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Martin Landau

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The Bible Collection: Joseph... The story of a young mans amazing journey from a slave prison to the very inner... more info $19.98was $19.98 Buy Now

9 DVD Produced by Tim Burton and directed by Academy Award nominee Shane Acker, "9"... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: June 20, 1931 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor, acting teacher, cartoonist, newspaper artist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Though he got his start as an actor during the golden age of television in the 1950s, Martin Landau had to wait until the late 1980s until he became a widely recognized commodity. After five years as a cartoonist, Landau switched gears to become an actor, performing in live television productions before graduating to Hollywood features in the 1960s. Toward the latter half of that precarious decade, he landed his first truly memorable role, playing master of disguise Rollin Hand on the hit spy series, "Mission: Impossible" (CBS, 1966-1973). Though the show lasted for seven seasons, Landau left after the third because of a contractual dispute - a move that left the actor struggling to find quality roles for almost two decades. Landau had a particularly rough time during the 1980s despite a steady string of work, mainly as a one-dimensional villain in projects more concerned with car chases and explosions than character or story. He finally re-emerged with Oscar-nominated roles in "Tucker: The Man and His Dream" (1988) and "Crimes and Misdemeanors" (1989), eventually winning his first Academy Award for his spot-on portrayal of aging silent film star Bela Lugosi in "Ed Wood" (1994), all of which paved...

Though he got his start as an actor during the golden age of television in the 1950s, Martin Landau had to wait until the late 1980s until he became a widely recognized commodity. After five years as a cartoonist, Landau switched gears to become an actor, performing in live television productions before graduating to Hollywood features in the 1960s. Toward the latter half of that precarious decade, he landed his first truly memorable role, playing master of disguise Rollin Hand on the hit spy series, "Mission: Impossible" (CBS, 1966-1973). Though the show lasted for seven seasons, Landau left after the third because of a contractual dispute - a move that left the actor struggling to find quality roles for almost two decades. Landau had a particularly rough time during the 1980s despite a steady string of work, mainly as a one-dimensional villain in projects more concerned with car chases and explosions than character or story. He finally re-emerged with Oscar-nominated roles in "Tucker: The Man and His Dream" (1988) and "Crimes and Misdemeanors" (1989), eventually winning his first Academy Award for his spot-on portrayal of aging silent film star Bela Lugosi in "Ed Wood" (1994), all of which paved the way for higher profile projects for an actor always capable of quality performances.

Born in Brooklyn, NY on June 20, 1931, Landau was raised by his father, Morris, a machinist in Manhattan's famed Garment District, and his mother, Selma, a homemaker. After graduating James Madison High School in 1946, Landau studied drawing at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, then began work at The New York Daily News as a cartoonist and editorial artist when he was just 17. For five years, Landau illustrated the column "Pitching Horseshoes" and assisted drawing Gus Edson's famed comic strip, "The Gumps." But when he was 22, Landau - who had only two stage productions to his name - suddenly announced that he was quitting the paper to pursue acting. In short order, he was among the thousands of struggling actors looking for jobs off-Broadway and in summer stock. In 1955, he was one of two thousand applicants for the famed Actors Studio, lead by acclaimed acting coach Lee Strasberg. Only two were admitted: Landau and Steve McQueen. Meanwhile, he found himself in demand, landing television roles during its heyday of live productions on such anthologies as "Playhouse 90" (CBS, 1956-1960), "Kraft Television Theater" (NBC, 1947-1958) and "Studio One" (CBS, 1947-1957).

