Legendary film and television actor Martin Landau has passed away, aged 89

Danny Woods
July 17, 2017

Landau attended James Madison High School and Pratt Institute, both in Brooklyn. But he didn't see a future in that line of work.

"When I was growing up, every impressionist did awful Bela Lugosi imitations - "I want to drink your blood" - and I realized this was a field with tiger traps throughout", Landau told critic Roger Ebert, "and I had to walk carefully".

"I think if they don't like what I'm doing, they'll say something", he told the Los Angeles Times.

After a brief but impressive Broadway career, Landau had made an auspicious film debut in the late 1950s, playing a soldier in "Pork Chop Hill" and a villain in the Alfred Hitchcock classic "North By Northwest". His character, a henchman who menaces star Cary Grant, meets his demise beneath the Mount Rushmore busts of USA presidents. But you didn't necessarily have to take the lessons to learn from him; merely watching him onscreen was a master class in how to work with whatever you're given. Instead, however, he was stuck in roles as sinister heavies.

Before being cast in "Mission: Impossible", Landau also appeared in "Cleopatra" (1963), as a loyal Roman soldier, and "The Greatest Story Ever Told" (1965), as the Jewish high priest Caiaphas.

He continued to perform in film and TV, and headed the Hollywood branch of the Actors Studio. 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.

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Patricia said in her tweet, "Working with Martin Landau on Ed Wood was a joy".

Landau had two daughters, Susan and Juliet, with Bain, whom he divorced in 1993.

Though he worked consistently, his movie career didn't kick into high gear again until he was 60.

He enjoyed a resurgence in his fame with roles in "Tucker: "The Man and His Dream", Crimes and Misdemeanors" and "Ed Wood", and had a steady career up until his death. The role of a seemingly decent, venerable man harboring a dark secret became a Landau specialty. He finally became an Academy Award victor for his role in Tim Burton's "Ed Wood" in 1994 after previously losing out to Kevin Kline and Denzel Washington. Admirers and fans are certain to miss the tall and handsome actor who passed away at the UCLA Medical Center.

Later in his career, Landau played characters on TV show Entrourage and had just shot a role in the Cory Cataldo's Without Ward. Star Trek creator Gene Rodenberry had offered him the role, but Landau turned it down.

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