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Martin Landau's Death

Martin Landau

The life and death of Martin Landau:

He had a long and varied acting career, starring in a wide range of roles in movies and on TV. And he capped it with an Oscar winning performance.

Martin Landau was born in Brooklyn, New York about a year before the Great Depression started to a Jewish family of Austrian ancestry. His father Morris Landau was a machinist who escaped from the Nazis and his mother was the former Selma Buchman.

Young Martin attended Brooklyn’s James Madison High School and studied at the Pratt Institute, and his artistic talents landed him a job as a cartoonist for the New York Daily News. That lasted for about five years when, at the age of 22, Martin quit to pursue his career as a stage actor.

He was accepted to the prestigious Actor’s Studio in 1955, along with another soon to be famous actor – Steve McQueen. (Years later McQueen shot Landau’s character in the movie “Nevada Smith”.)

Landau also became close friends with James Dean.

Martin Landau and James Dean

Martin’s stage break came on Broadway in 1957 in “Middle of the Night” and two years later hit the big-time movie screen in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 classic, “North by Northwest.”

Martin’s career got a big boost from the 1960’s TV series “Mission Impossible” as Rollin Hand, a master of disguise.

Martin Landau, Mission Impossible

He co-starred in that series with his then-wife, and mother of his two daughters, Barbara Bain.

Martin Landau and Barbara Bain

Their daughters were Susan and Juliet and they divorced in 1993.

Martin received an Academy Award nomination for his role in 1988’s “Tucker: The Man and His Dream.” And he won an Oscar in 1994, playing the role of actor Bela Lugosi in the film “Ed Wood”.

Martin had many other film and TV credits to his name.

He died at the age of 89 in Los Angeles at the UCLA Medical Center after a brief hospitalization for an undisclosed illness. His representative said he died of “unexpected complications.”