Actor Lew Palter, who portrayed Isidor Straus—an ancestor of OceanGate’s Wendy Rush—in Titanic, died of lung cancer at the age of 94, his family confirmed.
The Hollywood community has lost a beloved star.
Actor Lew Palter—who portrayed businessman and Macy’s co-owner Isidor Straus in James Cameron‘s 1997 film Titanic—died from lung cancer on May 21, his daughter Catherine Palter confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 94.
In addition to his job as an actor, appearing in TV shows The Flying Nun and L.A. Law over the years, Lew was also a teacher at CalArts School of Theater from 1971 to 2013.
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“As a teacher,” Catherine told the outlet, “he seemed to have truly changed people’s lives.”
Travis Preston, the dean of the CalArts School of Theater, also told THR that Lew taught his students to really love the craft of acting.
“He fostered deep curiosity, care, intellect and humor in every scene, play and class,” Travis shared. “He had the utmost respect of his students and encouraged all to find truth in their work and lives.”
In recent weeks, the character Lew portrayed in Titanic has made headlines over Isidor’s connection to the OceanGate expedition tragedy, which took the lives of passengers Stockton Rush (the CEO of OceanGate), Hamish Harding, Paul-Henri Nargeolet, Shahzada Dawood and Suleman Dawood.
The five-person crew had been en route to view the wreckage of the RMS Titanic via a research submersible when it went missing on June 18. Four days later, authorities searching for the vessel discovered debris from the sub, with OceanGate concluding that the passengers had “sadly been lost” during their expedition.
And in an eerie twist, it was revealed that Stockton’s wife Wendy Rush is the great-great-granddaughter of Isidor and Ida Straus, two of the most famous victims of the 1912 Titanic disaster. According to reports, Ida refused to leave her husband behind and gave up her seat on a lifeboat to stay with him after the Titanic hit an iceberg.
The 1997 film paid tribute to the couple—with Lew portraying Isidor—showing them in bed together as the Titanic began to sink.
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