'Mission Impossible' actor Martin Landau dies aged 89

Martin Landau, Oscar Winner for 'Ed Wood,' Dies at 89

But it was not until 1994 that he scooped up the Best Supporting Actor Oscar playing declining horror film star Lugosi in his poor, elder years as a morphine addict in Tim Burton's Ed Wood.

He left "Mission: Impossible" after three seasons in 1969 because of a contract dispute. But he truly impressed the world with his role in the fan favorite TV show, Mission: Impossible, and his Oscar award winning role in Ed Wood.

Cult film legend Martin Landau has died at 89-years-old during a short stay in hospital over the weekend.

As the years went by, Landau soon built a fan following, and became a sought-after actor - but even Landau had his limits, turning down the role of Mr. Spock in the hit NBC series, Star Trek (after Landau's rejection, the role was given to Leonard Nimoy).




Landau, who was a newspaper cartoonist in his native New York City before turning to acting, was devoted to the craft as founder and most recently artistic director of Actors Studio West, and as an acting coach. His film career languished for more than a decade, reaching its nadir with his appearance in the 1981 TV movie "The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island".

In one of his final films, The Last Poker Game, Martin played an elderly Casanova and took part in his first sex scenes with his movie wife Ann Marie Shea and a volunteer at his character's nursing home, played by Pamela Dubin. He also received a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Golden Globe Award and a Saturn Award for the role. He also appeared in films throughout the 1960s such as Cleopatra and The Greatest Story Ever Told before he was cast on "Mission: Impossible".

In a 2016 interview with The Washington Times, Landau explained what he thought of acting in the 21st century.

The actor spent five years as a newspaper cartoonist in his native NY before deciding to focus on acting; As Landau often stated, he and Steve McQueen were notably the only two applicants accepted into the Actors Studio in 1955. They have two daughters, Susan and Juliet. The couple divorced in 1993. He had his first major movie role, as a villain, in Alfred Hitchcock's "North by Northwest" (1959). "In a well-written script, the dialogue ... is what [characters] are willing to share", Landau said in 2001.

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