Actor Martin Landau died Saturday, July 15, 2017 in Los Angeles at the age of 89. His publicist confirmed his passing.
From 1966 to 1969 Landau starred in the suspense drama Mission: Impossible as covert ops agent Rollin Hand. He appeared in 76 episodes of the show then followed with over 175 roles on TV and in film.
Landau was born on June 20, 1928 in Brooklyn, NY. He went to James Madison High School then studied at the Pratt Institute and the Art Students League with an initial career plan to become an artist. He got a job as a cartoonist and illustrator with the New York Daily News when he was 17 then switched to acting in his early 20s.
In the mid-1950s he trained with the Actors Studio in New York City and later he became a teacher at the studio and served as the co-creative director of their West Coast branch. After working on a touring production of Middle of the Night he started working on film and TV.
His debut came in an episode of The Goldbergs in 1953, followed by several TV guest spots in Schlitz Playhouse, Maverick, and Rawhide. In 1959 he starred in the war drama Pork Chop Hill and played a killer in Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest. He had several more TV guest appearances and was in Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton and played a villain in The Greatest Story Ever Told.
After Mission: Impossible he starred in the sci-fi cult classic Space: 1999 from 1975 to 1977 as Commander John Koenig. He was in Get Smart, They Call Me Mister Tibbs!, Columbo, Alone in the Dark, Murder, She Wrote, The Twilight Zone, Treasure Island, The Color of Evening, and Eye of the Stranger.
In 1994 Landau starred in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood portraying Bela Lugosi and won an Oscar for the role. He returned to work with Burton in Sleepy Hollow and voiced in Frankenweenie. In his later years he voiced a role in the Spider-Man TV series, played Geppetto in The Adventures of Pinocchio, was in B*A*P*S, The Majestic, and Hollywood Homicide. He guest starred in several episodes of The Evidence, Entourage, and Without a Trace. Landau was working on a few projects at the time of his death.