Martin Landau, star of Ed Wood, dies at 89

Actor Martin Landau attends the LA premiere of Frankenweenie a stop-motion animated film at the El Capitan Theatre on Sept. 24 2012 in Los Angeles

Actor Martin Landau attends the LA premiere of Frankenweenie a stop-motion animated film at the El Capitan Theatre on Sept. 24 2012 in Los Angeles

Martin Landau, the actor whose gaunt, hangdog features graced films by film-makers as varied as Alfred Hitchcock, Woody Allen and Tim Burton has died.

"We are overcome with sadness", Dick Guttman said in a statement on Sunday night.

A former newspaper cartoonist, Martin Landau had an envious career, appearing in nearly 200 films and TV shows and working with iconic filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock in North by Northwest.

Landau was born in Brooklyn in 1928 and gave up his job as a New York Daily News cartoonist to become an actor in his early 20s. Johnny Depp played Wood, the enthusiastic but inept 1950s filmmaker, who befriends and employs Lugosi.

In the series, Landau starred alongside then-wife Barbara Bain.

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He is the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, a retired IAS officer, and diplomat, who earlier worked as the Governor of West Bengal. The JD (U) attended the meeting where Mr Gandhi was selected as the joint opposition vice presidential candidate.

He began his career on the stage in NY, doing roles in such plays as "Stalag 17", "Goat Song", "First Love", and "Middle of the Night", the first play written by famed playwright Paddy Chayevsky. I was being offered, you know, professional bad guys in the evil business, total comic-strip stuff. He also appeared in films throughout the 1960s such as Cleopatra and The Greatest Story Ever Told before he was cast on "Mission: Impossible". His win also marked a historical Academy Award moment as he pounded his fists on the podium and yelled "NO!" when the orchestra started to cut his speech short, not allowing him to dedicate the award to Lugosi.

"It helped me get better roles and more roles and better money", he told The Hollywood Reporter, but "then I went back to just being a normal actor".

Infamously, Landau passed on the role of Spock in the original Star Trek. Landau would continue his association with the organization until the end of his life. Landau said he found himself adrift, reduced to playing heavies in low-budget dreck. Years later, he taught at the group's second location, in West Hollywood, CA, the Actors Studio West. "I think he thought I was going to be an usher".

Later on, in the 1970s, Landau worked in the science-fiction series Space: 1999.

But Landau and Bain - who divorced in 1993 after having two daughters - left the show three seasons in due to a salary dispute.

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