The Daily Heller: Martin Landau Gave Up a Great Cartoon Job for Acting

Posted inThe Daily Heller

In a 2010 interview with former NPR “Talk of the Nation” host Neal Conan, one of my favorite actors, Martin Landau (1928–2017), revealed that he started his career as a cartoonist for the New York Daily News (for Billy Rose’s “Pitching Horseshoes” column, and as an assistant cartoonist to Gus Edson for “The Gumps” comic strip, a copy of which he is said to have worked on below). The TV series “Mission Impossible” and “Space 1999,” not to mention Hitchcock’s North By Northwest, would have been very different without his masterly versatile nuances.

Here is an excerpt from the NPR interview:

LANDAU: I started on The New York Daily News as a kid when I was 17 years old, as a cartoonist and illustrator, and I was being groomed to be the theatrical caricaturist. And I know if I got that job, I’d never quit. So I quit.

CONAN: So you were getting offered a—you believed you were about to be offered a nice, cushy job in newspapers, and then …

LANDAU: It was a great job, actually. I’d go to opening nights, and the PR people would give me 8x10s of the dress rehearsal. And I would go home, actually—I didn’t have to go to the news building—and do a drawing of the cast, which would appear in a Sunday paper. If there were two openings that week, two drawings. The old fellow, Horace Knight(ph), was an old English fellow who had that job was retiring. And I was—I had the ability to do that. So I—but I knew I wanted to go into the theater. I mean, I wanted to act. And I knew if I got that job—which was, again, a cushy job and very well-paying job, and the only—you know, I mean, my style was sort of a nouveau, art nouveau style, an art deco style, as opposed to Hirschfeld’s, who had a very flowing line.

Source: The Comics Beat Blog
Posted inThe Daily Heller