After a successful tour alongside Edward G. Robinson in the Broadway production of "Middle of the Night" (1957), Landau made his film debut in the Korean War actioner, "Pork Chop Hill" (1959), starring Gregory Peck as the leader of an army unit that suffers terrible losses storming a Chinese-held hill. Landau's film career blossomed with his second film, Alfred Hitchcock's legendary suspense thriller, "North by Northwest" (1959), in which he played Leonard, one of the film's more prominent villains. Landau was a main supporting character in "Cleopatra" (1963), the notorious sword and sandal epic that became known for its long and arduous production which included massive cost overruns that nearly bankrupted 20th Century Fox, a near-death experience of star Elizabeth Taylor, and the scandalous affair between her and co-star Richard Burton. Landau's participation in the doomed "Cleopatra" prevented him from working with Federico Fellini on "8 1/2" (1963). But he did memorable television work in sympathetic roles on "The Outer Limits" (ABC, 1963-65) and was equally impressionable as the evil Caiaphas in director George Stevens' reverential biopic of Jesus, "The Greatest Story Ever Told" (1965).

Although Landau had generally been cast as villains or as serious and often morose types, his versatility found a good showcase in what became one his best-remembered roles, playing master-of-disguise Rollin Hand on the famed spy series, "Mission: Impossible." Landau was then married to actor Barbara Bain, who also starred on "Mission," and after three seasons, both left the series in 1969 after a contract dispute. The series successfully ran on for several more seasons, but Landau found difficulty maintaining a high profile. He did manage to land several features, television movies and series pilots like "A Town Called Hell" (1971), "Black Gunn" (1972) and "Savage" 1973"), but found little in the way of quality work. In the mid-1970s, Landau and Bain moved to England to star in a syndicated television sci-fi series, "Space: 1999" (ITV, 1975-77). Although the series was well-acted and had its merits, the show ultimately was unable to sustain itself, while the pensive, slightly worried-looking Landau failed to live up to the usual adventure hero standards. After the program folded, Landau, handicapped by his previous villain roles and TV fame, did keep busy but was hardly challenged by a decade of forgettable roles in films like "Meteor" (1979), "The Being" (1983) and "Cyclone" (1987). He reached his nadir early in the decade, however, with the impossible to imagine television movie, "The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island" (NBC, 1981).

Landau began a career revival at the end of the 1980s when he had a quality supporting turn as Abe Karatz, the sympathetic money man in Francis Ford Coppola's intriguing "Tucker: The Man and His Dream" (1988), which netted him a first-ever Oscar nomination. He scored a second consecutive Oscar nod with his splendid work as a morally troubled eye doctor who, with the help of his criminally-connected brother (Jerry Orbach), plots to murder his mistress (Anjelica Huston) in Woody Allen's excellent "Crimes and Misdemeanors" (1989). Landau continued enjoying his renaissance with fine roles in television movies, including "Max and Helen" (TNT, 1990) and "Legacy of Lies" (USA, 1992). He received some of the finest notices of his uneven, but distinguished career for his touching, hilarious and deftly uncanny portrayal of faded film star Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton's affectionate feature biopic, "Ed Wood" (1994). Nominated for Best Supporting Actor once again, this time Landau left the Academy Awards ceremony with an award in hand, receiving validation at long last.

After his Oscar triumph, Landau suddenly found himself in serious demand and played a wide range of characters, including an honest judge in the political corruption drama "City Hall" (1996) and a restrained turn as the woodcarver Geppetto in a live-action version of "The Adventures of Pinocchio" (1996). The comedy "B.A.P.S" (1997) cast him as a wealthy man who takes two waitresses with big dreams (Halle Berry and Natalie Desselle) under his wing, while in the feature version of the hit television show, "The X-Files: Fight the Future" (1998), Landau offered an incisive performance as a conspiracy theorist offering assistance to Agents Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson). He followed with turns as the mentor to Matt Damon's card sharp in "Rounders" (1998) and as Matthew McConaughy's wheelchair-bound stepfather in Ron Howard's "EDtv" (1999). Landau also portrayed the titular figure in his advanced years in the two-part miniseries, "Bonanno: A Godfather's Story" (Showtime, 1999), a true-to-life biopic on the lesser-known Mafioso who returns to his native Sicily in his advanced years to reflect on his life.

