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.”

Source: LA Times, ET Online

10 Responses

  1. Always remember being surprised that the character of Drusilla in Buffy the Vampire slayer TV series

    Was played by Juliet Landau – Martin and Barbara’s daughter

    Talented lot

  2. About time one of the fta networks replayed space 1999, I remember channel 7 airing it in the mid 80s, anyways RIP Martin Landau, loved you in Space 1999 and also Mission Impossible.

    1. Space 1999 was a great show, at least season 1. Season 2 never really impressed me. I doubt any of the commercial FTAs would do it any justice. Quite often they completely butcher episodes in order to fit them into a smaller time slot, but keep the advertising maxed out. 7’s running of classic such as Dad’s Army was a good example. The show had so much chopped out and such a poor job of it that many of the episodes simply didn’t make sense anymore.

  3. Martin Landau was one of those contract 1960 -70’s’s actors who just fitted in to most of the serial shows being produced at that time, he also occasionally starred with his wife Barbara Bain as well, most notably in Space 1999.

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