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Jon Landau, Producer of ‘Titanic’ and ‘Avatar,’ Dies at 63


Jon Landau, an Oscar-winning producer and longtime collaborator of the director James Cameron who helped bring to life three of the highest-grossing films of all time, “Titanic” and the two “Avatar” movies, died on Friday in Los Angeles. He was 63.

Mr. Landau’s death was confirmed by his family in a statement provided by the Walt Disney Company. It did not give a cause of death.

Mr. Landau and Mr. Cameron’s decades-long collaboration made box office history. Their first film together, “Titanic,” became the first movie to gross more than $1 billion globally after its 1997 release. Its total earnings record, $1.84 billion, was broken by the next film they made together, the science-fiction epic “Avatar” (2009).

“Titanic” was nominated for 14 Oscars and won 11, including for best picture, an award Mr. Cameron and Mr. Landau shared.

“I can’t act and I can’t compose and I can’t do visual effects, so I guess that’s why I’m producing,” Mr. Landau said in his acceptance speech.

Jon Landau was born on July 23, 1960, in New York City. His first exposure to filmmaking was through his parents, Ely and Edie Landau, who were both producers.

He studied at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles and later worked as a production manager on films including “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” (1989) and “Dick Tracy” (1990).

He became the executive vice president of feature productions at 20th Century Fox, where he oversaw films including “Home Alone” (1990), “Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993) and “Speed” (1994).

It was during this time that he met Mr. Cameron, who was directing “True Lies” (1994), an action comedy distributed by 20th Century Fox, according to the statement. When Mr. Landau decided to leave the company, Mr. Cameron asked if he wanted to read the script for a project code-named “Planet Ice.” That project would become “Titanic” and kick off a partnership that lasted decades.

The second film Mr. Landau and Mr. Cameron made together, “Avatar,” grossed nearly $3 billion worldwide and was nominated for nine Oscars. It won for best art direction, best cinematography and best visual effects. A sequel, “Avatar: The Way of Water,” was released in 2022.

Mr. Landau also worked as the chief operating officer of Mr. Cameron’s production studio, Lightstorm Entertainment, and was the driving force behind a Walt Disney World attraction based on the “Avatar” movies.

Mr. Landau is survived by his wife, Julie Landau; their two sons, Jamie and Jodie; a brother, Les, and two sisters, Tina Landau and Kathy Landau.



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