Lew Palter, Actor in Titanic, Dead at 94


Lew Palter, a veteran actor and teacher who portrayed Isidor Straus in James Cameron’s Titanic, has died at the age of 94.

Palter died on May 21st of lung cancer at his home in Los Angeles, his daughter told The Hollywood Reporter.

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In Titanic, Palter portrayed Straus, a U.S. Congressman and co-owner of Macy’s department store. He and his wife, Ida, perished on the sinking ship after refusing to board a lifeboat because there were women and children who had yet to be saved. In one of the film’s final scenes, Palter’s character embraces his wife (played by Elsa Raven) in their stateroom as water rushes in.


Wendy Rush, the wife of OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush who died last week on a dive in a submersible to the wreck of the Titanic, is a great-great-granddaughter of the Strauses — as is the singer King Princess.

Earlier on in his career, Palter played small roles on television series including The A-Team, Charlie’s Angels, Baretta, Columbo, Gunsmoke, Mission: Impossible, The Six Million Dollar Man, Kojak, The Brady Bunch, and L.A. Law.

From 1971 to 2013, Palter served as an acting teacher and director at CalArts in Santa Clarita, California. Some of his notable students included Ed Harris, Don Cheadle, and Cecily Strong.


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