Martin Landau 1928-2017

Johnny Depp was Ed Wood in all his neurosis
But yet it was understood the film was Lugosi’s
Martin Landau got a break with the part
Past failures palled and got a stake in the heart

He won an Oscar, should have had more
Like for the Doctor who killed his paramour
He briefly revived Woody Allen’s career
(who continues to contrive year after year)

The son of a machinist, the depression in Brooklyn
Where streets were the meanest but somehow they took him
To Pratt Institute where he learned illustration
Worked for the Daily News but he wanted ovations

At Actors Studio he met Steve McQueen
Dated Monroe, best friends with James Dean
His bits  were small and yet he progressed
Then Hitch changed it all with “North by Northwest”

Then came TV he thought stardom a given
But improbably he’d barely started his mission
The end was abrupt, the show fell apart
And self destruct was the arc of his art

Could one fall farther until the  exile
To “The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Isle”?
He must have shuttered, the streets again meaner
But then came “Tucker” and then “Misdemeanors”

He finished his run at the top of his game
When we are done, may we say the same
Let us live to astonish, though our parts are small
And with mission accomplished, we gracefully fall

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