Martin Landau — who made an amazing comeback in his 60s — has passed away at the age of 89 in Los Angeles after a brief hospitalization.
Landau gave up a cartooning job with the Daily News in New York City to pursue acting, and quickly became a big-screen presence in films like Alfred Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest,” plus epics like “The Greatest Story Ever Told” and Elizabeth Taylor’s “Cleopatra.”
He then joined the case of “Mission: Impossible” in 1966 as superspy Rollin Hand — but by the 1980s, the former film star was making a series of embarrassing B-films!
Landau was putting on great performances in low-budget sci-fi movies like “The Being” and “Without Warning,” along with TV-movies including “The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island.”
That film landed him an Oscar nomination, followed by another chance to win an Academy Award for Woody Allen’s “Crime and Misdemeanors” in 1989.
He finally won an Oscar for playing fallen star Bela Lugosi in 1994’s “Ed Wood.”
Landau had two children from his marriage to longtime “M:I” co-star Barbara Bain, whom he divorced in 1993 after 36 years of marriage.
The actor worked right up until his death, as well, saying: “What I do best, what I’ve always done best, is act.”