'Mission: Impossible' actor Martin Landau has died, aged 89

'Mission: Impossible' actor Martin Landau has died, aged 89

Hollywood icon Martin Landau died Saturday at age 89.

Four years later, Landau landed his breakout role as a henchman in Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 classic North by Northwest, with Landau later revealing he "played the character gay", a decision that Hitchcock "loved". He earned his first Oscar nomination for Judah Rosenthal in Crimes & Misdemeanors with a Best Supporting Actor nod, an award he won in 1994 for Ed Wood.

A familiar face on TV, Landau played Rollin Hand on the hit series "Mission: Impossible" from 1966-1969, winning a Golden Globe Award and receiving Emmy nominations each season. THR notes that Landau found a "kindred spirit" in Burton, who would later cast him in Sleepy Hollow and Frankenweenie.

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The veteran of the Actors Studio, for which he was West Coast co-artistic director, had many ups and downs in his career. At age 17 he began a five-year stint working as a cartoonist for the New York Daily News, and then quit his job to enter the Actors Studio at age 22.

Martin Landau in the Mission Impossible TV series. The cast included Steven Hill and later Peter Graves as the group's boss and Barbara Bain, then Landau's wife, as the sultry team member Cinnamon Carter. "People thought I was nuts to play the character gay, which wasn't originally written that way".

His third nomination was for Ed Wood, Burton's affectionate homage to a man widely seen as the worst Hollywood filmmaker of all time.

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Martin Landau was 89 years old.

He was an Oscar victor who worked with such iconic directors as Alfred Hitchcock, Francis Ford Coppola and Woody Allen; earned three Emmy nominations for his role as a suave spy in the cult '60s series "Mission Impossible" - and even taught Method acting to a young Hollywood hopeful named Jack Nicholson.

The desperation of a talented movie star reduced to appearing in such schlock must have come easily to Landau, who'd had to make do with mid-career roles in what he called "meaningless roles in mindless movies", including The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island and monster movie The Being. (He was also nominated three times for "Mission: Impossible", although he never won an Emmy.) In 2015 he appeared in the "Entourage" movie.

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Landau is survived by daughters Susie, a writer and producer, and Juliet, an actress and dancer. A gifted mimic trained in method acting, Landau had thoroughly researched the role.

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