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Oscar-Winning Producer Jon Landau, Known for Titanic and Avatar, Dies at 63

FILE - Jon Landau stands for a portrait at the 95th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon, Feb. 13, 2023, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. Landau, an Oscar-winning producer who worked closely with director James Cameron on “Titanic" and the “Avatar” series, has died, announced in a statement Saturday, July 6, 2024. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

Jon Landau, the Oscar-winning producer behind some of the highest-grossing films in history, including Titanic and Avatar, has died at the age of 63. Landau, who was the long-time producing partner of filmmaker James Cameron, passed away on Friday after battling cancer for over a year.

His sister Tina confirmed his death on social media, calling him “the best brother a girl could ever dream of.” She wrote, “My heart is broken but also bursting with pride and gratitude for his most extraordinary life, and the love and gifts he gave me – and all who knew him or his films.”

Landau was the son of Hollywood producers Ely and Edie Landau and held a position as an executive at 20th Century Fox, where he oversaw films such as The Last of the Mohicans and Die Hard 2. His collaboration with Cameron resulted in the 1997 blockbuster Titanic, the first film to surpass $1 billion at the global box office. Avatar and its sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, released in 2009 and 2022 respectively, went on to break Titanic’s record.

In addition to his work with Cameron, Landau co-produced other successful films like Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Dick Tracy, and held a management role at Cameron’s production company, Lightstorm Entertainment.

Following news of Landau’s death, James Cameron told The Hollywood Reporter, “A great producer and a great human being has left us. Jon Landau believed in the dream of cinema. He believed that film is the ultimate human art form, and to make films you have to first be human yourself. He will be remembered as much for his vast generosity of spirit as for the movies themselves.”

Director Sir Peter Jackson and his screenwriter wife Fran Walsh, whose visual effects company worked on the Avatar films, expressed their devastation over Landau’s passing, saying, “Jon brought unparalleled passion to the projects he worked on, and his influence will continue to inspire for years to come.”

Zoe Saldaña, who starred in the Avatar films, wrote on Instagram that Landau’s death was “hitting really hard,” adding, “Your wisdom and support shaped so many of us in ways we will always be grateful for.”

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