by Herbie J Pilato
The consummate actor and the consummate professional, terms seemingly created for actor Martin Landau, who passed away on July 15, 2017 at age 89 after a brief hospitalization at the UCLA Medical Center.
With a refined manner and eloquent style and speech, the multi-award-winning and nominated Landau brought significant realism to each of his roles for television, film and the stage. Landau ignited his acting career in the 1950s, after he worked as a cartoonist for the New York Daily News.
Accepted into the prestigious Lee Strasberg Actors Studio from among two thousand applicants (with classmates such as Steve McQueen and James Dean), Landau premiered on Broadway in Middle of the Night in 1957. He was best known to TV viewers for three years as the lead master-of-disguise spy Rollin Hand on the original Mission:Impossible weekly espionage show (CBS, 1966-1973), in which he teamed with his then wife Barbara Bain (wed from 1957 to 1993).