Though he got his start as an actor during the golden age of television in the 1950s, Martin Landau had to wait until the late 1980s until he became a widely recognized commodity. After five years as a cartoonist, Landau switched gears to become an actor, performing in live television productions before graduating to Hollywood features in the 1960s. Toward the latter half of that precarious decade, he landed his first truly memorable role, playing master of disguise Rollin Hand on the hit spy series, "Mission: Impossible" (CBS, 1966-1973). Though the show lasted for seven seasons, Landau left after the third because of a contractual dispute - a move that left the actor struggling to find quality roles for almost two decades. Landau had a particularly rough time during the 1980s despite a steady string of work, mainly as a one-dimensional villain in projects more concerned with car chases and explosions than character or story. He finally re-emerged with Oscar-nominated roles in "Tucker: The Man and His Dream" (1988) and "Crimes and Misdemeanors" (1989), eventually winning his first Academy Award for his spot-on portrayal of aging silent film star Bela Lugosi in "Ed Wood" (1994), all of which paved the way for higher profile projects for an actor always capable of quality performances.