Tributes pour in for Martin Landau, dead at 89

Stars pay tribute to Martin Landau

Iconic actor Martin Landau has passed away at the age of 89.

Mr Landau, who shot to fame by playing a homosexual henchman in Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 classic North by Northwest, died Saturday of "unexpected complications", his publicist confirmed.

Landau's crowning acting achievement, however, came as horror legend Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton's 1994 biopic Ed Wood.

Landau was born June 28, 1928, in Brooklyn and worked as a cartoonist for the New York Daily News before becoming an actor, according to the Internet Movie Database. "Ed Wood" featured Johnny Depp as legendary filmmaker Ed Wood.

Appearing in nearly 100 series, Landau was a regular on American television for six decades and made his name as the master of disguise Rollin Hand in "Mission Impossible". "Tucker resurrected me", he told the Guardian in 2012. "I never had to work in a laundry".

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. For those who may not know, Landau was performing in the series alongside his then-wife Barbara Bain. The film starred Cary Grant as a NY adman accidentally ensnared in an worldwide spy ring.

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"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". After a few years, though, he abruptly quit his job to follow his dream and become a theatrical actor, something he recognized many years later as a "crazy" idea.

He continued to perform in film and TV, and headed the Hollywood branch of the Actors Studio.

His director, Howard Weiner, told WENN, "Martin asked a lot of questions and wanted to know if he was going to have to take off his shirt, which he doesn't, but he's an incredible actor and I established trust with him and he was game".

"I turned down Star Trek. When I got Tucker I thought, "Thank God, a human being".

He is survived by his two daughters, Juliet (an actress, known for Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Susie (a writer-producer), a sister, and one grandchild. Landau earned an Emmy nomination for each of his three seasons on the series.

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