Actor Martin Landau, Star of ‘Mission: Impossible,’ Dies at 89
LOS ANGELES, California — Martin Landau, 89, a character actor who starred in the 1960s television show “Mission: Impossible” and won an Oscar for playing Bela Lugosi in the movie “Ed Wood,” died Saturday, his publicist Dick Guttman said Sunday night.
Landau died at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles following “unexpected complications during a short hospitalization,” Guttman said in a statement.
Landau was born June 28, 1928, in Brooklyn and worked as a cartoonist for the New York Daily News before becoming an actor, according to the Internet Movie Database.
Landau’s career spanned the decades. In 1957 he had a part in the play “Middle of the Night,” with Edward G. Robinson and ended up on the West Coast, according to the Internet Movie Database.
To the general public, Landau was best known to the public for playing master of disguise Rollin Hand for a top-secret spy team in the 1960s series “Mission: Impossible,” in which his then-wife Barbara Bain also starred.
He was nominated for Emmys for each of his three seasons on the show and won the Golden Globe for best male TV star in 1968, IMDb said.
Landau and Bain left the series in 1969 in a salary dispute. His career suffered for about a decade and he was forced to take roles in now-forgotten movies such as “The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island,” IMDb said.
Landau’s career picked up when he got a recurring role on the NBC comedy “Buffalo Bill,” in which Dabney Coleman starred.
He was nominated for three Academy Awards for best supporting actor, for playing Abe Karatz in Francis Coppola’s “Tucker” in 1988; the adulterous husband Judah Rosenthal in Woody Allen’s “Crimes and Misdemeanors” in 1989; and the aging horror movie star Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton’s “Ed Wood” in 1994. He won the Oscar for the “Ed Wood” role.
Landau’s first big movie role was in Alfred Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest.” He also had supporting roles in “Cleopatra” and other movies and appeared in numerous television shows, including “The Twilight Zone.”
Near the end of his career, he played Bob Ryan, an aging movie producer in the HBO series “Entourage.” The character’s catchphrase, with an exaggerated idea followed by “would that be something you’d be interested in?” became a something of a pop culture joke.
Guttman said funeral services will be private followed by a memorial service in August or September.