The Gumps Sunday page of 24 April 1949, possibly by Landau

Martin Landau was an American movie and television actor, who began his career as a cartoonist, working for the New York Daily News and Gus Edson's newspaper comic 'The Gumps'. Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1928, Landau got his artistic education at the Pratt Institute. He got a job with the New York Daily News as a 17-year old kid in 1945. He was hired as cartoonist and illustrator. He served as an assistant to theatrical caricaturist Horace Knight, and provided the illustrations for Billy Rose's column 'Pitching Horseshoes'. He shared an office with Bill Holman, and especially admired the work of artists like Will Eisner, Milton Caniff, Winsor McCay, Roy Crane and George Herriman. He also replaced Sam Hale as Gus Edson's assistant on the family comic 'The Gumps' in the late 1940s. Landau worked with Edson for about a year. He started out with lettering and doing backgrounds, and eventually provided the art for the Sunday page on his own. Landau worked for the Daily News until 1951, and then focused on acting. He is often confused with the comic book artist Ken Landau, but there is no relation.

Landau attended the Actors Studio, where he was trained alongside James Dean and Steve McQueen. He made his movie debut in Alfred Hitchcock's 'North by Northwest' in 1959, and subsequently appeared as a character actor in several films until the 2000s. He had mostly supporting roles in such movies as 'Cleopatra' (1963), 'The Greatest Story Ever Told' (1965), 'Nevada Smith' (1965), 'The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island' (1981), 'Tucker: The Man and His Dream' (1988), 'Crimes and Misdemeanors' (1989), 'Ed Wood' (1994), 'Mistress' (1992), 'City Hall' (1995), 'Rounders' (1998), 'The Majestic' (2001), 'Lovely, Still' (2008), and 'Have a Little Faith' (2011). Landau received an Academy Award for 'Best Supporting Actor' thanks to his amazing believable performance of real-life horror actor Béla Lugosi in Tim Burton's biopic 'Ed Wood'. He is however best remembered for his role as master of disguise Rollin Hand in the TV series 'Mission: Impossible' (1967-1969) and as Commander John Koenig in the British sci-fi series 'Space: 1999' (1975-1977).

His final connection to the comics field was providing the voice of the villain Scorpion in the first two seasons of the animated TV show based on Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's 'Spider-Man' (1994-1995). Landau furthermore served as a coach for actors like Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston. He was married to actrice Barbara Bain. His daughters Susan and Juliet are also active in the movie industry. Martin Landau passed away in Los Angeles, California, on 15 July 2017 at the age of 89.

Martin Landau

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