Martin Landau, the Oscar-profitable veteran who appeared in basic movies reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s “North By Northwest” and starred within the “Mission: Unimaginable” tv collection within the Nineteen Sixties, has died. He was 89.
Landau died Saturday at UCLA Medical Middle, the place he skilled “sudden problems” throughout a brief hospitalization, his publicist confirmed.
“We’re overcome with unhappiness to report the dying of iconic actor Martin Landau,” a press release stated.
He gained his Academy Award for his portrayal of washed-up Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton’s “Ed Wooden.”
All through his prolific profession, the tall, lean actor remained passionate about his craft, which noticed him inhabit roles that included a grasp spy, an area commander, former Hollywood heavyweights, the prophet Abraham and a wheelchair-sure Holocaust survivor. Landau’s dedication was obvious throughout his tenure as co-inventive director for Actors Studio West with Oscar-nominated director Mark Rydell. He just lately starred within the CBS police procedural “And not using a Hint,” enjoying Jack’s father with Alzheimer’s illness, and HBO’s “Entourage,” enjoying bumbling movie producer Bob Ryan.
Born in Brooklyn in 1928, Landau started his profession as a newspaperman at age 17, working for 5 years on the New York Every day Information as a employees cartoonist and illustrator whereas learning on the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. After 5 years on the Information, Landau instantly give up to attempt his hand at appearing.
“I informed the image editor I used to be going into the theater. I feel he thought I used to be going to be an usher,” he stated in a 1989 interview with The Occasions.
Landau had few job prospects and lived on $5 every week from his financial savings as he made the rounds. He was employed for a summer time inventory firm on an island off Portland, Me., did 12 exhibits — together with musicals — in thirteen weeks, and had a swell time.
Whereas dwelling in New York within the Nineteen Fifties, he frolicked with pal James Dean and competed for roles with the likes of Sydney Pollack and John Cassavetes.
“I might meet them in workplaces and ready rooms earlier than readings,” he informed The Occasions.
Shifting to theater, Landau auditioned with 2,000 different actors for Lee Strasberg’s prestigious Actors Studio in 1955. Solely he and a younger Steve McQueen have been accepted.
“Steve and I received in the identical night time,” Landau stated in a 2016 interview with The Occasions. “Lee Strasberg was mild with Steve as a result of he was tough with Jimmy [Dean]. Jimmy stopped working on the studio. He did not need that to occur to Steve.”
That wasn’t the case for Landau. Strasberg berated him for an hour in entrance of famed studio members Kim Stanley, Geraldine Web page, Marilyn Monroe and Patricia Neal relating to appearing decisions he had made in a current TV manufacturing.
“Retrospectively, it was good for me,” Landau stated, as a result of Strasberg taught him that a “sure actor’s vanity is required. Play the reality. Actors have to belief themselves. For those who belief your self, you’ll be able to belief others and depart the director outdoors.”
He made his movie debut in “Pork Chop Hill” (1959), however few can overlook his breakout position as Leonard, the villainous henchman stalking Cary Grant in Hitchcock’s basic thriller “North by Northwest” (1959).
“I had tea with Mr. Hitchcock one afternoon and requested him how he might have forged me in that half, as a result of what I used to be enjoying in [the play] ‘Center of the Night time’ was so totally different,” Landau recalled. “‘My pricey Mah-tin,’” he stated, impersonating the legendary filmmaker, “‘you could have a circus happening inside you. If you are able to do that half within the play, you are able to do this little trinket of mine.’”
However Landau turned wildly widespread for his position as Rollin Hand, the “Man of a Million Faces” sleuth on the Nineteen Sixties hit collection “Mission: Unimaginable,” with then-spouse Barbara Bain. The actor was not meant to be a daily on the present however turned so in style that he went on to obtain Emmy nominations for every of the three seasons during which he appeared, and in 1968 gained a Golden Globe for male TV star. He give up the present in a contract dispute and went on to costar with Bain in Britain’s brief-lived sci-fi drama “Area: 1999.” The couple had two daughters collectively — actress and ballerina Juliet Landau and producer Susan Landau — earlier than they divorced in 1993.
Although the small display offered the type of the indelible success some actors dream about, Landau stated “it was a nightmare too.”
“If a present is successful, it is the kiss of dying so far as doing anything is worried,” he stated.
Within the early “golden years” of tv, Landau advised The Occasions in 1992, “nobody knew who was in cost but. There weren’t that many units and advert businesses didn’t butt in.” As time glided by, nevertheless, tv misplaced its potential to be unique, he stated. “It copycats itself a lot. The sense of journey and danger-taking is far much less.”
“I might labored for the giants firstly — George Stevens, Hitchcock,” Landau stated. “After which all of it stopped as a result of I used to be a tv actor.”
He spent a yr engaged on Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s 1963 epic “Cleopatra,” enjoying the loyal proper-hand man to Julius Caesar (Rex Harrison) and Marc Antony (Richard Burton). When the movie marked its fiftieth anniversary in 2013, Landau recalled the monumentally mediocre film’s different headlining scandal: Elizabeth Taylor’s adulterous affair with Burton.
On a day that solely he and Burton have been scheduled to work, Landau was shocked to see Taylor when he confirmed as much as have his make-up utilized.
“I’m sitting there wanting within the mirror and Burton is available in in a half-tunic, goes to Elizabeth and kisses her on the brow after which says ‘good morning’ to me. I stated to myself, ‘Oh, my God.’ That they had not gone to their respective houses that night time. Round eleven a.m., [Taylor’s husband] Eddie Fisher exhibits up,” Landau stated. Thirty minutes later, Burton’s spouse, Sybil Burton, arrived: “They got here to see what occurred to their spouses. Mankiewicz and I have been rolling our eyeballs a bit of bit.”
