RIP Martin Landau

People remember Martin Landau as Rollin Hand in the TV series Mission: Impossible, or maybe his numerous appearances on The Twilight Zone. Or for his Academy Award-winning role as Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood. I will always remember him as Commander John Koenig in the TV series Space: 1999. Laundau appeared in 79 movies and dozens of TV shows. Landau died unexpectedly Saturday from complications during a hospital stay in Los Angeles.

"Mission: Impossible," which also starred Landau's wife, Barbara Bain, became an immediate hit upon its debut in 1966. It remained on the air until 1973, but Landau and Bain left at the end of the show's third season amid a financial dispute with the producers. They starred in the British-made sci-fi series "Space: 1999" from 1975 to 1977.

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 half-Vulcan, half-human who attempts to rid his life of all emotion. Landau turned it down.

"A character without emotions would have driven me crazy; I would have had to be lobotomized," he explained in 2001. Instead, he chose "Mission: Impossible," and Leonard Nimoy went on to everlasting fame as Spock.

Ironically, Nimoy replaced Landau on "Mission: Impossible."

Laundau was 89. -via Metafilter


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