Jon Landau, Oscar-Winning ‘Titanic’ and ‘Avatar’ Producer, Dead at 63

Jon Landau, the Oscar-winning producer who worked with director James Cameron on blockbusters Titanic and two Avatar movies, died of cancer on Friday, as Variety reports. He was 63.

Landau’s producing partnership with Cameron yielded three Oscar nominations and a best picture trophy for 1997’s Titanic. The pair also made three of the top four highest-grossing films of all time. In addition to Titanic, the first film ever to gross more than $1 billion globally and currently ranks at Number Four on the top-grossing film list, 2009’s Avatar ranks at Number One and the 2022 sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, is Number Three. (Avengers: Endgame is Number Two.)

Landau began his film career as a production manager in the 1980s, and moved up the ranks. By age 29, he was named executive vice president of feature film production at 20th Century Fox. He met Cameron while working on True Lies. In 1994, Cameron asked Landau to read a script, then known under the code name “Planet Ice,” which eventually became Titanic. The film 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, so I guess that’s why I’m producing,” Landau quipped during his acceptance speech for Best Picture alongside Cameron, which also included Landau thanking a long list of people who helped make the film.

Their fruitful partnership continued throughout the last three decades. Landau became a top executive at Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment, where he and Cameron shepherded Avatar in 2009; the film remains the top-grossing film of all time.


Prior to Landau’s death, he was heavily involved in the production of the forthcoming Avatar sequels. Cameron’s sci-fi franchise is expected to include five more films.

“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,” Alan Bergman, Disney Entertainment co-chairman, said in a statement on Saturday. “He was an iconic and successful producer yet an even better person and a true force of nature who inspired all around him.”

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