David Landau (actor)

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David Landau
Taxi film still.jpg
David Landau, James Cagney, and Loretta Young in Taxi! (1932)
Born David H. Magee
(1879-03-09)March 9, 1879
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died September 20, 1935(1935-09-20) (aged 56)
Hollywood, California, U.S.
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California[1]
Occupation Stage and film actor
Years active 1919-1935
Spouse(s) Frances Landau (born Sarah Frances Newhall; m. 1903-1935; his death)[2]
Partner(s) Delight Howell[2]

David Landau (born David H. Magee; March 9, 1879,[3] Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – September 20, 1935, Hollywood, California) was an American stage and film actor who appeared in 33 films between 1931-35. He appeared on Broadway in 12 plays from 1919 to 1929.[4]

He was born in Philadelphia, the son of Robert Magee, who emigrated from County Londonderry, Ireland, and listed his occupation as gardener on the 1880 census. His mother, Maryann, was Pennsylvania-born of Irish and English descent. Magee studied law at the University of Pennsylvania. In order to improve his diction he took a class in dramatics. He eventually abandoned his law studies, and appeared in his first film in 1931. It is unclear how he came upon his stage surname "Landau".

In 1934 he suffered a stroke from which he never recovered.[1] He is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.[1]


The circumstances of his two marriages are murky. His first wife was legally concluded by a court to have been actress Frances Landau (born Sarah Frances Newhall). In his will David Landau questioned whether Frances had obtained a legal divorce from her previous husband, Edwin T. Emory, in 1900 before she had married him in 1903. Landau directed in his will that if Frances could prove her legal divorce from her previous husband, “the smallest legal amount” possible.[2]

The court's recognition, however, set the stage for Frances to legally contest David's will, which left his estate ($3,803) to “the best friend I ever had … in payment for her loyalty in spite of adversity”, one Delight Howell, with whom, according to the 1930 U.S. census, he was living in New York. Howell is listed as "Lodger". Frances Landau claimed that Howell had taken advantage of her husband ... to make him believe that he and Frances had never been legally married. His funeral announcement in the Los Angeles Times referred to him as "[the] beloved husband of Delight Landau"; his obituary in the New York Times cited “Mrs. Delight Landau, his widow, survives.”[2]

Partial filmography[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "David Landau (1879-1935) profile". Findagrave.com. Retrieved August 26, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d "David Landau, the Pre-Code Era's Own Bitter Man". Immortalephemera.com. September 24, 2012. Retrieved August 26, 2017. 
  3. ^ Some sources cite 1878
  4. ^ Profile, Internet Broadway Database; accessed August 26, 2017.

External links[edit]