Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

Actor Martin Landau is no longer

Actor Martin Landau is no longer

Oscar victor Martin Landau has died, aged 89.

Yesterday Landau died at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles from unexpected complications during a short hospitalization for an undisclosed illness, publicist Dick Guttman said in a statement.

Born on June 28, 1928, in Brooklyn, New York Landau worked as a cartoonist at New York Daily News before becoming an actor in the 1950s. His students included such future acting greats as Jack Nicholson, Anjelica Huston, Harry Dean Stanton, and Shirley Knight, as well as filmmakers Oliver Stone and Robert Towne.

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"When I was growing up, every impressionist did bad Bela Lugosi imitations - "I want to drink your blood" - and I realized this was a field with tiger traps throughout", Landau told critic Roger Ebert, "and I had to walk carefully". It's insane if you think about it. "I will miss his work".

He had dabbled in acting before the switch, making his stage debut in 1951 at a ME summer theater in "Detective Story" and off-Broadway in "First Love".

Landau rose to fame after playing a homosexual henchmen in Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 North by Northwest.

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In 1989, Landau gained notoriety when he was nominated for both a Golden Globe and an Oscar for his role in the Francis Ford Coppola's Tucker: The Man and His Dream. Landau starred alongside Jeff Bridges, who played his character's business partner, Preston Tucker.

After quitting Mission: Impossible in 1969, Landau was replaced by Star Trek's Leonard Nimoy. "Every one of my friends thought I was insane, but Hitchcock liked it". "It would've been torturous", Landau revealed in 2011 (via THR). "Subliminally, I had always wanted to act". "Who wants to do that?" THR notes that Landau found a "kindred spirit" in Burton, who would later cast him in Sleepy Hollow and Frankenweenie. He co-starred in Lifetime's biopic Anna Nicole (2013), playing Anna Nicole Smith's octogenarian oil-tycoon husband, J. Howard Marshall. A documentary entitled An Actor's Actor: The Life of Martin Landau is now in the works.

He is survived by his daughters Susie Landau Finch and Juliet Landau, and a granddaughter.

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However, Landau struggled to make headway in 60s Hollywood, securing down-the-bill roles in epics such as Cleopatra and The Greatest Story Ever Told.

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