Jon Landau, Oscar-winning producer of 'Titanic' and 'Avatar' dies aged 63

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By Asiya Ali

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Jon Landau, an Oscar-winning producer who worked on Titanic and the Avatar franchise, has passed away aged 63.

GettyImages-1465440619.jpgLandau has passed away aged 63. Credit: Rebecca Sapp / Getty

The devastating news was announced on Saturday (July 6) in a statement issued by Alan Bergman, Disney Entertainment co-chairman. His cause of death was not disclosed.

“Jon was a visionary whose extraordinary talent and passion brought some of the most unforgettable stories to life on the big screen," he said, as cited by The New York Post.

"His remarkable contributions to the film industry have left an indelible mark, and he will be profoundly missed," he continued. "He was an iconic and successful producer yet an even better person and a true force of nature who inspired all around him."

GettyImages-1456088799.jpgJon Landau and James Cameron st their Hand and Footprint Ceremony on January 12, 2023. Credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / Getty

Born on July 23, 1960, Landau was the son of producers Ely and Edie Landau. His father died in 1993 while his mom, the Oscar-nominated producer of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Hopscotch, and The Deadly Game, passed away in 2022.

The late producer's career began in the 1980s as a production manager, before taking on a behind-the-scenes role on James Cameron's 1997 classic Titanic.

The hit movie made history by becoming the first film to cross $1 billion in global box-office earnings and went on to win a staggering 11 Academy Awards, 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 remarked while accepting the award beside the filmmaker.

GettyImages-1405331978.jpgCameron paid tribute to his longtime collaborator. Credit: Bob Riha Jr / Getty

The pair continued to work together after Landau joined Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment as a top executive.

In 2009, they joined forces on the sci-fi movie, Avatar, which ended up surpassing the box-office success of Titanic. It became the top-grossing film of all time, with its sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, being third on the list.

Landau, who was a key player in the Avatar series, opened up about the sequel being released 13 years after the first movie, telling The Associated Press: “A lot has changed but a lot hasn’t.

"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," he added.

Landau succeeded in other areas, becoming an executive vice president of feature movies at 20th Century Fox when he was 29, which led him to oversee major films: Home Alone and its sequel, as well as Mrs. Doubtfire and True Lies.

GettyImages-1456252467.jpgThe pair had worked together for decades. Credit: Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Paying tribute to his longtime producing partner in a statement to Variety, Cameron said he feels like "a part of myself has been torn away".

"The Avatar family grieves the loss of our friend and leader, Jon Landau. His zany humor, personal magnetism, great generosity of spirit, and fierce will have held the center of our Avatar universe for almost two decades," he continued. 

The filmmaker praised Landau's dedication to producing as well as his honorable traits as a person. "His legacy is not just the films he produced, but the personal example he set - indomitable, caring, inclusive, tireless, insightful, and utterly unique," he said.

"He produced great films, not by wielding power but by spreading warmth and the joy of making cinema. He inspired us all to be and to bring our best, every day," he concluded.

Actress Kate Winslet also remembered Landau as "the kindest and best of men," adding: "He was a man who was rich with compassion and exceptional at supporting and nurturing teams of phenomenal creative people," per Deadline.

“His strength in life was knowing the importance of family, at home and at work,” she said. “He was always full of smiles and gratitude. I can’t believe I am writing this, can’t believe he is gone.” 

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

Featured image credit: Kevin Winter / Getty

Jon Landau, Oscar-winning producer of 'Titanic' and 'Avatar' dies aged 63

vt-author-image

By Asiya Ali

Article saved!Article saved!

Jon Landau, an Oscar-winning producer who worked on Titanic and the Avatar franchise, has passed away aged 63.

GettyImages-1465440619.jpgLandau has passed away aged 63. Credit: Rebecca Sapp / Getty

The devastating news was announced on Saturday (July 6) in a statement issued by Alan Bergman, Disney Entertainment co-chairman. His cause of death was not disclosed.

“Jon was a visionary whose extraordinary talent and passion brought some of the most unforgettable stories to life on the big screen," he said, as cited by The New York Post.

"His remarkable contributions to the film industry have left an indelible mark, and he will be profoundly missed," he continued. "He was an iconic and successful producer yet an even better person and a true force of nature who inspired all around him."

GettyImages-1456088799.jpgJon Landau and James Cameron st their Hand and Footprint Ceremony on January 12, 2023. Credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / Getty

Born on July 23, 1960, Landau was the son of producers Ely and Edie Landau. His father died in 1993 while his mom, the Oscar-nominated producer of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Hopscotch, and The Deadly Game, passed away in 2022.

The late producer's career began in the 1980s as a production manager, before taking on a behind-the-scenes role on James Cameron's 1997 classic Titanic.

The hit movie made history by becoming the first film to cross $1 billion in global box-office earnings and went on to win a staggering 11 Academy Awards, 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 remarked while accepting the award beside the filmmaker.

GettyImages-1405331978.jpgCameron paid tribute to his longtime collaborator. Credit: Bob Riha Jr / Getty

The pair continued to work together after Landau joined Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment as a top executive.

In 2009, they joined forces on the sci-fi movie, Avatar, which ended up surpassing the box-office success of Titanic. It became the top-grossing film of all time, with its sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, being third on the list.

Landau, who was a key player in the Avatar series, opened up about the sequel being released 13 years after the first movie, telling The Associated Press: “A lot has changed but a lot hasn’t.

"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," he added.

Landau succeeded in other areas, becoming an executive vice president of feature movies at 20th Century Fox when he was 29, which led him to oversee major films: Home Alone and its sequel, as well as Mrs. Doubtfire and True Lies.

GettyImages-1456252467.jpgThe pair had worked together for decades. Credit: Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Paying tribute to his longtime producing partner in a statement to Variety, Cameron said he feels like "a part of myself has been torn away".

"The Avatar family grieves the loss of our friend and leader, Jon Landau. His zany humor, personal magnetism, great generosity of spirit, and fierce will have held the center of our Avatar universe for almost two decades," he continued. 

The filmmaker praised Landau's dedication to producing as well as his honorable traits as a person. "His legacy is not just the films he produced, but the personal example he set - indomitable, caring, inclusive, tireless, insightful, and utterly unique," he said.

"He produced great films, not by wielding power but by spreading warmth and the joy of making cinema. He inspired us all to be and to bring our best, every day," he concluded.

Actress Kate Winslet also remembered Landau as "the kindest and best of men," adding: "He was a man who was rich with compassion and exceptional at supporting and nurturing teams of phenomenal creative people," per Deadline.

“His strength in life was knowing the importance of family, at home and at work,” she said. “He was always full of smiles and gratitude. I can’t believe I am writing this, can’t believe he is gone.” 

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

Featured image credit: Kevin Winter / Getty