Martin Landau


1931-2017. Brooklyn, New York, United States

A prolific supporting player whose roller-coaster career has spanned half a century, Landau studied at the Actors Studio and soon began landing parts on stage and TV. His chilly turn as a villain in 1959's North by Northwest launched his movie career, and the small screen made him a star. Although Landau was in the running for the role of Mr. Spock on Star Trek, he ended up signing on to the series Mission: Impossible instead, opposite his then-wife Barbara Bain. After three seasons, the couple exited the show due to a contract dispute. (In an ironic twist, Leonard Nimoy, aka Spock, replaced Landau on MI). Unfortunately, Landau's and Bain's careers — and their marriage — stalled, and after a few more collaborations (the cult sci-fi series Space: 1999 and the lambasted TV-movie The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island), the duo called it quits. In the late '80s, Landau had a remarkable resurgence, snagging two consecutive Oscar nods for his turns in Tucker and Crimes and Misdemeanors. In the '90s, he finally won an Oscar for his uncanny channeling of Dracula star Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood, and the achievement led to a boost in his demand for a wide range of parts. Among his roles on the big-screen, he played a judge in the political drama City Hall, Geppetto in the live action The Adventures of Pinocchio, a law school mentor in Rounders, and a stepdad in EdTV. In a pair of miniseries, he played very different kinds of paternal figures, first depicting virtuous dad Jacob in the Biblical-themed Joseph and then took a more devious turn as an aging mafia boss in Bonanno: A Godfather's Story. In the '00s the small-screen again beckoned with roles on Without a Trace, the short-lived The Evidence, and a hilarious appearance on HBO's Entourage, proving the sexagenarian was still a formidable talent. Meanwhile, he continued to keep busy with supporting roles in films that showcased his ability to inhabit an extraordinary range of diverse characters. While maintaining an active career with numerous film and TV projects, he also found the time to serve as Co-Artistic Director of the Actors Studio West.

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