Os­car-win­ning ac­tor Martin Lan­dau dies at 89

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

Vet­eran ac­tor Martin Lan­dau, whose ver­sa­tile screen ca­reer stretched from the 1960s TV se­ries "Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble" to his Os­car­win­ning turn as Bela Lu­gosi in "Ed Wood," has died at 89, his pub­li­cist said Sun­day. Brook­lyn­born Lan­dau died Satur­day of un­ex­pected com­pli­ca­tions dur­ing a hospi­tal stay in Los An­ge­les, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment is­sued by pub­li­cist Dick Guttman. "We are over­come with sad­ness to re­port the death of iconic ac­tor Martin Lan­dau," said the state­ment. "He had just cel­e­brated his 89th birth­day."

Screen­writer Joss Whe­don said Lan­dau's turn as phi­lan­der­ing eye doc­tor and brother of Jerry Or­bach in Woody Allen's 1989 "Crimes and Mis­de­meanors" was "per­fect." "RIP Martin Lan­dau," he added on Twit­ter. Lan­dau got his start on Broad­way in the 1950s, be­fore a 1959 film de­but in Al­fred Hitch­cock's clas­sic thriller "North by North­west." "I had tea with Mr Hitch­cock one af­ter­noon and asked him how he could have cast me in that part, be­cause what I was play­ing in (the play) 'Mid­dle of the Night' was so dif­fer­ent," Lan­dau told the Los An­ge­les Times last year.

"'My dear Mah-tin,'" Lan­dau said in im­per­son­at­ing the Bri­tish film­maker, "'you have a cir­cus go­ing on in­side you. If you can do that part in the play, you can do this lit­tle trin­ket of mine.'" Lan­dau's film roles ranged from the grand to the quirky, from "Cleopa­tra," to "The Great­est Story Ever Told" and "Ne­vada Smith." That was be­fore he met with mas­sive suc­cess play­ing the master of dis­guise Rollin Hand in the "Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble" TV se­ries-in which his wife Bar­bara Bain also starred. He was nom­i­nated for three Em­mys and a Golden Globe in 1968. Lan­dau also starred along­side Bain in the 1970s in the Bri­tish science fic­tion se­ries "Space: 1999." The cou­ple had two daugh­ters to­gether-ac­tress and bal­le­rina Juliet Lan­dau and pro­ducer-di­rec­tor Su­san Lan­dau Finch-be­fore di­vorc­ing in 1993.

Lean years, then come­back

He made a strong screen come­back the fol­low­ing decade, star­ring in Fran­cis Ford Cop­pola's 1988 "Tucker: The Man and His Dream," and "Crimes and Mis­de­meanors" the fol­low­ing year. He earned Os­car nom­i­na­tions for both. But it was not un­til 1994 that he scooped up the Best Sup­port­ing Os­car play­ing de­clin­ing hor­ror film star Lu­gosi in his poor, el­der years as a mor­phine ad­dict in Tim Bur­ton's "Ed Wood." He also scooped up a slew of other awards for the role.

"It's weird," Lan­dau re­called about the role in a 1994 in­ter­view with the Times. "Tim called me out of the blue. He said, 'You've worked with ev­ery­body, you've done very good movies with ma­jor direc­tors, you've done tacky, rot­ten movies with aw­ful direc­tors. You have a pres­ence and there are a lot of things that co­in­cide (with Bela).' "That's how he came to me. I was shocked. He said, 'You popped into my head and I couldn't get you out.'" In re­cent years, Lan­dau starred on tele­vi­sion hits "En­tourage" and "Without a Trace."

His lead­ing role with Paul Sorvino in the up­com­ing "The Last Poker Game pre­miered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Fes­ti­val. "It is be­ing hailed as a ma­jor com­edy-drama re­lat­ing to the chal­lenges and com­plex­i­ties of old age but em­pha­siz­ing that life must be lived fully at any age," his pub­li­cist said. Lan­dau, who had a star on the Hol­ly­wood Walk of Fame and was of Jewish her­itage, got the Is­rael Film Fes­ti­val's Ca­reer Achieve­ment Award in 2013. — AFP

This file photo shows US ac­tor Martin Lan­dau kiss­ing the Os­car he re­ceived for Best Sup­port­ing Role at the 67th an­nual Acad­emy Awards in Los An­ge­les.

— AFP photos

This file photo shows ac­tor Martin Lan­dau at­tend­ing a cer­e­mony for di­rec­tor Tim Bur­ton to place his hand­prints and foot­prints in the ce­ment of the fore­court of the TCL Chi­nese The­atre in the Hol­ly­wood, Cal­i­for­nia.

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