Lew Palter, who most recently gained fame for playing businessman Isidor Straus in James Cameron’s 1997 epic Titanic, died at 94 in May.
The actor’s daughter, Catherine, confirmed that he passed from lung cancer on May 21.
“It is with great sadness that I share the news that longtime School of Theater faculty Lew Palter has passed away,” Travis Preston, the dean of CalArts’ School of Theater, said in a statement according to Fox News.
“Lew retired from CalArts in 2013, having served our community since 1971 as an acting teacher, director, and mentor. Lew loved the craft of acting, and taught his students to do the same. He fostered deep curiosity, care, intellect, and humor in every scene, play, and class. He had the utmost respect of his students, and encouraged all to find truth in their work and lives,” the statement added.
“His career on the stage and screen was formidable, and he was a lifelong student of the theater,” Preston said. “Alongside his many colleagues and collaborators, I always found him to be straightforward, thoughtful, and sincere. His legacy is carried forth in the many careers, lives, and stories he touched, and our collective CalArts thoughts are with his family, friends, and theater community who loved him so.”
Palter was a busy character actor throughout the 1960s, 70s, and 80s appearing in popular 60s shows such as The Virginian, Mission: Impossible, and It Takes a Thief By the 70s he was featured in dramas including Columbo, Kojak, Ironside, The F.B.I., and many others, and even appeared on an episode of the Brady Bunch. Into the 80s. Palter continued his stints on series such as The Waltons, Cagney & Lacey, The A-Team, Hill Street Blues, and L.A.Law.
— The Celeb Post (@thecelebpost) June 28, 2023
But it may have been his role as Isidor Straus in Titanic that brought him to most movie goers’ attention.
The real Isidor Straus was the owner of Macy’s department store with his brother, Nathan, and also served as a member of the United States House of Representatives. As in the 1997 film, Straus and his wife, Ida, refused to take up space in a lifeboat to allow others to flee to safety ahead of them. Consequently, Straus died with his wife in the sinking of the passenger ship The RMS Titanic.
Palter was also a long-time acting teacher and mentor to stars including Ed Harris, Don Cheadle, and Cecily Strong.
Strong praised Palter, calling him a “great teacher” who “knew how to live life well.” She also thanked Palter “because for so many years I got to brag that my teacher was the old guy in Titanic that chose to stay in bed.”
The actor was born Leon Louis Palter on Nov. 3, 1928, in Brooklyn, New York. He is survived by his daughter and grandchildren, Sam, Tessa, and Miranda.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston, or Truth Social @WarnerToddHuston
Read the full article here