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James Cameron’s Heartfelt Tribute to Jon Landau

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

James Cameron is mourning the death of a close friend and collaborator.

Following the death of Titanic and Avatar producer Jon Landau, the Oscar-winning director paid tribute to his late Lightstorm Entertainment partner in a heartfelt statement on Saturday.

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

“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. I have lost a dear friend, and my closest collaborator of 31 years. A part of myself has been torn away,” added Cameron.

Landau died on Friday after a 16-month battle with cancer. He was 63.

Jon Landau and James Cameron display the cement on their hands at their hand and footprint ceremony on January 12, 2023 at TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

After serving as EVP of Feature Productions at 20th Century Fox, Landau joined Cameron as COO of his newly formed Lightstorm Entertainment, where they went on to make box office history with Titanic (1997) and again with Avatar (2009).

Last February, Landau recalled his first time working with Cameron when he was at Fox and assigned to the director’s 1994 action comedy True Lies. “I think Jim was a little skeptical. He said, ‘So I understand we’re gonna get to be pretty good friends. Or maybe not,’” he told Deadline’s Pete Hammond on Behind the Lens with a laugh.

Although Landau said they worked “on opposite sides of the fence” during that movie, Cameron later came to him with the script for Titanic after he left Fox, and Landau “fell in love” with the movie.

“We did that sort of as a one-off,” Landau recalled of joining Lightstorm. “And that worked, the relationship worked, and I think we built it up.”

Source: Deadline