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Martin Landau as Rollin Hand in Mission Impossible
In re-watching the first season of Mission Impossible recently it hit me how Martin Landau who played Rollin Hand, “the world’s greatest impersonator” was one of the first men that I understood as handsome.
I don’t mean that I felt sexually attracted to him. Rather that when I saw his face it registered semi-consciously as attractive. I think I also saw him as worldly and what was called sophisticated back then. (Something very mysterious to a young boy in Savannah back then. When I saw Jack Lemmon in a movie trailer he was so obviously urban that I found him amazingly alien.)
Martin Landau was someone I might want to look like. That abstract but deeply personal attractiveness is something I find in actors rarely.
Also from childhood, Carl Betz: a mostly forgotten actor who played Donna Reed ‘s husband on the family sitcom to which she lent her name. His voice and smile were rich in manly affection and sympathy.
The young Jean-Claude Van Damme, back before he grew coarse and had masculine innocence that suggested he was quite baffled by the world’s wickedness.
Hugh Grant when he channels Jimmy Stewart’s fetching stammer.
Cary Grant and Fred Astaire are beyond imagining.