Veteran actor Martin Landau dead at 89

Martin Landau, who won an Oscar for playing Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton's 1994 film Ed Wood, died Saturday at 89.

His publicists Dick Guttman and Rona Menashe confirmed his death to USA TODAY. They said in a statement that the veteran actor, who also was nominated for Academy Awards for his roles in Crimes and Misdemeanors and Tucker: The Man and His Dream, died at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, "where he succumbed to unexpected complications during a short hospitalization."

Landau was the master of disguise in his role as Rollin Hand in the TV version of Mission: Impossible, during his three seasons on the show starting in 1966.

He also gained some measure of fame among Star Trek fans for a role he didn't play, pointy-eared starship Enterprise science officer, Mr. Spock. Star Trek creator Gene Rodenberry had offered him the role, but Landau turned it down.

Landau continued working even in his later years. He attended Tribeca Film Festival in New York last spring, where his upcoming movie with Paul Sorvino, The Last Poker Game, was screened.

Among his other recent credits: Remember (2015) with Christopher Plummer; The Red Maple Leaf (2016) with Kris Kristofferson and James Caan; and Lovely, Still (2010) with Ellen Burstyn.

On Broadway, Landau won praise for his work in Middle of the Night, which starred Edward G. Robinson. He toured with the play until it reached Los Angeles, where he began his film career.

His early film roles included parts in North by Northwest (1959), Cleopatra (1963) and Pork Chop Hill (1959).

In addition to Mission: Impossible, his television credits include Without A Trace, Space: 1999 and Entourage.

He remained active in the acting community until his death and was artistic director of the Actor's Studio, a post he shared with director Mark Rydell and, previously, Sydney Pollack. 

As the news spread, celebrities paid tribute to Landau's great career on social media.

"A great talent with a kind heart; always so warm to me," fellow Oscar winner Marlee Maitlin tweeted. "I will miss you."

"The ladies always loved Martin Landau. And with good reason," actress Dana Delany wrote. "A full life."

Contributing: The Associated Press

People we've lost in 2017

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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