Oscar-Winning Actor Martin Landau Dies at Age 89

Martin Landau, Oscar Winner for 'Ed Wood,' Dies at 89

Landau also notably turned down the role of science officer, Mr. Spock, leading Star Trek creator Gene Rodenberry to cast his second choice, Leonard Nimoy.

It was the role of master of disguise Rollin Hand on "Mission: Impossible" that propelled Landau to stardom.

Landau originally started out as a cartoonist for the New York Daily News before moving into theatre and television acting.

Four years later, Landau landed his breakout role as a henchman in Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 classic North by Northwest, with Landau later revealing he "played the character gay", a decision that Hitchcock "loved".

He was married to his Mission: Impossible co-star Barbara Bain from 1957 until their divorce in 1993.

A representative for the actor said Landau had been briefly hospitalized at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.

His publicist Dick Guttman confirmed the death, saying: "We are overcome with sadness".

Landau, who has also taught acting to such luminaries as Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston, has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

His film roles ranged from the grand to the quirky, from "Cleopatra" to "The Greatest Story Ever Told".

The role saw him repeatedly nominated for Emmys and helped him nab the Best Male TV Star Golden Globe in 1968. "People thought I was nuts to play the character gay, which wasn't originally written that way".

His career then suffered for a decade, in which he appeared in largely forgotten movies such asThe Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island before picking up again when he bagged a recurring role in comedy series Buffalo Bill.

Screenwriter Joss Whedon said Landau's performance as a philandering eye doctor in Woody Allen's 1989 "Crimes and Misdemeanors" was "perfect".

Landau continued working even in his later years. One of them, actress Juliet Landau, appeared with her father in Ed Wood. Landau became close friends with James Dean, a fellow Actors Studio member, and dated Marilyn Monroe.

He is survived by his two daughters, a granddaughter and one sister.

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