Entertainment & Arts

Martin Landau, star of Mission: Impossible, dies

Martin Landau, waving, in 2012 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Landau died after "unexpected complications" from a hospital visit

The actor Martin Landau, best known for roles in the TV series Mission: Impossible and 1960s blockbusters like Cleopatra, has died, aged 89.

His publicist Dick Guttman confirmed the death, saying: "We are overcome with sadness."

Landau won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1995 for portraying the horror movie star Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood.

He died on Saturday in Los Angeles of "unexpected complications" following a hospital visit.

Landau was born in New York and started out as a cartoonist for the New York Daily News before moving to theatre and then cinema acting.

Image copyright Getty Images/Handout
Image caption Landau (left) as Rollin Hand in Mission: Impossible

He featured in the Alfred Hitchcock film North by Northwest and played a commander in Space: 1999 and Geppetto in a live-action version of The Adventures of Pinocchio.

But he turned down the role of Mr Spock in Star Trek, a role that went to his friend Leonard Nimoy instead.

And Nimoy later replaced Landau on Mission: Impossible when the latter left following a dispute over pay.

Many in Hollywood hit social media to pay tribute, including Star Trek actor William Shatner, who played the role of James T. Kirk.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Shatner tweeted: "Condolences to the family of Martin Landau."

Brent Spiner, best known for his portrayal of Lieutenant Commander Data in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, tweeted: "Great actor, Martin Landau leaves us at age 89. So glad the part of Lugosi came to him. He crushed it. RIP."

Stranger Things actor David Harbour wrote: "The great Martin Landau has died. Long time member of the actor's studio and brilliant craftsman in our tradition. I will miss his work."

Ralph Macchio, who played Daniel LaRusso in the Karate Kid series, praised Landau's performance in the 1989 comedy drama Crimes and Misdemeanours.

The film was written, directed by and co-starred Woody Allen and gave Landau his second Oscar nomination for best actor in a supporting role.

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