IT IS TERRIBLILY SAD HEARING THE NEWS that has just broken, that actor, writer, director MARTIN LANDAU has passed today.... The achievements of Ladau are many and most impressive, screen, theater and television. Our connection to this the mildest and kindest of men, are the television series SPACE 1999 in which Peter Cushing guest starred in an episode called 'The Missing Link' in 1976...but also, both Peter and Landau worked together in theatre production of 'The Silver Whistle 1957'. In a statement, Dick Guttman, a publicist for Mr. Landau, said that the actor died of "unexpected complications," but did not provide additional details.
LANDAU'S SEVEN DECADE career featured verdant artistic peaks - including his work for directors Alfred Hitchcock, Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen and Tim Burton. A precociously gifted artist, Landau had been a cartoonist, illustrator and theater caricaturist at the New York Daily News in his teens before embarking on an acting career at 22. He had developed a strong talent for observing people's expressions and movements, as well as a flair for imitations and accents. Of thousands of applicants, only he and Steve McQueen were accepted in that class at the prestigious Actors Studio in Manhattan. Landau became a full-fledged star in 1966 with "Mission: Impossible," the CBS spy drama about an elite squad of government agents who infiltrate and destroy Cold War enemies.
THE CAST INCLUDED Steven Hill and later Peter Graves as the group's boss and Barbara Bain, then Landau's wife, as the sultry team member Cinnamon Carter. Lalo Schifrin's pulse-quickening jazzy score - and the self-destructing instructions that set every episode in motion - helped make the program a popular success. Landau had small roles in movie epics such as "Cleopatra" (1963) and "The Greatest Story Ever Told" (1965) while pursuing a prolific TV career. He was John the Baptist in an "Omnibus" adaptation of Oscar Wilde's play "Salome" and a sadistic western gunman in an episode of "The Twilight Zone."
"If I was an opera singer or a ballet dancer, I probably wouldn't be able to do that any longer, but being an actor playing old guys is kind of a gift," Landau told the Star, a South African publication. "Half of the people I came up with are gone, and the other half don't remember what they had for breakfast, so I'm very lucky."
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