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Actor Martin James Landau Passes Away

The legendary actor of stage and screen, Martin James Landau, passed away on July 15 while being hospitalized at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. Landau suffered from an abdominal hemorrhage that resulted in 'massive internal bleeding', which caused his vital organs to shut down. The official cause of death was 'hypovolemic shock'. Landau was 89 years old.

Landau was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1928. His first career was at the New York Daily News, where he worked as an editorial cartoonist. He quit that job at the age of 22 to become an actor.

"I told the picture editor I was going into the theater," he recalled in 1989, according to The Express. "I think he thought I was going to be an usher."

The actor's career debuted on stage in 1951 in 'Detective Story' and 'First Love'. He then applied for the Actors Studio and was one of two members selected. That other selectee was Steve McQueen.

He began landing some small roles on television in various shows, such as 'Gunsmoke' and 'The Twilight Zone'. Landau's big break came in 1959, when he played a killer in Alfred Hitchcock's thriller 'North by Northwest'.

Landau continued working steadily with dozens of roles on stage, on the small screen and the large screen. His illustrious career as an actor spans for decades, and include several Academy Award and Emmy nominations. Some of his most memorable films include 'Cleopatra' (1963), 'They Call Me Mister Tibbs!' (1970), 'Tucker: The Man and His Dream' (1988), 'Crimes and Misdemeanors' (1989), 'Sleepy Hollow' (1999), 'The Majestic' (2001), and 'Frankenweenie' (2012).

On television, he starred in the series 'Mission: Impossible' from 1966 through 1969, and appearances on more recent shows include 'Without a Trace', 'Entourage', 'In Plain Sight' and 'The Simpsons'.

In 1994, Landau won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton's biographical comedy-drama, 'Ed Wood'. He starred opposite Johnny Depp, who played the titular character.

The Hungarian Lugosi was a method actor and Landau says he put great efforts into researching Lugosi, who was best known for originating the onscreen roll of Dracula.

"I watched about 35 Lugosi movies, including ones that were worse than anything Ed Wood ever made," he recalled in 2001. "Despite the trash, he had a certain dignity about him, whatever the role."

The actor was working right up until his death. His last film was this year's 'The Last Poker Game', which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival. He portrays an aging doctor who is placed in a retirement home when he becomes incapable of continuing to care for his ailing wife. Landau took the role with the first-time writer and director Howard L Weiner.

"It was unusual, and it kept unfolding in unpredictable ways," said Landau of his final role.

He also continued being active in the Actors Studio, and ran the Hollywood branch until his death.

Landau married his co-star from 'Space: 1999', a British 1970s sci-fi series, Barbara Bain in 1957. The couple divorced in 1993. Landau is survived by his ex-wife and their two daughters, Juliet Rose Landau and Susan Landau Finch.

Source: Daily Mail
Photos: YouTube, ABC 30, TVLive, Consequences Of Sound, Greek

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