The acting world has lost a true legend, with the passing of Martin Landau due to unexpected complications following a short hospital stay.
Equally at home on television and at the movies, everybody likely has a different favourite memory of the mercurial actor.
First appearing in bit parts on TV in 1957, in just nine years Landau was starring as Rollin Hand in the smash series Mission: Impossible, for which he was awarded a Golden Globe for Best Actor.
Landau’s next big series was Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson’s ace live action sci-fi hit Space: 1999, as Moonbase Alpha’s Commander John Koenig.
Innumerable TV guest spots followed, from the likes of The Twilight Zone, Without a Trace and Murder, She Wrote up to such hits as Entourage, In Plain Sight and voicing The Great Raymondo on The Simpsons.
As for movies, where do we start? Arguably Alfred Hitchcock’s greatest work, North By Northwest, is a good place. Landau scaled great heights (literally) as ultra-creepy bad guy Leonard, in an incredibly memorable performance.
Epics such as Cleopatra and The Greatest Story Ever Told were soon a calling for Landau, as were westerns. However, his versatility also lent itself to most any genre, including horror and high drama.
1988’s Tucker: The Man and His Dream saw Landau nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, and winning the category at the Golden Globes. Similar nominations followed for his role of Judah Rosenthal in Woody Allen’s 1989 dramedy Crimes and Misdemeanors.
However, the film that many most fondly remember Landau for is 1994’s slice of Tim Burton brilliance, Ed Wood. The tale of the titular so-bad-he-was-kind-of-good director saw Landau become classic horror star Bela Lugosi, in a moving performance that won him the Best Supporting Actor Oscar and Golden Globe, amongst a bag of other awards.
From The X Files movie to Rounders, EDtv and Sleepy Hollow to City of Ember, the Entourage movie and Burton’s Frankenweenie, Landau was active in the industry up until his death. He leaves a grand TV and film legacy that has truly touched all age groups, and will continue to in the future.
Vale Martin Landau.