Oscar Winner Martin Landau Passes Away at 89

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

Yet Martin Landau, who died Sunday at age 89 and was still acting in a career that spanned six decades, was just as proud of the first job he ever held - cartoonist for the New York Daily News.

Landau died of "unexpected complications" on Saturday during a brief spell in a Los Angeles hospital, his publicist Dick Guttman said. At the age of 22, Landau left the press to pursue acting.

"I think if they don't like what I'm doing, they'll say something", he told the Los Angeles Times. It was the antithesis of why I became an actor'. It's insane if you think about it. "And I could still hear my mother say, 'You did what?!'" He trained at the legendary Actors Studio, where he studied under Lee Strasberg and Elia Kazan.

He had dabbled in acting before the switch, making his stage debut in 1951 at a ME summer theater in "Detective Story" and off-Broadway in "First Love". Among his credits are Alfred Hitchcock's "North by Northwest", Tim Burton's "Ed Wood" and "Cleopatra".

He would go on to star in another enormously popular, franchise-spawning television series, Mission: Impossible, for three years.

Landau's career began to slow in the '70s and '80s, but he began to garner some actual prestige roles after Francis Ford Coppola cast him as Abe Karatz in Tucker: The Man And His Dream. He even received the best supporting actor nomination for his performance.

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Hand's character, billed as "The World's Greatest Impersonator", also pinned Landau as a master of disguise in the eyes of casting directors, who saw him suited to play a variety of roles, notes the The New York Times. "Before that I did several films that should be turned into toothpicks. It would've been torturous", Landau revealed in 2011 (via THR). "People thought I was nuts to play the character gay, which wasn't originally written that way. I wanted to act". "Who wants to do that?"

In this October 7, 2008, file photo, Tim Robbins, from left, Martin Landau and Bill Murray attend a special screening of "City of Ember" in NY.

More recently, Landau starred in Remember (2015) with Christopher Plummer and The Red Maple Leaf (2016) with Kris Kristofferson and James Caan.

Landau studied theater in NY at The Actor's Studio.

Landau is survived by his daughters Susie and Juliet, their husbands, his sister Elinor, his granddaughter Aria, and his godson Dylan.

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