Producer Jon Landau, Known for “Titanic” and the “Avatar” Films, Dies at 63: Reports

The Oscar-winning film producer was also known for his decades-long partnership with James Cameron

<p>Michael Buckner/Variety via Getty </p> Jon Landau in 2023

Michael Buckner/Variety via Getty

Jon Landau in 2023

Jon Landau, an Oscar-winning film producer known for his work on several of the highest-grossing films of all time, died on Friday, July 5, according to several outlets including Deadline, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. He was 63.

Variety reported Landau's cause of death as cancer. No further details were provided.

A close collaborator of James Cameron, the Brooklyn, New York, native produced Titanic, as well as both Avatar and its 2022 sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water — three of the highest-grossing movies of all time.

Landau also served as chief operating officer for Cameron’s production company, Lightstorm Entertainment, per Variety and THR. At Lightstorm, the duo produced films including 2002’s Solaris and 2019’s Alita: Battle Angel, and were planning the future of the Avatar franchise.

<p>Albert L. Ortega/Getty</p> Jon Landau (left) and James Cameron in 2023

Albert L. Ortega/Getty

Jon Landau (left) and James Cameron in 2023

Prior to his work with Cameron, Landau was the executive vice president of feature film production at 20th Century Fox, per Variety. During his time at the company, he oversaw films including Die Hard 2, Mrs. Doubtfire and Power Rangers.

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After making his return to producing with 1997’s Titanic, Landau helped Cameron, 69, make history with the drama, which became the first film to cross $1 billion at the global box office. The three-hour film also earned a record-tying 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The record was previously held by Ben-Hur, and was matched again by 2003’s Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

<p>Unique Nicole/Getty </p> Jon Landau in 2023

Unique Nicole/Getty

Jon Landau in 2023

When Cameron showed Landau an early draft of the Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio-led film, the late producer said he “fell in love with it,” per THR. “It was not just the script but the idea that this could be the last time that an epic, old-fashioned movie is made, with hundreds and hundreds of extras — who aren’t digital,” Landau said of the project.

In a 2022 interview about The Way of Water, Landau told THR that he had “seen an evolution of” Cameron since their careers first intertwined, and the director chimed in mid-chat to say, “Did he tell you we’re like an old married couple?”

“I don’t want to say nice things in front of him — it’ll go to his head — but I feel like there’s no problem we can’t solve,” Cameron added of their longtime partnership.

Titanic star Frances Fisher shared a tribute to Landau on July 6. In a post on X (formerly Twitter) replying to a request for an Alita: Battle Angel sequel, Fisher wrote, “Rest in Power Jon.”

<p>Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty </p> From left: Jodie Landau, Julie Landau, Jon Landau and Jamie Landau in 2023

Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty

From left: Jodie Landau, Julie Landau, Jon Landau and Jamie Landau in 2023

In a statement shared with PEOPLE, John Bergman, co-chairman of Disney Entertainment, said Landau has left "an indelible mark" on the movie-making industry.

“Jon was a visionary whose extraordinary talent and passion brought some of the most unforgettable stories to life on the big screen," Bergman said. "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."

Filmmakers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, whose company Wētā FX provided VFX for the Avatar films, also shared a statement following Landau’s death.

“We speak for the entire Wētā FX team when we say we are devastated by the loss of Jon Landau,” the statement read, per Variety. “Jon was not only a monumental figure in the film industry but also a cherished collaborator and friend. Jon brought unparalleled passion to the projects he worked on and his influence will continue to inspire for years to come.”

“Our deepest condolences are with Jon’s family and loved ones, as well as Jim and the Lightstorm Entertainment team,” the statement concluded.

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Landau is survived by his wife of almost 40 years, Julie, and their two sons, Jamie and Jodie, per Variety. He is also survived by his siblings, Tina, Kathy and Les Landau.

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