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Martin Landau, versatile Oscar-winning actor, dies

LOS ANGELES — Martin Landau, the chameleon-like actor who gained fame as the crafty master of disguise in the 1960s TV show Mission: Impossible, then capped a long and versatile career with an Oscar for his poignant portrayal of aging horror movie star Bela Lugosi in 1994’s “Ed Wood,” has died. Mr. Landau died Saturday of unexpected complications during a short stay at UCLA Medical Center, publicist Dick Guttman said. Impossible, which also starred Mr. Landau’s wife, Barbara Bain, became an immediate hit upon its debut in 1966. Mr. Landau might have been a superstar but for a role he didn’t play — the pointy-eared starship Enterprise science officer, Mr. Spock. “Star Trek” creator Gene Rodenberry had offered him the role of the half Vulcan, half human who attempts to rid his life of all emotion. After a brief but impressive Broadway career, Mr. Landau had made an auspicious film debut in the late 1950s, playing a soldier in “Pork Chop Hill” and a villain in the Alfred Hitchcock classic “North by Northwest.” The New York-born Mr. Landau had studied drawing at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and worked for a time as a New York Daily News cartoonist before switching careers at age 22.

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