The film brought him an Academy Award nomination.
During the episode, Landau told stories about his early days as a struggling actor in New York City studying under the legendary Lee Strasberg and roaming the streets of the city with the likes of James Dean. But he didn’t see a future in that line of work. His acting career began in earnest when he was one of only two applicants accepted to the Actor’s Studio in 1955 – of the 2,000 to audition, only he and Steve McQueen made the cut that year. “In a well-written script, the dialogue … is what [characters] are willing to share”, Landau said in 2001.
“I think he enjoyed the challenge”. His character, a henchman who menaces star Cary Grant, meets his demise beneath the Mount Rushmore busts of US presidents. “To this day, I can still hear my mother’s voice saying, ‘You did what?!'”
He and Bain divorced, and Landau spent the 1980s in roles in mostly obscure films. Instead, however, he was stuck in roles as sinister heavies.
“It helped me get better roles and more roles and better money”, he told The Hollywood Reporter, but “then I went back to just being a normal actor”.
Though his workload slowed in the 2000s, Landau continued to perform in films all the way up until 2015.
Normality for Landau meant he never became a Hollywood A-lister, but he saw a benefit in not being a highly sought-after actor. He is survived by his daughters Susie and Juliet from his marriage to Bain, sister Elinor, granddaughter Aria and godson Dylan.
Though he worked consistently, his movie career didn’t kick into high gear again until he was 60.
He won his first Oscar nomination for his role in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1988 film Tucker: The Man And His Dream.
At the Actors Studio, he briefly dated Marilyn Monroe (who was taking classes) and married fellow student Bain.
More recently, Landau earned Emmy noms for playing the father of Anthony LaPaglia’s character on CBS’ Without a Trace and guest-starring as an out-of-touch movie producer on HBO’s Entourage.
In a 2011 TV interview, he said, “I turned down Star Trek“.
In the last two decades, Landau starred in Sleepy Hollow, Frankenweenie, The X-Files: Fight the Future, Rounders, Edtv, The Majestic, Lovely, Still, and Mysteria. “I would’ve probably died playing that role”.