Ver­sa­tile ac­tor Martin Lan­dau dies

The Witness - - NEWS -

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.

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