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Martin Landau, actor - obituary

Martin Landau, actor - obituary

Private funeral services were pending Monday for celebrated actor Martin Landau, an Oscar victor and longtime "Mission Impossible" television star, who died at age 89.

Martin is survived by his daughters Susie and Juliet, who he had with ex-wife and Mission: Impossible co-star Barbara Bain - who he married in 1957 and divorced in 1993 - sister Elinor and granddaughter Aria.

Landau had been a cartoonist before starting his acting career in the '50s.

Landau quit "Mission: Impossible" after three seasons in 1969 due to a contract dispute, according to THR.

His publicists Dick Guttman and Rona Menashe confirmed his death to USA TODAY.

A documentary about Landau's life, entitled An Actor's Actor: The Life of Martin Landau, is now in the works.

Landau met Bruce Geller, the eventual creator of Mission: Impossible, when he invited the writer to an acting class.

Landau also famously turned down the role of Mr. Spock in Star Trek - a role which went to Leonard Nimoy, who also replaced the late star on Mission: Impossible.

He appeared in almost 200 films and TV shows during his lengthy career.

Hand's character, billed as "The World's Greatest Impersonator", also pinned Landau as a master of disguise in the eyes of casting directors, who saw him suited to play a variety of roles, notes the The New York Times.

Martin Landau was one of the last remaining veterans of Hollywood's Golden Age, a consummate professional who cut his teeth on the stage and live television before bowing on the silver screen in 1959, with the one-two punch of Lewis Milestone's Pork Chop Hill and Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest. He attended Tribeca Film Festival in NY last spring, where his upcoming movie with Paul Sorvino, The Last Poker Game, was screened. It was the antithesis of why I became an actor'.

Landau also had the major role of Judah Rosenthal in Woody Allen's 1989 movie, "Crimes and Misdemeanors", for which he earned another Oscar nod for best supporting actor.

"And I just said to myself, 'One day I'm going to get up to bat and I'm gonna hit a home run.' It's as simple as that".

Martin Landau spent the next two decades struggling to find worthy roles, and appeared in a large number of genre motion pictures and television series, notably the motion picture thrillers Alone in the Dark and Without Warning, and the sci-fi show Space: 1999.

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