The Oscar-winning actor played a villain opposite Steve McQueen in “Nevada Smith.”
Depending on your age bracket, and your preferences when it comes to moviegoing and television viewing, you might remember Martin Landau best for his TV roles in Mission: Impossible and Space: 1999, or his memorable film performances in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood (which brought him his first Academy Award, for his persuasive portrayal of an aged Bela Lugosi), Alfred Hitchcock’s North By Northwest, Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors, and Francis Coppola’s Tucker: The Man and His Dream.
Look a bit closer at his lengthy resume, however, and you’ll see the Brooklyn-born actor — who passed away Saturday at age 89 — also appeared in several movie and TV westerns.
On the big screen, he played a gambler who gains control of his fellow stranded passengers in Stagecoach to Dancers’ Rock (1962), a hard-drinking Indian chief named Walks Stooped-Over in The Hallelujah Trail (1965), one of three killers hunted by a vengeful Steve McQueen in Nevada Smith (1966), and a brutal Army colonel on the trail of a bandit in A Town Called Hell (1971).
Like many other actors of his generation, Landau landed guest starring roles in many TV westerns during the 1950s and ’60s, including Lawman, Gunsmoke, Tales of Wells Fargo, Wagon Train, Bonanza, The Rifleman, and The Big Valley.
Here is Landau in a 1960 episode of the short-lived western Tate.