Oscar-winning actor Martin Landau dies at 89

Posted July 17, 2017

The statement read, "We are overcome with sadness to report the death of iconic actor Martin Landau on July 15, 2017, at 1:30 p.m.at UCLA Medical Center, where he succumbed to unexpected complications during a short hospitalization".

Alfred Hitchcock saw the play and gave Landau his big break in movies, casting him in the 1959 classic North by Northwest. Landau would go on to receive a best supporting actor nomination for his performance.

Landau was so good he could make you forget he looked nothing at all like the round-faced Lugosi; if anything the actor's height and gaunt features made him a dead ringer for Lugosi's rival, Boris Karloff.

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

Since then, Landau had worked steadily in film, including starring opposite Paul Sorvino in "The Last Poker Game", which premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival in NY. He then became a household name with his starring role in "Mission: Impossible", but left the show after three seasons in a dispute over pay.

". I played more things, had more fun and", he told journalist Tim Teeman. More recently, the actor had recurring roles on TV shows like Entourage and Without a Trace.

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Born on June 20, 1928 in Brooklyn, Landau first worked as a cartoonist for the New York Daily News but later turned down a promotion and then quit in his mid-20s to pursue acting. In 1955, he auditioned for Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio, one of only two applicants our of over 2,000 to win acceptance that year alongside Steve McQueen.

Landau's career spanned the decades. The Academy recognized his layered performance with a nomination, as did Woody Allen, who quickly cast him in another Oscar-nominated role, as an amoral ophthalmologist in 1989's Crimes and Misdemeanors.

A con artist at times, or a pickpocket, thug or other lowlife, Landau's Hand, the possessor of sleight of hand and various accents, also impersonated a bookseller, doctor, photographer or public prosecutor.

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Landau also portrayed a space commander John Koenig in the 1970s TV series, "Space 1999", in which Landau again played opposite his "Mission Impossible" co-star and former wife, Barbara Bain.