Fans say goodbye to Academy Award victor, 'class act' Martin Landau

Lawrence Kim
July 17, 2017

"The ladies always loved Martin Landau". In the series, Landau starred alongside then-wife Barbara Bain.

Landau was married for almost 40 years to actress Barbara Bain, though the two split in 1993. But the series had served its goal.

Nearly two decades later, after some lean years, Landau enjoyed a career revival in feature films. The film brought him an Academy Award nomination. He received a second Oscar nomination for Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989).

Then, in 1994, he played Lugosi, the faded horror star - now elderly, poor and morphine-addicted - in Tim Burton's "Ed Wood".

But he never forgot the hard years. "I'm still doing it".

"An bad lot of actors who are considered very good actors are not very good actors".

A precociously gifted artist, Landau had been a cartoonist, illustrator and theater caricaturist at the New York Daily News in his teens before embarking on an acting career at 22. He has also worked with Actors Studio West as a director and teacher.

He launched his career as an artist, according to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), in 1957 with his Broadway debut in "Middle of the Night". "I didn't have to be a waiter". His first screen acting job was in a 1953 episode of the NBC series "Molly" (originally "The Goldbergs").

Alfred Hitchcock saw the play and gave Landau his big break in movies, casting him in the 1959 classic North by Northwest. But so what? I'm not gay.

He went on to perform for such top directors as Joseph L. Mankiewicz in Cleopatra (1963) - though he said most of his best work on that film was sent to the cutting-room floor - George Stevens in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), John Sturges in The Hallelujah Trail (1965) and Henry Hathaway in Nevada Smith (1966).

Landau was named best supporting actor for his portrayal in "Ed Wood" of the fading, morphine-addicted Hungarian horrormeister Lugosi, star of "Dracula".

His director, Howard Weiner, told WENN, "Martin asked a lot of questions and wanted to know if he was going to have to take off his shirt, which he doesn't, but he's an incredible actor and I established trust with him and he was game".

One of those is, of course, Mission: Impossible.

The Last Poker Game was released in April (17), and Landau has two other movies still in production - Without Ward and Nate and Al. They divorced in 1993. Surviving Landau are his daughters, Susan Landau Finch and Juliet Rose Landau, both of whom are from his marriage to Bain, and both of whom followed their father into film and television. RIP." There were also early tributes from his Entourage movie co-star Jerry Ferrara, who wrote: "Hes (sic) the definition of what a great actor is. The film starred Cary Grant as a NY adman accidentally ensnared in an global spy ring. The one show he did not star in, though, was Star Trek.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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