Martin Landau, Star of “Space: 1999” and “Ed Wood,” Dead at 89.

Academy Award winning actor Martin Landau passed away July 15, 2017, at UCLA Medical Center.  Landau, an actor, director, and acting teacher won the Academy Award, the Screen Actors Guild Award, the Golden Globe Award, and Saturn Award, as well as being nominated for several Emmies.

Martin Landau as Koenig {image via ITC}

Landau began his theatrical career in 1950.  He made his television debut in 1953 on The Goldbergs.  By 1957 he was appearing on Broadway.  He had his first movie role in 1959 in the war film Pork Chop Hill.  His early career was a series of guest roles on various TV shows, primarily westerns.  He also appeared twice on Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, and once on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.  His big break in television was playing master of disguise Rollin Hand on Mission: Impossible, a role for which he garnered three Emmy nominations.  Ironically, he was offered and turned down the role of Spock on Star Trek.  When he left Mission: Impossible over a contract dispute, Leonard Nimoy was hired to play Paris, who replaced Hand as the team’s master of disguise.  His next major television role was as Commander John Koenig on Space: 1999.

Martin Landau as Abe Karatz {image via Paramount Pictures}

Martin Landau appeared in a series of movies and TV guest roles, including The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Isle, but his career was on hiatus until he co-starred as Abe Karatz in Tucker: The Man and his Dream in 1988.  He was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting actor.  The following year he received another Oscar nomination, this time for Dr. Rosenthal for Crimes and Misdemeanors.  In 1994, he finally won his Oscar, playing Hollywood great Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood.

Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi {image via Touchstone Pictures}

In addition to Space: 1999, Martin Landau played Geppetto, voiced Spiderman’s arch-villain Scorpion, played a science teacher in Frankenweenie, played Sul in City of Ember, starred in The Being, and appeared in The X-Files and Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow.  In addition to guest starring in the original Twilight Zone, he also appeared in the rebooted version of the show. He also played Jack Malone’s father Frank in Without a Trace, President Woodrow Wilson in the mini-series 1914-1918, and Bob Ryan on HBO’s Entourage.

Martin Landau was born June 20, 1928, in New York City.  He was involved in the Actors Studio most of his adult life.  He met his wife, Barbara Bain, through the Actors Studio.  At the time of his death he was creative director of the Actors Studio West in Los Angeles.  He married Bain in 1957; they divorced in 1993.  Landau is survived by his daughters writer/producer Susan Finch and actress/dancer Juliet Landau (Drusilla on Buffy the Vampire Slayer), his sons-in-law Roy Finch and Deverill Weekes, granddaughter Aria, and his sister Elinor.  He died Saturday, July 15, 2017, of natural causes.

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About Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book R is for Renaissance Faire, as well as short stories in Alternative Truths,  Swords and Sorceress #30, Supernatural Colorado, Barbarian Crowns, and Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid. Her articles have appeared on Krypton Radio’s website, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.

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