In Memoriam – Martin Landau – 1928-2017
My first Encounter with Martin Landau was probably the Sci-Fi show Space: 1999. Here in Sweden the show was aired as “Månbas Alpha” which translated means “Moon Base Alpha”. I don’t know which is the better title for the show but it really doesn’t matter. When the show was released in Sweden a few years ago I had very vague memories of it. I got the series though and I started to remember fragments of it. Martin Landau played the part of Commander Koenig. It’s a Star Trek kind of series even if the basic conditions are different. In Star Trek the goal was to explore. In Space: 1999 the premise was to survive as the moon base spirals away from earth with no means to return.
A few years earlier Martin Landau was part of the great series Mission Impossible. He played the part of a master of disguise – Rollin Hand. Which means that when in disguise he was mostly played by the actor he was supposed to impersonate. Nevertheless he made a great contribution.
Looking back even further we find portrayals in series like The man from U.N.C.L.E., The Twilight Zone, The Greatest Show on Earth and The Outer Limits. I can’t really comment on those performances since I don’t recall seeing them but it seems to me that TV-series was a great media for Martin Landau.
During the 80s and 90s there’s not so much to take notice of I think. Of course I haven’t seen all series and movies he made at this time but there seems to be lots of small parts and only a few main characters or big supporting cast roles. An exception is of course his portrayal of Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton’s great movie Ed Wood from 1994. That was the role that lead him to win an oscar. And I must say that he was marvelous in that part! He was also honored with and own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Martin Landau was 89 years old. Rest in Peace.