however, television lost its ability to be original, he said. “It copycats itself so much. The sense of adventure and risk-taking is much less.
“I’d worked for the giants at the beginning — George Stevens, Hitchcock,” Landau said. “And then it all stopped because I was a television actor.”