Oscar-winning actor Martin Landau, best known for scene-stealing characters including in “North by Northwest,” “Crimes and Misdemeanors” and “Ed Wood” as well as the classic TV series “Mission: Impossible,” died Saturday in Los Angeles, according to his publicist. He had been hospitalized at UCLA where he experienced complications. He was 89.
He was Emmy-nominated five times, and most of his leading roles came on television, probably the best as Rollin Hand, a master of disguise on “Mission: Impossible.”
Landau made his first bigscreen impression in Alfred Hitchcock’s action suspenser “North by Northwest,” playing the villain who does Mason’s dirty work.
Martin had been doing television work since the 1950s, but rose to television stardom in the mid-’60s, with several guest appearances on sci-fier “The Outer Limits” and spy skein “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” He spent a couple of years starring in syndicated sci-fi series “Space: 1999,” on which, as with “Mission: Impossible,” he co-starred with then-wife Barbara Bain.
INTERESTING FACT: He was producer Gene Roddenberry’s first choice for the role of Spock on “Star Trek,” but the role wound up going to Leonard Nimoy after Landau opted for “Mission: Impossible.” (Nimoy would later take a recurring role on “Mission: Impossible.”)
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