It was his role as the haunting Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton's biopic, Ed Wood, that finally scored him the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1994. However, after three years of trying to crack the impossible mission, Landau left the show when he could not settle a contractual agreement with the producers. He won the Oscar for the "Ed Wood" role.
He first played a soldier in Pork Chop Hill and then a villain in the Alfred Hitchcock classic North By Northwest.
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Landau also is remembered for a role he did not get. Over his seven decade career, Landau appeared in hundreds of projects.
After a brief, but impressive Broadway career, New York-born Landau made his film debut in 1959.
His film roles ranged from the grand to the quirky, from "Cleopatra" to "The Greatest Story Ever Told". He contributed a memorable turn to "The X-Files" movie in 1998, worked for Burton again in "Sleepy Hollow" and took roles in "Rounders", "The Majestic" and "Hollywood Homicide". Nicholson once credited his acting abilities to Landau.
He started doing it, acting, in his early twenties after ending a five-year stint he began at age 17 as a New York Daily News cartoonist. They divorced in 1993 and had two children together. He had the goods: Landau was the other guy accepted to Lee Strasberg's legendary Actor's Studio alongside Steve McQueen in 1955; it was there that he met his future wife and co-star, Barbara Bain. But it was Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest that shot him to fame.