July 14, 2024

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Jon Landau, award-winning producer of ‘Titanic’ and ‘Avatar’, dies at 63 – Telemundo Miami (51)

Jon Landau, award-winning producer of ‘Titanic’ and ‘Avatar’, dies at 63 – Telemundo Miami (51)

LOS ANGELES — Jon Landau, the award-winning producer who worked closely with director James Cameron on three of the highest-grossing films of all time, “Titanic” and “Avatar,” died Saturday. He was 63.

Landau’s family announced his death on Saturday. His cause of death has not been determined.

Landau’s collaboration with Cameron earned him three Academy Award nominations and a win in the Best Picture category for “Titanic” (1997). Together they produced some of the biggest hits in film history, including “Avatar” and its sequel, “The Way of Water.”

Landau’s career began in the 1980s as a production manager, slowly rising to become an associate producer on “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” and “Dick Tracy.”

He took on the role of producer on “Titanic,” Cameron’s expensive epic about the infamous 1912 maritime disaster. The gamble paid off: “Titanic” became the first film to surpass $1 billion at the box office and won 11 Oscars, including Best Picture.

“I don’t know how to act, or write, or do visual effects, so I guess that’s why I produce,” Landau said as he accepted the award with Cameron.

Their collaboration continued, and Landau became a senior executive at Lightstorm Entertainment, Cameron’s company. In 2009, the two saw the release of “Avatar,” a science fiction epic released in theaters using pioneering 3D technology, which surpassed the box office success of “Titanic.” It remains the highest-grossing film of all time.

Its sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, is third on the list.

Landau was a key player in the “Avatar” film series, which suffered repeated delays to the release of “The Way of Water.” Landau defended the progress of the sequel and Cameron’s ambitious plans to shoot multiple sequels simultaneously to keep the franchise alive.

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“A lot of things have changed, but a lot of things haven’t changed,” Landau told The Associated Press in 2022, just months before the sequel was released. “One of the things that hasn’t changed is: Why do people turn to entertainment today? Just like when the first ‘Avatar’ movie came out, they do it to escape, to escape the world we live in.”

“John 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 left an indelible mark, and he will be sorely missed,” said Alan Bergman, co-chairman of Disney Entertainment, in a statement.

“He was a creative and successful producer, but he was an even better person and a true force of nature who inspired everyone around him.”

Landau was born in New York City on July 23, 1960, the son of film producers Eli and Eddie Landau. The family moved to Los Angeles in the 1970s and Landau graduated from the University of Southern California Film School.

Eli Landau died in 1993. Eddie Landau, the Oscar-nominated producer of films such as “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” “Hopscotch” and “The Deadly Game,” died in 2022.

John Landau is survived by Julie, his wife of nearly 40 years; their children, Jamie and Judy; two sisters and a brother.