Oscar-Winning Producer Jon Landau Dies at 63

Oscar-Winning Producer Jon Landau Dies at 63

Jon Landau, an Oscar-winning producer who collaborated closely with director James Cameron on “Titanic” and the “Avatar” series, has passed away at 63.

Alan Bergman, Disney Entertainment’s co-chairman, announced Landau’s death in a statement on Saturday. No cause of death was provided.

“Jon was a visionary whose extraordinary talent and passion brought some of the most unforgettable stories to life on the big screen. His remarkable contributions to the film industry have left an indelible mark, and he will be profoundly missed. He was an iconic and successful producer yet an even better person and a true force of nature who inspired all around him,” Bergman said.

Landau’s partnership with Cameron resulted in three Oscar nominations and a Best Picture win for 1997’s “Titanic.” Together, the duo created some of the biggest blockbusters in movie history, including “Avatar” and its sequel, “Avatar: The Way of Water.”

Landau’s career began in the 1980s as a production manager, and he gradually rose through the ranks until taking on a producer role for “Titanic,” Cameron’s expensive epic about the infamous disaster. The gamble paid off: “Titanic” became the first movie to cross $1 billion in global box office earnings and went on to win 11 Oscars, including Best Picture.

“I can’t act and I can’t compose and I can’t do visual effects. I guess that’s why I’m producing,” Landau said while accepting the award with Cameron.

Their partnership continued, with Landau becoming a top executive at Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment. In 2009, the pair watched as “Avatar,” a sci-fi epic filmed and shown in theaters with groundbreaking 3-D technology, surpassed the box office success of “Titanic.” It remains the top-grossing film of all time. Its sequel, “Avatar: The Way of Water,” is third on the list.

Landau had been a key player in the “Avatar” franchise, which experienced frequent delays in the release of “The Way of Water.” Landau defended the sequel’s progress and Cameron’s ambitious plans to film multiple sequels simultaneously to keep the franchise going.

“A lot has changed, but a lot hasn’t,” Landau told the Associated Press in 2022, a few months ahead of the sequel’s release. “One of the things that has not changed is: Why do people turn to entertainment today? Just like they did when the first ‘Avatar’ was released, they do it to escape, to escape the world in which we live.”

Landau was named executive vice president of feature films at 20th Century Fox at age 29, leading him to oversee major hits like “Home Alone” and its sequel, as well as “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “True Lies,” where he first began working closely with Cameron.

Born in New York on July 23, 1960, Landau was the son of film producers Ely and Edie Landau. Ely Landau passed away in 1993, and Edie Landau, the Oscar-nominated producer of films such as “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” “Hopscotch,” and “The Deadly Game,” passed away in 2022.

Jon Landau is survived by his wife of nearly 40 years, Julie, and their sons, Jamie and Jodie.


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