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L Entries
Elsa Lanchester
Martin Landau
Robert Lansing
Glen A. Larson
Jack Larson
Christopher Lee
Mark Lenard
John Lennon
John Lithgow
June Lockhart
Robert Longo
Peter Lorre
Eugene Lourie
George Lucas
Bela Lugosi
William Lundigan
 
LANDAU, MARTIN
(1931– ). American actor.

SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND HORROR FILM CREDITS
Acted in: "1984" (1953) (uncredited), episode of Studio One; North by Northwest (Alfred HITCHCOCK 1959); "Mr. Denton on Doomsday" (1959), "The Jeopardy Room" (1964), episodes of The Twilight Zone; "The House of Seven Gables" (1960), episode of Shirley Temple's Storybook; "The Man Who Was Never Born" (1963), "The Bellero Shield" (1964), episodes of The Outer Limits; The Ghost of Sierra de Cobre (Joseph STEFANO and Robert Stevens 1964); "The Second Verdict" (1964), episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour; The Greatest Story Ever Told (George Stevens 1965); "The Night of the Red-Eyed Madman" (1965), episode of The Wild, Wild West; "The Bat Cave Affair" (1966), episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.; Mission Impossible (tv series) (1966–1969); Mission Impossible Versus the Mob (Paul Stanley 1968) [tv movie reedited from episodes of Mission Impossible]; "Pheasant under Glass" (uncredited) (1969), episode of Get Smart; Under the Sign of Capricorn (1971); Welcome Home, Johnny Bristol (tv movie) (George McGowan 1972); Space: 1999 (tv series) (1975–1977); Alien Attack (Charles Crichton, Lee H. Katzin, and Bill Lenny 1976); Journey Through the Black Sun (Ray Austin and Katzin 1976); Cosmic Princess (Austin and Peter Medak 1976); Destination Moonbase Alpha (Tom Clegg 1976) [the last four all tv movies reedited from episodes of Space: 1999]; Aliens from Spaceship Earth (Don Como 1977); Meteor (Ronald Neame 1979); The Death of Ocean View Park (E. W. Swackhamer 1979); The Return (Greydon Clark 1980); Without Warning (Clark 1980); The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island (tv movie) (Peter Baldwin 1981); The Fall of the House of Usher (tv movie) (James L. Conway 1982); Alone in the Dark (Jack Sholder 1982); The Being (Jackie Kong 1983); Access Code (Mark Sobel 1984); Treasure Island (Raoul Ruiz 1985); "The Beacon" (1985), episode of Twilight Zone; Kung Fu: The Movie (tv movie) (Richard Lang 1986); "Final Twist" (1987), episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents; The Return of the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman (tv movie) (Ray Austin 1987); Cyclone (Fred Olen Ray 1987); Paint It Black (Tim Hunter 1989); By Dawn's Early Light (Sholder 1990); Firehead (Peter Yuval 1991); 12:01 (tv movie) (Sholder 1993); Ed Wood (Tim BURTON 1994); Joseph (tv movie) (Roger Young 1995); "The Sting of the Scorpion," "Neogenie Nightmare, Chapter 1: The Insidious Six," "Neogenic Nightmare, Chapter 2: Battle of the Insidious Six" (1995), "Neogenic Nightmare, Chapter 14: The Final Nightmare" (1996) (animated; voice), episodes of Spider-Man; The Adventures of Pinocchio (video game) (Ken Berris 1996); The Adventures of Pinocchio (Steve Barron 1996); The "Space: 1999" Documentary (tv documentary) (Tim Mallett and Glenn Pearce 1996); Merry Christmas, George Bailey (tv movie) (Matthew Diamond 1997); The X-Files (Rob Bowman 1998); The X-Files Movie Special (documentary; host) (Thomas C. Grane 1998); The New Adventures of Pinocchio (Michael ANDERSON 1999); Sleepy Hollow (uncredited) (Burton 1999); "Ed Wood" (1999), episode of E! Mysteries and Scandals; "Tim Burton" (1999), episode of The Directors; In the Beginning (tv movie) (Kevin Connor 2000); Inside TV Land: Get Smart (tv documentary) (Daniel Snyder 2001); Space: 1899 (video short) (Gareth Randall 2004); Making Bela (documentary short) (2004); Reflections on "The X-Files" (documentary short) (2004).
 