TV curse apart, Landau went on to play quite a few roles in movie, together with the wheeler-supplier Abe Karatz in Francis Ford Coppola’s “Tucker: The Man and His Dream” (1988), for which he was nominated for an Oscar and gained a Golden Globe for supporting actor. On “Tucker,” he put his previous illustrating expertise to work, drawing a sketch for make-up man Richard Dean of how he thought Abe should look. Dean and Coppola agreed.
The subsequent yr, he was lauded for his position because the philandering Judah Rosenthal, the physician who has his mistress murdered and will get away with it, in Woody Allen’s “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (1989). He was nominated for his second consecutive supporting actor Oscar.
“In any age vary, there are some limitations when it comes to good, good elements,” Landau stated in 1992. After the Oscar nods, the “good, good elements” for actors of their late 50s and early 60s got here his method. Nevertheless, lots of his paychecks got here from low cost, direct-to-video films and abroad tv. Which, coincidentally, was one of many explanation why director Tim Burton needed him to play morphine-addicted “Dracula” star Lugosi in 1994’s “Ed Wooden,” starring Johnny Depp because the memorably inept, low-price range filmmaker Edward D. Wooden Jr. (Landau’s daughter Juliet additionally appeared within the movie.)
“It’s bizarre,” Landau advised The Occasions about Lugosi in 1994. “Tim referred to as me out of the blue. He stated, ‘You’ve labored with everyone, you’ve executed excellent films with main administrators, you’ve completed cheesy, rotten films with terrible administrators. You might have a presence and there are a number of issues that coincide [with Bela].’ That’s how he got here to me. I used to be shocked. He stated, ‘You popped into my head and I couldn’t get you out.’”
The sixty three-yr-previous Landau performed the ageing Nineteen Thirties star as a colourful, feisty previous man crippled by a profound unhappiness.Denise Di Novi, who produced the movie with Burton, stated she realized how good Landau’s efficiency was going to be “within the first display check, the make-up check. He gave a glance to the digital camera, stated a line of dialogue, and I used to be ecstatic. It gave me shivers. From that first make-up check, he was Bela. He discovered a distinct segment that made him sympathetic, complicated, humorous, tragic — he introduced it so many colours.”
Even though Bela Lugosi Jr. decried the movie’s portrayal of his father, Landau stated: “I don’t ridicule him. If something, it’s virtually a love letter to him. I by no means talked to his son, and from what I hear, he didn’t approve of a few of the language. However that’s not the purpose. I don’t assume I demean him in any respect. I salute him.”
For the position, Landau lastly gained the supporting actor Oscar and his third Golden Globe Award. Throughout his Oscar speech, he hit the rostrum and shouted “No!” when the orchestra tried to truncate his speech. He additionally acquired prime honors from the New York Movie Critics Circle and the Nationwide Society of Movie Critics for his efficiency.
He adopted up his Oscar win enjoying woodcarver Geppetto in 1996’s “The Adventures of Pinocchio,” which landed a sequel in 1999. He additionally voiced Woodrow Wilson within the mini-collection “1914-1918,” Scorpion within the animated “Spider-Man,” and #2 within the animated “9.” He reunited with Burton in 2012 to voice science instructor Mr. Rzykruski in “Frankenweenie.”
In 1998, he starred in “Rounders,” enjoying poker hustler Matt Damon’s professor-mentor, mirroring his actual-life position with younger movie expertise: “Ed Wooden” additionally laid the inspiration for his friendships with Depp and Burton.
In 2000, Landau, who’s of Jewish descent, performed Abraham, father of the Israelites, in “Within the Starting,” which chronicled the biblical books of Genesis and Exodus. Jacqueline Bisset performed his spouse, Sarah.
“I am going to inform you one thing fascinating: I have never been directed by anyone in in all probability 30 or 35 years, whether or not it’s Francis Ford Coppola or Tim Burton,” Landau stated in 2016. “I are available with stuff, and I’ve concepts. I feel if they do not like what I am doing, they will say one thing. They do not say something. So I hit the mark, say the phrases and get the hell out of there.”t.”
After a couple of TV films, he took on meatier small display roles within the shortly canceled “The Proof.” In “With no Hint” he performed Frank Malone, Jack’s (Anthony LaPaglia) Alzheimer’s-riddled father from 2004 to 2009. He additionally discovered a brand new viewers enjoying the memorably out of contact producer Bob Ryan, a parody of legendary “Chinatown” and “Godfather” producer Robert Evans, in HBO’s “Entourage” collection and subsequent movie.
In 2008, he produced and costarred with fellow Oscar winner Ellen Burstyn within the December-December romance “Pretty, Nonetheless.” He did a brief stint as on ABC’s 2011 collection “Have a Little Religion” enjoying a beloved rabbi to author Mitch Albom. In 2015, he costarred with Christopher Plummer within the thriller “Keep in mind,” enjoying an Auschwitz survivor out to take down the person liable for killing his household.
Landau acquired his star on the Hollywood Stroll of Fame and was honored with the Israel Movie Pageant’s Profession Achievement Award in 2013.
As inventive director Actors Studio West, his college students have included Jack Nicholson and Oliver Stone.
“I take the Friday session each week,” he stated. “The individuals whom I train are academics. What I’m actually doing is igniting one thing that is going to remain.”
Landau is survived by daughters Juliet Landau and Susan Landau Finch.
Occasions employees author Tre’vell Anderson contributed to this report.