Jon Landau passes away at 63 after battle with cancer

Jon Landau, the illustrious producer and COO of James Cameron‘s Lightstorm Entertainment, passed away on July 5 in Los Angeles after a 16-month battle with cancer, per

He was 63.

Landau’s career was marked by producing iconic films, most notably James Cameron’s 1997 Oscar-winning Titanic, which tied with Ben-Hur for the most Academy Awards at the time, garnering 11 Oscars. Titanic was the highest-grossing film until it was surpassed by another Cameron blockbuster, Avatar in 2009, which Landau also produced. His other notable credits included Avatar: The Way of Water, Solaris, Alita: Battle Angel and he co-produced Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Dick Tracy.

During his 27-year partnership with Cameron, beginning with Titanic in 1995, Landau produced three of the five highest-grossing films of all time: Avatar,Titanic and Avatar: The Way of Water. His death was first disclosed by Titanic actress Frances Fisher, who posted a tribute late last night, writing simply, “Rest in power, Jon.”

Born on July 23, 1960, in New York to producers Ely and Edie Landau, Jon Landau got his professional start as a production manager on films such as Key Exchange (1985), F/X (1986), Manhunter (1986) and Making Mr. Right (1987). He earned his first producing credits on Campus Man (1987), Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989) and Dick Tracy (1990). At 29, he became EVP of Feature Productions at 20th Century Fox, overseeing films like Home Alone (1990), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) and Speed (1994).

At Fox, Landau began his professional relationship with Cameron on True Lies (1994). After leaving Fox, Cameron offered him the script for a project code-named Planet Ice, which became Titanic. Landau recalled this period fondly, noting that their relationship blossomed from that project, leading to a successful collaboration at Lightstorm Entertainment.

In his role at Lightstorm, Landau was pivotal in expanding the Avatar franchise into video gaming, live experiences, and Disney’s attraction, Pandora – The World of Avatar. Cameron mourned his loss, stating, “His legacy is not just the films he produced, but the personal example he set — indomitable, caring, inclusive, tireless, insightful, and utterly unique.”

Stars like Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Sam Worthington also shared heartfelt tributes, emphasising his kindness, leadership and compassion. Landau’s siblings, including Star Trek director Les Landau and Broadway director Tina Landau, also paid their respects. Tina expressed her heartbreak and pride, calling Jon “the best brother a girl could ever dream of.”

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

  • Featured image: Jon Landau/Getty Images
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Stay up-to-date