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‘A Part of Me Has Been Torn Away’

Cameron and Landau were close-knit producing partners for over 30 years, working on landmark films like “Titanic” and the “Avatar” series.

“The Avatar family grieves the loss of our friend and leader, Jon Landau. His zany humor, personal magnetism, great generosity of spirit, and fierce will have held the center of our Avatar universe for almost two decades,” Cameron said in a statement to Variety.

Cameron praised Landau’s skill and love of pushing the boundaries of moviemaking, as well as his admirable qualities as a person.

“His legacy is not just the films he produced, but the personal example he set — indomitable, caring, inclusive, tireless, insightful, and utterly unique. He produced great films, not by wielding power but by spreading warmth and the joy of making cinema. He inspired us all to be and to bring our best, every day,” Cameron said. “I have lost a dear friend and my closest collaborator of 31 years. A part of myself has been torn away.”

Cameron and Landau started their professional relationship 30 years ago when Landau, as a film executive at 20th Century Fox, oversaw Cameron’s 1994 action comedy “True Lies” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. When Landau left Fox, Cameron invited him to read the script for a secret project codenamed “Planet Ice.” Landau joined the film, which was released in 1997 under the title “Titanic” and became the first movie in history to cross the $1 billion mark at the global box office. Both men won Academy Awards as producers when “Titanic” won Best Picture the following year.

Landau continued working with Cameron, producing 2009’s “Avatar” and its 2022 sequel “Avatar: The Way of Water.” Both films topped the record-breaking grosses of “Titanic,” with $2.9 billion and $2.3 billion, respectively. As “Titanic” stands just over $2.25 billion, Landau and Cameron boast three of the top four highest-grossing movies ever made.

Recently, the two celebrated their career achievements at Los Angeles’ Chinese Theatre, where they participated in a Hand and Footprint Ceremony to immortalize the success of “The Way of Water.” Landau was deeply involved in the production of upcoming “Avatar” movies, with the next one slated for release on Dec. 19, 2025.

Landau was also the Chief Operating Officer at Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment production company. He was instrumental in Lightstorm’s ancillary projects, such as Dark Horse Comics and Penguin Random House’s various “Avatar” print spinoffs. Landau also advised on the creation of “Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora,” a Ubisoft game released in December, as well as an online multiplayer role-playing game from Tencent Games’ Level Infinite titled “Avatar: Reckoning.”

Other colleagues and collaborators also honored Landau, including Disney Entertainment’s co-chairman Alan Bergman. “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. He was an iconic and successful producer yet an even better person and a true force of nature who inspired all around him. Our thoughts are with Jon’s wife, Julie, and his family and loved ones during this difficult time.”

Stephen Rivkin, the editor on the first three “Avatar” films, said in a statement, “Jon was our hero. He is and will always be the greatest champion of the Avatar movies and the guiding light of the Avatar family who have worked and continue to work on these films. He was a one-of-a-kind giant in our industry. I am so fortunate to have known him and to have had him in my life, both professionally and as a dear friend. We will miss him beyond what words can express. He will continue to live in our hearts forever.”

Pictured: Jon Landau and James Cameron

Source: Variety