Martin Landau, star of “Ed Wood,” “North by Northwest” and the ’60s TV series “Mission: Impossible,” died Saturday in Los Angeles. He was 89.
“We are overcome with sadness to report the death of iconic actor Martin Landau on July 15th, 2017 at 1:30pm at UCLA Medical Center, where he succumbed to unexpected complications during a short hospitalization,” his publicist confirmed.
Landau won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work as the film legend Bela Lugosi in the Tim Burton-directed, Johnny Depp-starring biopic “Ed Wood” and also received nomination for Woody Allen’s “Crimes and Misdemeanors” and Francis Ford Coppola’s “Tucker: The Man and His Dream.”
Before Landau was bit by the acting bug, he was a young cartoonist for The New York Daily News, where he spent nearly five years as an editorial artist. But by the time he hit 22, he decided that a life in theater is where he wanted to be.
It was “Mission: Impossible”, premiering in September of 1966, that made Landau a star (his then-wife, Barbara Bain, also co-starred with him).
Landau’s and Bain’s time with “Mission” ended in 1969 when theyboth walked-off in a contract dispute.
In 1975, the couple returned to weekly TV in “Space: 1999”, where Landau played Moonbase Alpha Commander John Koenig and Bain played Dr. Helena Russell, Moonbase Alpha’s medical director and the Koenig character’s love interest. The show lasted two seasons, ending in 1977 after disappointing ratings.
Landau and Bain got divorced in 1993; Landau never remarried; Bain hasn’t remarried either.