Actor Martin Landau (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Academy Award-Winner Martin Landau Dead at 89

Actor Martin Landau has died, according to his publicist.

The representative, Dick Guttman, says the Academy Award-winning actor died Saturday at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles following “unexpected complications”. He was 89.

Landau had appeared on film and television during a career spanning seven decades, but was best known as master of disguise Rollin Hand on the CBS-TV series “Mission: Impossible” from 1966 to 1969, and later being nominated for three Best Supporting Actor Academy Awards, winning on the third try for his work as has-been screen legend Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood in 1994.

Born into a Jewish family in New York City in 1928, Landau found work at age 17 as a cartoonist for the New York Daily News. He was later bitten by the acting bug and left the paper to concentrate on theater work, attending the Actors Studio.

He made his Broadway debut in 1957’s Middle of the Night and appeared on film for the first time in Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest in 1959. He also appeared in films throughout the 1960s such as Cleopatra and The Greatest Story Ever Told before he was cast on “Mission: Impossible”.

Landau left the show after three seasons and had a dry spell before returning to TV in the British series “Space: 1999” in the 1970s. He primarily worked in theater and as an acting teacher before his career was revived by the 1988 Francis Ford Coppola film Tucker: The Man and His Dream, for which he won a Golden Globe Award and his first Oscar nomination. The following year he would be nominated for an Oscar again for his role in Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors. He finally won Oscar gold in 1994 for his spot-on performance as the aging Bela Lugosi in the cult film Ed Wood, also winning a Golden Globe, a Saturn Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

Landau most recently appeared in the 2015 TV film adaptation of the HBO series “Entourage”. He was married for 36 years to his “Mission: Impossible” castmate Barbara Bain. They divorced in 1993 and had two children together. One of them, actress Juliet Landau, appeared with her father in Ed Wood.