Birthday: June 20, 1931 Birth
Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA Height: 6' 3"
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Saturnine character actor Martin Landau was a staff cartoonist for the New York Daily News before switching to acting. In 1955, his career got off to a promising beginning, when out of 2,000 applicants, only he and one other actor (Steve McQueen) were accepted by Lee Strasberg's Actors Studio. Extremely busy in the days of live, Manhattan-based television, Landau made his cinematic mark with his second film appearance, playing James Mason's henchman in Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959). In 1966, Landau and his wife Barbara Bain were both cast on the TV adventure/espionage series Mission: Impossible. For three years, Landau portrayed Rollin Hand, a master of disguise with the acute ability to impersonate virtually every villain who came down the pike (banana-republic despots were a specialty). Unhappy with changes in production personnel and budget cuts, Landau and Bain left the series in 1969. Six years later, they costarred in Space: 1999 a popular syndicated sci-fi series; the performances of Landau, Bain, and third lead Barry Morse helped to gloss over the glaring gaps in continuity and logic which characterized the show's two-year run. The couple would subsequently act together several times (The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island (1981) was one of the less distinguished occasions) before their marriage dissolved.Working steadily in various projects throughout the '80s and '90s, Landau enjoyed a career renaissance with two consecutive Oscar nominations, the first for Francis Ford Coppola's Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988), and the second for Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989). Landau finally won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton's 1994 Ed Wood; his refusal to cut his acceptance speech short was one of the high points of the 1995 Oscar ceremony.
Was Gene Roddenberry's first choice to play Mr. Spock on the TV series "Star Trek" (1966). Ironically, when Landau later left "Mission: Impossible" (1966), his replacement was Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock).
Father of Susan Landau Finch and Juliet Landau.
At 17, he joined the New York Daily News as a cartoonist and worked there for five years.
Of the 2,000 performers that auditioned for Lee Strasberg's exclusive theatre school in 1955, only two were accepted: Steve McQueen and Landau.
Was named as "King of Brooklyn" at the Welcome Back to Brooklyn Festival in 1992.
Made a successful Broadway debut in 1957's "Middle of the Night".
A friend of James Dean, when Landau first met Steve McQueen and McQueen said he knew him, he asked where they had met. McQueen informed him he had seen Landau riding into the New York City garage where he worked as a mechanic on the back of Dean's motorcycle.
He has a Motion Picture star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 6801 Hollywood Blvd.
From 1948-53, he made a living as a newspaper artist and staff cartoonist, for the New York's Daily News, as an illustrator for Billy Rose's "Pitching Horseshoes" newspaper column, and as an assistant cartoonist to Gus Edson for "The Gumps" comic strip.
In, 1973 he appeared in the series pilot for NBC for a program entitled "Savage". The pilot was directed by the young Steven Spielberg. It was not picked up.
Is portrayed by Samuel Gould in James Dean (2001) (TV)
He received two of his three Oscar-nominations for portraying real-life people.
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