Susan Landau, Producer and Manager, Dies at 65

Courtesy of Paul Landau
Susan Landau

“Her passion for life was an example to me for 30 years and will be my guiding voice always," said Rene Russo, Landau’s long-standing friend.

Susan B. Landau, a producer and manager whose clients included writer Simon Beaufoy, died May 31 in Los Angeles after a brief illness, according to her family. She was 65.

Landau managed Slumdog Millionaire Oscar-winner Beaufoy, Wayne’s World 2 director Stephen Surjik and The Originals co-executive producer Christopher Hollier, among others. She earned an Emmy nomination for Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color: Young Harry Houdini, as well as an ACE Award for 1993's Tiger Town.

Landau's producing credits also included Mr. Destiny (1990), Cool Runnings (1993) and 1999's An Ideal Husband.

“In a town sometimes overrun with sequels and reruns, Susan was a true original,” Beaufoy said in a statement. “Anybody who met her for more than an instant knows this to be true. To be represented by Susan was to become family. And as part of Susan’s family, there was nothing on earth she would not do for you. Fiercely loyal, paint-strippingly honest, she was also the kindest, most generous and surprisingly gentle person when times were tough.”

Beaufoy said he and Landau spoke nearly every day for 25 years: “We rarely ended a call without her making me laugh, her business advice being a unique mixture of Brooklyn cab driver profanities and Zen wisdom. It was invariably correct. She knew the business inside out, and was fooled by nobody.”

Another client, Hollier, said that “there’s never been someone more talented at bringing talent out in others. Director, producer, writer — no one could have a better friend in this town.”

Landau was also politically active, and fundraised for U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer starting in 1992. “Susan Landau was a one-of-a-kind,” the California Democrat recalled, “and I honestly believe that without her energetic support, I never would have been elected to the Senate in 1992.”

In 2007, Landau tried her hand at photography. She would go on to photograph the producers of the Academy Awards five times, the Stand Up to Cancer telethon four times and Showtime’s Web Therapy multiple times. Landau also this year published The Brown Bears of Alaska. She previously published Laura Ziskin: Collective Memories & Photographs, and her work has been displayed at several galleries.

Landau’s positive impact on people will live on. Rene Russo, Susan’s long-standing friend, said that she measures herself by how Susan led her life. “Her passion for life was an example to me for 30 years and will be my guiding voice always,” said the actress.

Landau was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., the daughter of Sidney — a longtime executive at United Artists — and Bea Landau, who died only six months ago. She attended Springfield Gardens High School and graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in political science in 1974.

She is survived by her twin brother Paul, her older brothers Arthur and Avraham and nieces Kate, Meg, Meredith and Rebecca. Donations in her name may be made to Stand Up to Cancer.

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