Martin Landau, Mission: Impossible and Ed Wood Star, Dead at 89

Oscar winner Martin Landau died Saturday of “unexpected complications” following a brief stay at UCLA Medical Center, per The Hollywood Reporter. He was 89.

Landau got his big break when he was cast in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 film North by Northwest. In 1966, he began his star-making role as master of disguise Rollin Hand in the small screen Mission: Impossible, for which he earned the Golden Globe award as well as several Emmy nominations. In the series, Landau starred alongside then-wife Barbara Bain. It would mark the first of two small-screen collaborations for the couple, who later co-starred in the 1970s science-fiction program Space: 1999.

After quitting Mission: Impossible in 1969, Landau was replaced by Star Trek‘s Leonard Nimoy. Coincidentally, Landau was widely reported to have been Gene Roddenberry’s first choice to play Spock, a role that eventually went on to define Nimoy’s career.

In 1988, Landau received the Golden Globe (and an Academy Award nomination) for Best Supporting Actor in the film Tucker: The Man and His Dream. He would eventually earn an Oscar in 1995 for his role as Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood.

In addition to Mission Impossible, his TV credits included The Simpsons, Entourage, Without a Trace and Columbo.

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12 Comments
  1. Timothy says:

    An incredible actor leaves us. He was fantastic

  2. Angelfan says:

    So sad, first fell for his talent as a child watching Mission Impossible repeats. Never disappointed by a performance. Sincere condolences to his family and friends.

  3. Gena says:

    Aw. Loved him in ‘Ed Wood’ (my favorite movie) and ‘Crimes & Misdemeanors’… RIP Martin. :'(

  4. Andrew says:

    Hello Space 1999!

  5. Seriously says:

    Could you have used a worse photo of him?

  6. spdavid says:

    Great actor,all I’ve ever heard was he was a good man.Left us with incredible work.First knew him as Rollin Hand on Mission Impossible.Rest in Peace.You lived a good long life and left us a legacy.

  7. Joey Padron says:

    Sad to hear of his passing. He was a great actor. RIP.

  8. NRQ says:

    RIP Martin. You were one of the best on screen, small and large.