Martin Landau Cause of Death: How Did The Oscar-Winning Actor Die?

Posted July 17, 2017

Following his Oscar win, Landau remained prolific, with roles in the likes of City Hall, The X-Files, Rounders, The Majestic, Hollywood Homicide and Frankenweenie.

Landau, who won an Academy Award in a Johnny Depp movie about a 1950s struggling filmmaker, died Saturday after a brief illness and stay at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood.

One of the actor's most iconic film roles was playing Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton's Ed Wood (1994).

Early in his career, he made an impression with a villainous turn in director Alfred Hitchcock's classic 1959 thriller "North by Northwest". It was no big loss for Landau anyway, though, as he landed a big role on the original Mission: Impossible TV series (and eventually got three Emmy nominations for it), but his time on that show was cut short over a contract dispute.

Landau was so good he could make you forget he looked nothing at all like the round-faced Lugosi; if anything the actor's height and gaunt features made him a dead ringer for Lugosi's rival, Boris Karloff. Leonard Nimoy took on the role and then replaced Landau on his TV spy drama Mission: Impossible.

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Landau, who has also taught acting to such luminaries as Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston, has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. "People thought I was nuts to play the character gay, which wasn't originally written that way". Survivors also include Landau's sons-in-law Roy and Deverill, sister Elinor, granddaughter Aria, and godson Dylan.

After the successes of "Tucker", "Crimes and Misdemeanors" and "Ed Wood", Landau had a steady stream of mostly supporting work on the bigscreen from the mid-'90s through the late 2000s.

Highly respected among his peers, one of Landau's greatest loves was using his skills in the theater, an aspect of his career he recently illuminated for fans on Marc Maron's WTF podcast in January. (He was also nominated three times for "Mission: Impossible", although he never won an Emmy.) In 2015 he appeared in the "Entourage" movie.

Landau, who was born in Brooklyn on 20 June 1928, is survived by his daughters Susan and Juliet from his marriage to his Mission: Impossible co-star Barbara Bain, whom he divorced in 1993.