'Mission Impossible' actor Martin Landau dies aged 89

Martin Landau, Oscar Winner for 'Ed Wood,' Dies at 89

Mission: Impossible star Martin Landau has died, aged 89. Landau died Saturday of "unexpected complications" after a brief stay at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, his representative confirmed.

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

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

At age 17, the Brooklyn-born actor got his first job as a newspaper cartoonist at the New York Daily News. "Ed Wood" featured Johnny Depp as legendary filmmaker Ed Wood.

Landau starred on the hit CBS suspense drama "Mission: Impossible" as Rollin Hand, a versatile covert-operations agent, from its debut in 1966 until 1969. "I didn't have to drive a cab", he told The Boston Globe in 1989.

But Landau, who spent five years at The News beginning in the late 1940s, said he caught the acting bug after going to see a News colleague who was appearing in an Off-Off Broadway play.

However, Landau struggled to make headway in 60s Hollywood, securing down-the-bill roles in epics such as Cleopatra and The Greatest Story Ever Told. He won the Oscar for the "Ed Wood" role.

Landau loved acting more than anything, and felt he had learned so much about it that he wanted to give something back, so he became a teacher himself.

Landau had been described as a "guiding force" in the Actors Studio for over 60 years, and was serving as Artistic Director of Actors Studio West at the time of his death.

He also gained some measure of fame among Star Trek fans for a role he didn't play, pointy-eared starship Enterprise science officer, Mr. Spock. "Nobody knew me", he said later.

Most recently, he was nominated for an Emmy in 2004 and 2005 for his part in "Without a Trace", and again in 2007 for his performance as a washed-up producer on Entourage. "When I got Tucker I thought, "Thank God, a human being".

Landau is survived by his daughters Susie and Juliet from his marriage to Barbara Bain from 1957 to 1993, sons-in-law Roy and Deverill, his sister Elinor, granddaughter Aria, and godson Dylan.

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