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Martin Landau 20th June 1928 – 17th July 2017

ML Mission Impossible TV LogoML Space 1999 title.jpgML Entourage TV title.jpgML Without a Trace.jpgML North by Northwest

ML Cleopatra.jpgML The Hallelujah Trail.jpgML The Greatest Story Ever Told.jpgML Nevada Smith.jpgML They Call Me Mister Tibbs.jpgML Meteor.jpgML Tucker.jpgML Crimes and Misdemeanors.jpgML Sliver.jpgML Intersection.jpgML City Hall.jpgML XFiles.jpgML Rounders.jpgML Ed Tv.jpgML Sleepy Hollow.jpgML The Majestic.jpgML Hollywood Homicide.jpgML City of Ember.jpgML Frankenweenie.jpgML Entourage.jpgML The Last Poker Game.jpgMartin Landau bw.jpg

If you’d asked me when I was a little kid who Martin Landau was I knew him from old reruns and I could have told you he was the man of a million faces Rollin Hand in the TV show Mission:  Impossible and Commander John Koenig in Space: 1999. (Anything with a colon, basically). Then I saw him playing a particularly gay henchman to James Mason in North By Northwest. And I read in a James Dean biography that they were close friends when Landau was at the Actors’ Studio, which he attended after spending a few years as a cartoonist. He was a stalwart of that institution and eventually served on the board as well as training other actors – including Jack Nicholson. Never the showiest of performers, he was a solid supporting man for a very long time, particularly on television. Then suddenly Francis Ford Coppola came a calling with one of his most wonderful and underrated films, Tucker:  The Man and His Dream, and Landau was lifted up once again to where he belonged earning a Golden Globe for his role. He had his breakthrough after 30 years. He became an auteur favourite with a brilliant leading part as a murderous adulterer in Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors and then for Tim Burton in the hilarious biography of the world’s worst ever film director, Ed Wood, when he played horror star Bela Lugosi. He found a kinship with the man who had been treated so terribly in Hollywood.  He won an Academy Award and it was a happy collaboration, with Burton getting him to return to other productions. He continued playing steadily in features and even returned happily to TV with memorable parts in Entourage in particular. His last film, fittingly, as leading man, was The Last Poker Game and he attended its release at the Tribeca Festival. He was married for 36 years to Barbara Bain, his Space: 1999 co-star. It was a good life, well lived.

About elainelennon

An occasional movie-watching diary.

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