Distinguished actor Martin Landau, 89, died Sunday. He was successful both on television (Mission: Impossible) and in films. He won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi in the 1993 film Ed Wood.
Landau was active for many years in the entertainment field. He had a long marriage to actress Barbara Bain, and he co-starred with her in the 1960s television program Mission: Impossible. They later divorced.
Landau was born June 20, 1928, in Brooklyn, New York. After high school, he worked as an editorial cartoonist for the New York Daily News. He left at 22 to pursue an acting career.
He studied alongside Steve McQueen at the Actors Studio in 1955. Two years later, he debuted on Broadway in “Middle of the Night.”
His first major film role was in 1959’s “North by Northwest,” the Alfred Hitchcock film, playing the assistant to a criminal played by the actor James Mason.
The film actor became one of the most famous stars on television when he was cast as Rollin Hand on “Mission: Impossible.” The character used incredibly lifelike masks to impersonate dictators, strong men, and other villains that the Impossible Missions Force sought to bring down. After “Mission: Impossible,” Landau starred on the short-lived TV science fiction series “Space: 1999.”
Space: 1999 has a cult following today.
The cause of death was a heart attack.