Turning to classics of myth and legend, Landau next took the role of Geppetto in "The New Adventures of Pinocchio" (1999) and reunited with Tim Burton for an uncredited cameo in "Sleepy Hollow" (1999). The veteran actor then slummed a bit into the dumbed-down wrestling comedy "Ready to Rumble" (2000), the cool crime indie "Very Mean Men" (2000), and the barely-seen "King Lear"-inspired boxing drama "Shiner" (2000) opposite Michael Caine. Landau found better roles in the miniseries "In the Beginning" (2000), playing the biblical Abraham, and director Frank Darabont's earnest, if not-quite-Capraesque effort "The Majestic" (2000), opposite Jim Carrey. He also appeared in a small role in the action-comedy bomb "Hollywood Homicide" (2003) with Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett. After a two-decades absence from the small screen, Landau returned with a recurring role on the hit crime drama, "Without A Trace" (CBS, 2002-09), playing Jack Malone's (Anthony LaPaglia) Alzheimer's-ridden father. Returning to the feature world, he starred in the World War II drama "The Aryan Couple" (2005), playing a wealthy Jewish man who, along with his wife (Judy Parfitt), is granted immunity from the death camps if he allows the Nazis to confiscate everything he owns. As a requisite for safe passage, however, the elderly couple must dine with both Heinrich Himmler and Adolph Eichmann.

In 2006, Landau made his first foray into regular series work since "Space: 1999" as the head of forensics on "The Evidence" (ABC, 2005-06), a run-of-the-mill procedural about two homicide detectives (Orlando Jones and Rob Estes) piecing together seemingly disparate clues to solve a crime. Landau next appeared in a three-show arc during the third season of the popular HBO series, "Entourage" (2004-2011), giving a hilarious performance as a thinly-veiled caricature of infamous producer Robert Evans. Evans gave the producers of "Entourage" the okay to film at his extravagant Beverly Hills mansion, but was later miffed with Landau's characterization of him as an old, bumbling wash-up who constantly utters the amusing tagline, "Is that something you might be interested in?" Executives from HBO countered by saying there was no intention to mock Evans. Intentional or not, Landau's comedic turn was wildly entertaining and earned the actor an Emmy nod for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series. Following turns in little seen features like "City of Ember" (2008) and "David & Fatima" (2008), Landau played an elderly grocery store clerk who discovers romance for the first time in "Lovely, Still" (2010). Following an episode of "In Plain Sight" (USA Network, 2008-2012), Landau starred in "Mitch Albom's Have a Little Faith" (ABC, 2011), where he played an aging rabbi who asks Albom (Bradley Whitford) to pen his eulogy since he knows he will soon die.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Entourage (2015)
2.
 Remember (2015)
3.
 Anna Nicole (2013)
4.
 Frankenweenie (2012)
5.
 Ivory (2012)
6.
 Young Picasso (2012)
8.
9.
 9 (2009)
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1948:
At age 17, began working as a newspaper artist and staff cartoonist for New York's <i>Daily News</i>; illustrated Billy Rose's "Pitching Horseshoes" column
1951:
Made stage debut in "Detective Story" at the Peaks Island Playhouse in Maine
1951:
First appearance in an off-Broadway play, "First Love"
1955:
Auditioned for Lee Strasberg's Actors Studio; was accepted with fellow student Steve McQueen
:
Replaced Franchot Tone in the revival of Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya"
1957:
Acted in the touring company of "Middle of the Night"
1959:
Made film debut in "Pork Chop Hill"
1959:
Made first major film appearance in Alfred Hitchcock's "North by Northwest"
1963:
Appeared on two episodes of ABC anthology series "The Outer Limits"
1966:
Played Rollin Hand on CBS adventure series "Mission: Impossible"; acted opposite wife Barbara Bain; received Emmy nominations for all three years
1968:
Reprised role from the series in the feature "Mission Impossible vs. The Mob"
1969:
Left "Mission: Impossible" with Barbara Bain after contract dispute; new series regulars were added on and the show continued until 1973
1972:
Played a prisoner of war returning from Vietnam in CBS TV-movie "Welcome Home, Johnny Bristol"
1973:
Directed by Steven Spielberg on busted NBC series pilot "Savage"
1975:
Played lead role of John Koenig on British series "Space 1999"; again co-starred with then-wife Barbara Bain
1976:
First film in four years, "Strange Shadows in an Empty Room"
1981:
Last acting credit opposite Barbara Bain, "The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island"
1983:
Played lead in low-budget horror feature "The Being"
1983:
Guest starred on the NBC sitcom "Buffalo Bill"
:
Took over the title role in "Dracula" on Broadway; also starred in the national touring production
1987:
Returned to film with "W.A.R. Women Against Rape"
1988:
Received an Academy Award nomination for his role in "Tucker: The Man and His Dream"
1989:
First TV miniseries, "The Neon Empire" (Showtime)
1989:
Earned second Academy Award nomination as the adulterous husband in Woody Allen's "Crimes and Misdemeanors"
1990:
Portrayed Simon Wiesenthal in the based-on-fact TNT movie "Max and Helen"
1990:
Cast as the U.S. President in the HBO original "By Dawn's Early Light"
1992:
Co-starred in the feature "Mistress"
1994:
Portrayed screen horror icon Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton's biopic "Ed Wood"
1995:
Appeared in the TNT biblical miniseries "Joseph"
1996:
Played Geppetto in the feature "The Adventures of Pinocchio"
1997:
Cast as a sickly millionaire who ends up being cared for by two waitresses in "B.A.P.S."
1998:
Co-starred in "Rounders" opposite Matt Damon
1999:
Played the titular character as an older adult in the Showtime miniseries "Bonanno: A Godfather's Story"
2000:
Made executive producing debut with "Prank"
2001:
Had pivotal supporting role in "The Majestic"
2001:
Received star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
2003:
Featured in the buddy cop flick "Hollywood Homicide" with Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett
2004:
Guest starred on several episodes of "Without a Trace" (CBS); received Emmy nominations in 2004 and 2005
2004:
Co-starred with Judy Parfitt, as a Jewish couple trying to escape Nazi Germany in "The Aryan Couple"
2006:
Received Emmy nomination for his role as an old-school producer on HBO series "Entourage"
2009:
Lent his voice to the feature-length adaptation of Shane Acker's short "9"
2012:
Reunited with director Tim Burton to voice Mr. Rzykruski in animated film "Frankenweenie"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Pratt Institute: Brooklyn , New York -
Actors Studio: New York , New York -
James Madison High School: Bronx , New York - 1946

