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Jul 16 2017
Martin Landau, Oscar-Winning Actor & TV Icon, Dies @ 89 Comments (0)

MissionLandauMartin Landau: June 20, 1928—July 15, 2017 (Image via CBS)

Martin Landau, the versatile actor who won the Oscar playing Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton's Ed Wood (1994), has died at 89 following a short hospital stay.

His rep confirmed the death, stating he had died Saturday at UCLA Medical Center following unexpected complications related to the stay.

Landau, a longtime Actors Studio member and artistic director of Actors Studio West 0913 at the time of his death, made his first big impression as Leonard, an evil henchman in Hitchcock's classic North by Northwest (1959). In 2012, he told The Telegraph he played the character as gay:

I chose to play Leonard as a gay character. It was quite a big risk in cinema at the time. My logic was simply that he wanted to get rid of Eva Marie Saint with such a vengeance, so it made sense for him to be in love with his boss, Vandamm, played by James Mason. Every one of my friends thought I was crazy, but Hitchcock liked it. A good director makes a playground and allows you to play.

He also appeared in the epic films Cleopatra (1963) and The Greatest Story Ed-wood-martin-landau-as-bela-lugosi Ever Told (1965), though his true renaissance as a film actor was in the '80s and '90s, with comeback films Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988), Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) and Ed Wood, all three of which landed him Oscar nods, the last of which won him the gold.

Meeting Martin Landau in 2011 — Click Here

On TV, Landau achieved icon status as the star of Mission: Impossible for three seasons (1966-1969), for which he won the Golden Globe and was Emmy-nominated. His turn on Space: 1999 (1975-1977) helped make the British series a cult hit. Later, he received Emmy nominations for his work on Without a Trace (2004, 2005) and Entourage (2007).

Great actor, and a very nice man on the autograph circuit.

He is survived by two daughters, a grandchild and a sister. The statement announcing his death listed his ex-wife, Barbara Bain, as one of his survivors — they were married for nearly 40 years and remained friendly after their split.