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Biography #2 (for The Majestic)

Martin Landau took home a mantle full of acting awards for his astonishing portrayal of fading horror movie icon Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton's bittersweet biopic, Ed Wood. Those honors included the Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor; the Golden Globe from the Hollywood Foreign Press; the American Comedy Award; all the major film critics' prizes, including those from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Texas and the National Society of Film Critics circles; and the first 'The Actor' statue from the Screen Actors Guild.

Landau's long career in theatre, television and motion pictures spans over five decades and 88 feature films. Auditioning along with 2,000 other hopefuls in 1955, Landau was accepted as a Life Member in Lee Strasberg's world renowned Actors Studio (along with another rising talent, Steve McQueen, the pair being the only actors accepted that year). He gained experience under the tutelage of some of the theatre's greatest directors, including Elia Kazan, Harold Clurman, Bobby Lewis, Curt Conway and Strasberg. Moving into professional theatre, he found immediate success on the New York stage in Goat Song, Middle of the Night, The Penguin, Stalag 17 and First Love.

Landau has guest-starred on hundreds of classic television series, among them The Untouchables, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Maverick, The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Wagon Train, I Spy, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. And, he created the memorable character of Rollin Hand on the television show, Mission: Impossible, earning three Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe. He also starred on the science fiction series, Space: 1999, which has achieved worldwide cult status.

Landau landed on the West Coast in Paddy Chayefsky's hit Broadway play, Middle of the Night. His performance attracted attention from Alfred Hitchcock, who cast the young actor in his first motion picture, the classic thriller, North By Northwest. He also won roles with such respected filmmakers as Lewis Milestone (Pork Chop Hill), George Stevens (The Greatest Story Ever Told), John Sturges (The Hallelujah Trail), Joseph L. Mankiewicz (Cleopatra) and Henry Hathaway (Nevada Smith).

In 1988, Landau received his first Academy Award nomination for his work as the disillusioned financier, Abe Karatz, in Francis Coppola's Tucker: The Man and His Dream. He followed the next year with another Academy Award nomination as the murderous ophthalmologist, Judah Rosenthal, in Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors.

More recently, he co-starred in such films as EDtv, The X-Files: Fight the Future, City Hall, Sliver, Intersection, The Adventures of Pinocchio (and its sequel, The New Adventures of Pinocchio), Rounders, The Joy Riders, Ready to Rumble, Carlo's Wake and, in an uncredited role, Sleepy Hollow. Upcoming roles include the Miramax feature Shiner with Michael Caine and Very Mean Men, in which he co-stars with Matthew Modine and Charles Durning.

For his work in cable television, Landau won the CableACE Award for the feature Legacy of Lies, and earned two additional nominations for By Dawn's Early Light and Max and Helen. He recently was seen on three miniseries -- the title role in Bonnano: A Godfather's Story, NBC's In the Beginning and Haven.

Another facet to Landau's legacy is his work as a director and teacher at the Actor's Studio West, where he currently resides in the post of Executive Director. For more than a quarter century, he has helped guide the talents of such actors as Warren Oates, Harry Dean Stanton, Anjelica Huston and Jack Nicholson, among others.

Bio courtesy Warner Bros. for "The Majestic" (08-Feb-2003)


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