Martin Landau

Television and Film Actor

The award-winning American film and television actor and acting coach is best known for his roles in the TV series, ‘Mission Impossible’ and film, ‘Ed Wood.’

The Oscar-winning actor, producer, and editorial cartoonist, Martin Landau appeared in more than 200 films and TV shows including, The X-Files, Cleopatra and Mission: Impossible

Landau’s career began in the 1950s in Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘North by Northwest’ and on sci-fi ‘Space: 1999.’ His performance in the supporting role of Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood (1994) earned him an Academy Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe Award. He was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Chicago International Film Festival.

After an illustrious career, Martin Landau on 15 July, 2017, aged 89, died at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, California.

Name:   Martin  Landau
Born:   20 June 1928
Star Sign: Gemini
Died:   15 July 2017
Birthplace: Brooklyn,
Country: New York (NY) United States
Morris Landau
Selma (née Buchman)
Landau married Barbara Bain in 1957 but divorced in 1993.
Susan Landau Finch and Juliet Landau

Childhood and Teens
Martin James Landau, was born on June 20, 1928, in Brooklyn, New York, USA, to Jewish parents, Morris Landau and Selma (née Buchman). Landau attended James Madison High School and the Pratt Institute. At age 17, he was hired by the New York Daily News as a staff cartoonist and illustrator.

Landau spent the next five years as an editorial cartoonist and worked alongside Gus Edson to produce the comic strip, The Gumps. At 22, Landau left to concentrate on theater acting.

Stage debut
In 1951, Landau made his stage debut in, 'Detective Story' at the Peaks Island Playhouse in Maine. He also made his off-Broadway debut in 'First Love'. In 1955, Landau was one of 2000 applicants who auditioned for Lee Strasberg's Actors Studio. Only he and Steve McQueen were accepted and were in the same class.

Through the Actors Studio, Landau honed his craft under the guidance of Lee Strasberg and Elia Kaza. It was there he became good friends with James Dean.

Actor Studio
Encouraged by Lee Strasberg, his mentor, Landau became an actor coach. His students included, Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston. He also became an executive director with the Studio, along with Mark Rydell and Sydney Pollack.

Landau acted in the television anthologies: Studio One in Hollywood (1948), The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse (1948) and Kraft Theatre (1947). In the 1950s, Landau acted in the Goodyear Playhouse, Omnibus, and Playhouse 90.

Different Roles
Landau began making a name for himself after replacing star, Franchot Tone in the 1956 production and off-Broadway revival of Anton Chekhov's 'Uncle Vanya.' In 1957, he made his Broadway debut in 'Middle of the Night.'

Two years later, Landau made his first major film appearance in Alfred Hitchcock’s 'North by Northwest' as Leonard. Later, he landed some television work. Around this time, Landau met and married actress, Barbara Bain.

Great Movies
In 1959, Landau made the leap to the big screen, appearing in the war drama, 'Pork Chop Hill' with Gregory Peck. In 1963, he starred in historic epic, 'Cleopatra' with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Two years later, he starred in the 1965, 'The Greatest Story Ever Told.' He also starred with Steve McQueen in the western, 'Nevada Smith.'

Mission Impossible
Landau had a career breakthrough with the television spy drama, 'Mission Impossible.' He played master of disguise, Rollin Hand on the popular series, which also featured his wife, Barbara Bain and Peter Graves.

He received several Emmy Award nominations and a Golden Globe Award. He continued to appear on the show, which made him a bona fide star, for three seasons. Landau and his wife both left the series in 1969.

Golden Globe
In the mid-1970s, Landau and Barbara went to England and worked together in the science-fiction TV series 'Space: 1999.' He received back-to-back Academy Award nominations, in 1988 and 1989, for his work on Francis Ford Coppola's Tucker: The Man and His Dream which he won a Golden Globe Award. In 1989, he received his second Oscar nomination for his appearance in Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Awards and Recognition
In 1994, Landau's performance in the supporting role of Bela Lugosi in 'Ed Wood' earned him an Academy Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe Award. He also provided the voice of Scorpion for two seasons of the 1990s Spider-Man television series.

After two seasons, Landau won the Academy Award, but he left owing to lacked time for the series. In 2001, Landau was honored with his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In his later years, Landau continued to work steadily in film and TV.

Final Chapter
In 2006, Landau appeared on the TV series 'The Evidence' and had recurring Emmy-nominated roles on 'Entourage' and 'Without a Trace'. In 2013, he co-starred in Lifetime’s biopic Anna Nicole, playing Anna Nicole Smith’s octogenarian oil-tycoon J. Howard Marshall.

Landau continued to perform in film and TV, and headed the Hollywood branch of the Actors Studio until his death. On 15 July, 2017, Martin Landau passed away at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, California.

Family and Marriage
Landau married actress and former co-star, Barbara Bain, on January 31, 1957. They divorced in 1993. They had two daughters: actress Juliet Rose Landau and film producer Susan Landau Finch. They also have granddaughter, Aria Isabel Landau Finch.

Landau and Bain (born Mildred Fogel) first met as students at the prestigious Actor’s Studio in New York and didn't get along initially.

Landau dated Marilyn Monroe briefly. Among his peers at the Studio were James Dean, Steve McQueen, and Marilyn Monroe.

Landau and Bain regularly collaborated on Films & Television Shows

The spy series Mission: Impossible became an instant success, elevating the star power of the couple and the rest of the cast.

Series creator Bruce Geller of Mission: Impossible wrote the roles of Agent Rollin Hand and Cinnamon Carter with Landau and Bain in mind.

Landau Had a Relationship With Actress Gretchen Becker Before His Death

It was his role as the haunting Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton's biopic, Ed Wood, that scored him the Oscar for best supporting actor in 1994.

Landau turned down the role of science officer, Mr. Spock, leading Star Trek creator Gene Rodenberry to cast his second choice, Leonard Nimoy.

Of the 2,000 actors who auditioned in 1955 for admittance into Lee Strasberg's prestigious Actors Studio, only two were selected — Landau and Steve McQueen.

Oscar-winning actor Martin Landau played sly and intelligent crooks, secret agents, businessmen, astronauts and killers in a career that lasted six decades.

"It's better to live as your own man, than as a fool in someone else's dream."

"If you don't trust yourself, you won't trust others. You make a choice and see where it goes."

"I try to never repeat a character. I always try to find something new and fresh and interesting that inspires me."

"It's OK to be wrong. You learn from your wrongs. You don't learn from being right. If you're right, you already know it. If you're wrong, it's because you don't know about it, and you made a mistake."

"Everything that has happened to me is of value to me. As painful as certain things are, and have been, and were, there's a use for those things in my life and in my work."

"You can have immediate regrets, but if you look at stuff and say, 'Things happen for a reason,' there's a fatalistic thing about it. Something will happen that will justify it in some way."

"The real good comedians, like Chaplin, would make you laugh and a second later, cry."

"Just five years before that the Russians were our allies."

"Everyone can walk and talk. Your job is to create magic."

"And the 90% they are not is what I do for a living."


Following a brief hospitalization at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, Martin Landau, the veteran character actor, died aged 89 on July 15, 2017. The cause of death was hypovolemic shock brought on by internal bleeding and heart disease. Landau was buried at the Beth David Cemetery in Elmont, New York. Landau is survived by two daughters, Susan, and Juliet.

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