Martin Landau, star of Ed Wood, dies at 89

Ruben Ruiz
July 17, 2017

Martin Landau, one of the most decorated actors in Hollywood history has passed today at the age of 89 after "unexpected complications" during a stay at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, The Hollywood Reporter stated.

Oscar victor Martin Landau died Saturday of "unexpected complications" following a brief stay at UCLA Medical Center, per The Hollywood Reporter.

He landed Oscar nods for 1988's Tucker: The Man and His Dream and Woody Allen's Crimes & Misdemeanors, and won an Academy Award for portraying horror movie icon Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton's weird and wonderful 1994 film Ed Wood. "I was a bad guy by profession, a heavy in a certain kind of tacky movie". "To this day, I can still hear my mother's voice saying, 'You did what?!'" The part was written specifically for Landau by series creator Bruce Geller, who also wrote the Cinnamon Carter role for Landau's then-wife, Barbara Bain.

Martin Landau was born on June 20, 1928, in Brooklyn, New York, to Jewish parents Selma and Morris Landau, who was a machinist of Austrian origin.

Landau's film debut was in 1959's "Pork Chop Hill" starring Gregory Peck, but his first big splash, that same year, was as a menacing henchman in the Alfred Hitchcock classic "North by Northwest", starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint. "I would've probably died playing that role".

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Landau, left, with Johnny Depp in Ed Wood.

During the 1960s, he had character roles in "The Greatest Story Ever Told", "Nevada Smith" and "The Hallelujah Trail". In 2006, his guest appearance on Entourage earned him a second Emmy nomination. Landau was last seen in Howard L Weiner's comedy drama "The Last Poker Game".

Landau's marriage to Bain ended in divorce.

Normality for Landau meant he never became a Hollywood A-lister, but he saw a benefit in not being a highly sought-after actor. "There was a lot of pain, a lot of angst", he told The New Yorker in 1995. They had two daughters: actress Juliet Landau and filmmaker Susan Landau Finch. Landau said he found himself adrift, reduced to playing heavies in low-budget dreck. With the charm and clever ability of a chameleon, Landau showed his viewers how to blend action, grace, and wit in one handsome package.

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