There are few actors out there who have as strong or as deed of a resume as Landau did in the business — while his role on Mission: Impossible is easily his most famous TV credit, he took on many other roles across the board, including some guest spots on Without a Trace and Entourage that netted him a great deal of attention with critics and awards shows. (He actually reprised his Entourage role of Bob Ryan in the recent motion picture.) One of his last major TV roles was in The Evidence a little over a decade ago when he was still actively working in that medium — though to be fair, he was still working in film until right at the time of his death. He loved the craft far too much to consider letting it go.
There are some roles that Landau took on in various mediums that could genuinely surprise you — for example, that he voiced the villain Scorpion in the classic 1960’s Spider-Man cartoon. Who saw that coming? He was also a part of The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and even “The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island,” strange as it may seem. He’s clearly a guy with a robust resume who clearly loved what he did.
What may surprise many people out there now is that Landau had an opportunity to play another part in a classic series in Star Trek. Per The Hollywood Reporter, he said the following on that during a 2011 episode of the PBS documentary show Pioneers of Television:
“I turned down Star Trek. It would’ve been torturous,” he said during a 2011 edition of the PBS documentary series Pioneers of Television. “I would’ve probably died playing that role. I mean, even the thought of it now upsets me. It was the antithesis of why I became an actor. I mean, to play a character that Lenny (Nimoy) was better suited for, frankly, a guy who speaks in a monotone who never gets excited, never has any guilt, never has any fear or was affected on a visceral level. Who wants to do that?”
Our thoughts and condolences are with Landau’s family and loved ones during what has to be a very difficult time. Hopefully there will be more ways to honor him throughout the coming year. (Photo: Mission: Impossible.)