Notes

"There was a ten-year period where everything I did was bad. I'd like to go back and turn all those films into guitar picks. I can't even remember most of the titles. I played a lot of heavies, one-dimensional rubbish. No, I wasn't driving a cab, and yes, I was better off than many people. But I was working for directors who didn't know anything about acting and stories. They only cared about car chases and explosions. I'm lucky I kept my sanity. It wasn't pleasant." --Martin Landau, quoted in The New York Times October 2, 1994.

Landau has also wons awards including the Belgian Viewers Best Actor Award, the Brazilian Saci Award and Germany's Bravo Award.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Barbara Bain. Actor. Married January 31, 1957, divorced; co-starred on the TV series "Mission: Impossible" and "Space: 1999"; both quit the former together over contract dispute.
companion:
Gretchen Becker. Actor, veterinarian, former all-American basketball player. Born c. 1964; played small role in "Ed Wood" (1994); no longer together.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Morris Landau. Machinist in garment industry. Immigrant.
mother:
Selma Landau.
daughter:
Susan Meredith Landau. Producer. Born c. 1965; produced "The Spirit of '76" (1990); mother Barbara Bain.
daughter:
Juliet Rose Landau. Actor. Mother Barbara Bain; born c. 1970; appeared in "Ed Wood" (1994).
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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