Jon Landau, producer of ‘Titanic’ and ‘Avatar’, dies at 63

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

Mr. Landau’s death was confirmed by his family in a statement released by the Walt Disney Company. No cause of death was given.

Mr. Landau and Mr. Cameron’s decades-long partnership made box office history. Their first film together, “Titanic,” became the first movie to gross more than $1 billion worldwide upon its release in 1997. The total grossing record, $1.84 billion, was broken by their next film together, the sci-fi epic “Avatar” (2009).

“Titanic” was nominated for 14 Oscars and won 11, including Best Picture, a prize shared by Cameron and Landau.

“I can’t act, I can’t compose and I can’t do visual effects, so I guess that’s why I produce,” 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 attended the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles and later worked as a production manager on films such as “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” (1989) and “Dick Tracy” (1990).

He became executive vice president of feature film production at 20th Century Fox, where he oversaw such films as “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 him to read the script for a project code-named “Planet Ice.” That project would become “Titanic” and mark the beginning of a partnership that would last for decades.

Mr. Landau and Mr. Cameron’s second film together, “Avatar,” grossed nearly $3 billion worldwide and was nominated for nine Oscars, winning for best art direction, best cinematography and best visual effects. A sequel, “Avatar: The Way of Water,” is scheduled for release in 2022.

Mr. Landau also served as 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” films.

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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