Martin Landau, Oscar-winning actor, dies aged 89

Martin Landau, Oscar Winner for 'Ed Wood,' Dies at 89

Actress Patricia Arquette paid tribute to Landau as a "talented, sweet, generous" actor.

"The ladies always loved Martin Landau".

A documentary about his life, An Actor's Actor: The Life of Martin Landau, is in the works.

He was married to his Mission: Impossible co-star Barbara Bain from 1957 until their divorce in 1993. But the series had served its objective.

Nearly two decades later, after some lean years, Landau enjoyed a career revival in feature films. Landau starred alongside Jeff Bridges, who played his character's business partner, Preston Tucker. The film brought him an Academy Award nomination.

After spending much of the Seventies and Eighties in career limbo, Francis Ford Coppola picked Landau to play Abe Karatz in 1988's Tucker: The Man and His Dream; he garnered his first Oscar nomination for the performance and the following year was up for his second gong for starring as Judah Rosenthal in Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors. He would eventually earn an Oscar in 1995 for his role as Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton's Ed Wood.

Donations may be made to Actors Studio West, Attn: Helen Sanders, 8341 DeLongpre Ave., West Hollywood, Calif. 90069. I was being offered, you know, professional bad guys in the evil business, total comic-strip stuff.

Landau continued working even in his later years. Of thousands of applicants, only he and Steve McQueen were accepted in that class at the prestigious Actors Studio in Manhattan.

What were your favorite Martin Landau roles?

"If I was an opera singer or a ballet dancer, I probably wouldn't be able to do that any longer, but being an actor playing old guys is kind of a gift", Landau told the Star, a South African publication. "I didn't have to be a waiter". He appeared on numerous series during the 1950s, including golden-age anthologies like "Playhouse 90" and many westerns, before making his feature film debut as a soldier in the Korean War film "Pork Chop Hill" (1959). Later, in a production of Middle Of The Night opposite Edward G. Robinson, Landau drew the eye Alfred Hitchcock, who was so impressed with Landau's performance that he cast him in a pivotal role in North By Northwest. It was, he reminded one journalist, the first time this "Jewish kid from Brooklyn" took a role that called for him to play Jewish. But so what? I'm not gay.

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