Martin Landau’s distinguished acting career spans five decades. He has been honored with many awards including a 1994 Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as ‘Bela Lugosi’ in Tim Burton’s “Ed Wood.” Landau also received two prior Oscar nominations: in 1988 for his performance as ‘Abe Karatz’ in Francis Ford Coppola’s “Tucker,” and in 1989 for his role as ‘Judah Rosenthal’ in Woody Allen’s “Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Most recently, he reunited with Tim Burton for “Frankenweenie.”
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Landau studied Fine Art at the prestigious Pratt Institute and went on to work as an artist at the New York Daily News. In his early twenties, he began to study theatre at Lee Strasberg’s Actor’s Studio and went on to forge a successful career on Broadway. Landau’s early stage credits include the role of “Juvan” in Franz Werfel’s Goat Song, as well as roles in “Stalag 17”, “First Love”, “The Penguin” and “Middle of the Night.”
As television quickly gained prominence, Landau soon landed starring roles on several network programs including “Omnibus Presents Oscar Wilde’s Salome,” opposite Eartha Kitt and Patricia Neal. He also appeared on Studio One, The Philco Playhouse, Goodyear Playhouse, Kraft Theatre, Armstrong Circle Theatre and Playhouse 90, among many others during television’s Golden Age.
It was Landau’s performance in the national tour of Paddy Chayafsky’s hit Broadway play “Middle of the Night” that caught the attention of Hollywood’s producers and directors. He was soon to appear on the big screen in Alfred Hitchcock’s “North By Northwest,” Lewis Milestone’s “Pork Chop Hill,” George Stevens’ “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” John Sturges’ “The Hallelujah Trail,” Henry Hathaway’s “Nevada Smith” and Joseph L. Mankiewicz’ “Cleopatra,” with co-stars Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Rex Harrison.
Recently added to Landau’s long list of over 100 films, are Frank Darabont’s “The Majestic,” in which he co-starred with Jim Carrey, Ron Shelton’s “Hollywood Homicide” with Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett, starring as “Gepetto” in “Pinocchio and The New Adventures of Pinocchio”, “Shiner” with Michael Caine and Wake produced by daughter Susie Landau Finch, and written and directed by son-in-law, Roy Finch.
On television Landau is probably best known for his work on two hugely popular series “Mission: Impossible” and “Space: 1999,” as well as literally hundreds of episodic shows as a guest-star. His credits also include dozens of movies-of-the-week and miniseries. Currently, Landau is appearing as Anthony LaPaglia’s father on the hit TV series “Without a Trace,” in which he was nominated for an Emmy Award.
After a 15-year hiatus from theatre, Landau recently returned to his roots, appearing on-stage in the world premiere of a play about a Palestinian and a Jew entitled “Sixteen Wounded” at New Haven’s Long Wharf Theatre. He was so affected upon reading the piece, he immediately committed to appearing in it. The response by both critics and public was staggering. The play, by Eliam Kraiem sold out every night during its six-week run, breaking a 36 year house record at the Long Wharf’s popular Stage II, leaving its audiences in a tearful state of shock.
In addition to his Oscar, Landau’s body of work has earned him many other honors and numerous awards including three Golden Globe Awards, The Screen Actors Guild Award, three Cable Ace Nominations, one Cable Ace Award, three Emmy Nominations, numerous Critics Awards including The New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Texas, Boston and National Society of Film Critics Awards, a Belgian Viewers Best Actor Award, a Brazilian Saci Award and a Biography in both Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World. In December 2001 he was honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He recently received several Lifetime Achievement Awards: the German Golden Camera Award (Berlin Film Festival), the REMI Award (Houston Film Festival), the Wedgewood Award (Chicago’s Goodman Theatre) and the Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Charleston, San Diego and the 2002 Independent Film Festivals. Martin Landau is Executive Director, along with Mark Rydell and Sydney Pollack, of the Actor’s Studio’s West Coast Branch.
Landau lives in Los Angeles.