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Martin Landau, Oscar Winner and 'Mission: Impossible' Star, Dead at 89

17 July 2017

Landau's representative confirmed to the outlet that he died Saturday, July 15 of "unexpected complications" following a short stay at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

He also starred in sci-fi series "Space: 1999", in which he co-starred with then-wife Barbara Bain. "Star Trek" creator Gene Rodenberry had offered him the half-Vulcan, half-human who attempts to rid his life of all emotion.

He won his first Oscar nomination for his role in Francis Ford Coppola's 1988 film Tucker: The Man And His Dream.

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Though Martin Landau was a two-time Oscar nominee when Tim Burton tabbed him to play Bela Legosi in 1994's Ed Wood, he identified with the Hungarian horror has-been and the deliciously bad 1950s director. It's a truism that Oscar loves actors who play other actors, but there was more to Landau's performance than stunt casting: he imbued the horror has-been with a broken-down misery that vanished only when the cameras were rolling, turning into blazing mania. The actor played many iconic roles during his lifetime and had a huge influence on the industry. His classmates included Steve McQueen and James Dean.

Landau and Steve McQueen were the only two people, out of hundreds of applicants, admitted to the Actor's Studio education program in 1955 in NY.

Martin Landau, the popular character actor known for roles in films like "Ed Wood" and "North by Northwest", has died. The very next year came a second nomination, for 1989's Crimes and Misdemeanors. I thought he was the epitome of derring-do.

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He started doing it, acting, in his early twenties after ending a five-year stint he began at age 17 as a New York Daily News cartoonist.

But to me he has been and always will be Commander John Koenig, the hot-headed commander of Moonbase Alpha, leader of the 311 men and women there, making the big decisions after the Moon was accidentally blasted out of Earth orbit on September 13, 1999.

He was also "an admired acting teacher", to students like Jack Nicholson. He portrayed billionaire J. Howard Marshall, the 90-year-old husband of Anna Nicole Smith, in a 2013 Lifetime biopic about the sex symbol, and starred for Atom Egoyan opposite Christopher Plummer in Remember (2015). He appears in the upcoming film The Last Poker Game with Paul Sorvino, which premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. Survivors include two daughters: writer and producer Susie Landau Finch and actress Juliet Landau; a sister; and a granddaughter.

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Martin Landau, Oscar Winner and 'Mission: Impossible' Star, Dead at 89