Ed Wood Oscar victor Martin Landau dies at 89

Martin Landau

There’s some terrible news that is coming out tonight about a true legend in Martin Landau — the actor is dead at the age of 89

There's some awful news that is coming out tonight about a true legend in Martin Landau - the actor is dead at the age of 89.

The actor passed away on Saturday (July 15) in Los Angeles following "unexpected complications" after a hospital visit.

The actor's publicist, Dick Guttman said: "We are overcome with sadness".

Landau appeared in cult Alfred Hitchcock movie North by Northwest - his first film role in 1959, Cleopatra, The Greatest Story Ever Told, and Nevada Smith, but he made his name on TV in the series Mission: Impossible and Space: 1999.

Landau's most dazzling performance was as Bela Lugosi in the Tim Burton-directed pic Ed Wood, the role that landed him an Oscar win.

Landau was so good he could make you forget he looked nothing at all like the round-faced Lugosi; if anything the actor's height and gaunt features made him a dead ringer for Lugosi's rival, Boris Karloff.

In 1955 Landau and Steve McQueen were named the only two new students to the Actors Studio after an audition for Lee Strasberg.

Landau gained fame on the 1960's TV show "Mission: Impossible".

He then starred for three years in the hit series, "Mission Impossible", leaving in 1969 because of a contract dispute, according to the Hollywood Reporter. He also had prominent roles in the first X-Files movie (as a paranoid scientist), Rounders (as a poker-playing law professor), and The Majestic (as a bereaved gold-star father who mistakes amnesiac Jim Carrey for his long-lost son).

He and Bain divorced, and Landau spent the 1980s in roles in mostly obscure films.

At age 17, the Brooklyn-born actor got his first job as a newspaper cartoonist at the New York Daily News. He received another best supporting actor Oscar nomination for Woody Allen's 1989 morality fable "Crimes and Misdemeanors" in which he played murderous ophthalmologist Judah Rosenthal.

After all, Landau's roller-coaster career included credits like The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island. Accolades continued to roll in during the decade of the 2000s, with Primetime Emmy nominations for guest spots in Without a Trace and Entourage. He is also survived by Bain, with whom he was married until 1993.

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