Though Martin Landau was a two-time Oscar nominee when Tim Burton tabbed him to play Bela Legosi in 1994’s Ed Wood, he identified with the Hungarian horror has-been and the deliciously awful 1950s director. After all, Landau’s roller-coaster career included credits like The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island.
Landau died Saturday in Los Angeles at the age of 89, his agent confirmed to EW. The Brooklyn-born actor became famous in 1959 when he battled Cary Grant atop Mount Rushmore in North by Northwest. But after a highly successful three-year run as master-of-disguise Rollin Hand on TV’s Mission: Impossible, the actor who’d crafted his art alongside James Dean and mentored Jack Nicholson discovered the movie business had lost interest in him. “Back then, movie directors felt that audiences wouldn’t pay to see somebody they could see for free on TV,” Landau said in 1994.