The strikingly different careers of the long-married Martin Landau and Barbara BAIN—who are being added to this encyclopedia simultaneously—illustrate an unfortunate truth about Hollywood, and perhaps about human nature itself. Young actresses are eagerly welcomed and cherished by the film industry, which quickly provides them with many fulfilling opportunities, but then, as they age, they are cruelly cast aside. Young actors are often subjected to a series of humiliations, but if they survive the ordeal and keep working, they later may find themselves experiencing a remarkable "comeback" as they are suddenly embraced by Hollywood in their golden years, given the best roles of their careers, and showered with honors and acclaim. Of course, there are exceptions to the pattern—lionized young actors like James Dean, rediscovered elderly actresses like Jessica Tandy—but more often than not, it seems, actors are allowed by circumstances to get better and better, while actresses are forced by circumstances to get worse and worse.

The early years of Martin Landau are not a pretty sight. Despite training at Lee Strasberg's Actors Studio and a youthful friendship with James Dean, Landau's serious expression and sharp features initially usually doomed him to be typecast as a vaguely foreign villain, most conspicuously in Alfred HITCHCOCK's North by Northwest, the sort of role that demands little in the way of acting skills. About the only time he was able to distinguish himself was in an episode of The Outer Limits, "The Man Who Was Never Born," where he managed to be remarkably sympathetic even when buried underneath some of the most hideous makeup ever created for the series. At this point, Gene RODDENBERRY reportedly wanted him to play Mr. Spock on his new series, Star Trek, and he probably would have worn the Vulcan ears with distinction; however, the part went to another young Jewish actor, Leonard NIMOY. Instead, success finally came to Landau only when his wife landed a regular role in another new series, Mission: Impossible, and she was able to arrange for her husband to make some regular guest appearances as Rollin Hand, master of disguise. The character proved so popular that he was able to negotiate a lucrative contract to be a regular star for the next two seasons. Still, while visibly intelligent and competent, he was not particularly warm, and the cost-conscious producers decided (correctly) that having him leave in a salary dispute would not unduly harm the series; and, in a sort of turnaround, Nimoy was immediately hired as his more than satisfactory replacement. Landau's departure did force his wife to give up the best role she had ever had, and many observers undoubtedly thought that was she crazy to stick with this loser instead of tending to the interests of her own career, which at that point seemed infinitely more promising.

A desire to keep working together then led Landau and Bain into the clutches of Gerry and Sylvia ANDERSON and the infamous debacle of Space: 1999. Miscast as the commander of Earth's errant Moon inanely careening through the galaxy, Landau did his best to channel William SHATNER as a passionate, involved leader, but an army of Shatners couldn't have saved this supremely silly series. Landau's fortunes subsequently continued to decline, with low points that included the television movie The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island and an execrable horror movie, The Being. Probably feeling bitter about how Hollywood was treating him, he must have relished the opportunity to play a film worker seeking revenge against unscrupulous bosses in an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, "Final Twist," and when he was reduced to appearing in a Fred Olen RAY movie, Cyclone, one might have reasonably concluded that his acting career was essentially over.

It is at this point that something remarkable happened: Landau was rediscovered as a capable and appealing "character actor" and he started to land choice roles in major films like Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988) and Woody ALLEN's Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989). With wrinkles in his face and some gray in his hair, Landau suddenly seemed charming and lovable, and he proved especially impressive playing Bela LUGOSI in Tim BURTON's otherwise uninteresting Ed Wood, earning an Academy Award as the year's Best Supporting Actor. However, these Indian Summers in an actor's life never last forever, and Landau's more recent efforts have received less critical acclaim: two routine portrayals of Pinocchio's foster father Geppetto, a solid contribution to the film version of The X-Files, an uncredited cameo in Burton's Sleepy Hollow, and several appearances in nostalgic documentaries. But if the Internet Movie Database is to be believed, Landau is now slated to appear in two forthcoming films and a new television series, and this better-than-ever actor, now in his seventies, may still be able to awe viewers with another stunning performance, even as his ex-wife Bain stagnates in semi-retirement. Life isn't fair.

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