Versatile actor Martin Landau dies
MARTIN Landau, a talented and prolific character actor who achieved TV stardom in Mission: Impossible and won an Oscar for his portrayal of a washedup Bela Lugosi in the sweetly bizarre 1994 film Ed Wood, has died at age 89.
Landau died at UCLA Medical Centre in Los Angeles on Saturday from unexpected complications during a short hospitalisation for an undisclosed illness, publicist Dick Guttman said in a statement on Sunday.
His long career had remarkable ups and downs. He delivered acclaimed performances in movies by top directors including Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen and Tim Burton, was nominated three times for Oscars, and costarred in the spy series Mission:
Impossible in the 1960s alongside thenwife Barbara Bain.
But during career doldrums, the New Yorkborn Landau languished in thirdrate projects such as the laughable 1981 TV movie The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island and the dispensable 1983 mutant monster movie The Being.
“You know, I’ve always felt, pound for pound, I’m one of the best guys around; but you get stuck in people’s eyes in a certain way, and it takes an imaginative director who will look at you and realise you can play different kinds of parts because you are an actor,” Landau told the New York Times in 1988. “I don’t like to sound immodest but I believe in what I can do.”
Landau was named best supporting actor for his portrayal in Ed Wood of the fading, morphineaddicted Hungarian horrormeister Lugosi, star of Dracula. He was married to Bain from 1957 until their divorce in 1993.
Martin Landau in 2009.