Kumar Pallana, ‘Royal Tenenbaums’ Actor, Dies

Thesp was a scene stealer in 'Terminal'

Indian actor Kumar Pallana, who played the butler in “The Royal Tenenbaums” and had roles in other Wes Anderson movies, died Oct. 10 at age 94.

Dubbed an “Anderson stalwart” by Variety, Pallana made an impression in the helmer’s pics, from “Bottle Rocket” to “Rushmore” and “Darjeeling Express,” but he was also a scene-stealer in Tom Hanks starrer “The Terminal” as an Indian emigre janitor who takes perverse pleasure in watching people slip across his freshly waxed floors.

Born in India to a car salesman, Pallana immigrated to the U.S. in 1946 after a reversal in family fortunes following Indian independence. Hollywood, however, cast him as a different kind of Indian in oaters such as “Viva Zapata.”

Although Pallana was an extra, he also worked as a juggler, a singer and a yoga instructor among other trades. He was running the Cosmic Cup coffee shop, which friends Anderson, and Luke and Owen Wilson frequented in Dallas, so when they wrote the script for “Bottle Rocket” they had a role for Pallana. But it was in “Royal Tenenbaums” in which he attracted the most attention.

He was recently cast in Danny Trejo thriller “Snap Shot,” which is filming now. The USA Festival in Dallas said it was planning a tribute to the thesp.

Survivors include a son, Dipak.

More Film

  • James Bond Skyfall

    Universal Wins International Rights to James Bond 25

    Indian actor Kumar Pallana, who played the butler in “The Royal Tenenbaums” and had roles in other Wes Anderson movies, died Oct. 10 at age 94. Dubbed an “Anderson stalwart” by Variety, Pallana made an impression in the helmer’s pics, from “Bottle Rocket” to “Rushmore” and “Darjeeling Express,” but he was also a scene-stealer in […]

  • In 'That Summer,' the Stars of

    In 'That Summer,' the Stars of 'Grey Gardens' Look More Unhinged Than Ever

    Indian actor Kumar Pallana, who played the butler in “The Royal Tenenbaums” and had roles in other Wes Anderson movies, died Oct. 10 at age 94. Dubbed an “Anderson stalwart” by Variety, Pallana made an impression in the helmer’s pics, from “Bottle Rocket” to “Rushmore” and “Darjeeling Express,” but he was also a scene-stealer in […]

  • Alice Eve's Comedy 'Bees Make Honey'

    Film News Roundup: Alice Eve's Comedy 'Bees Make Honey' Set for July Release

    Indian actor Kumar Pallana, who played the butler in “The Royal Tenenbaums” and had roles in other Wes Anderson movies, died Oct. 10 at age 94. Dubbed an “Anderson stalwart” by Variety, Pallana made an impression in the helmer’s pics, from “Bottle Rocket” to “Rushmore” and “Darjeeling Express,” but he was also a scene-stealer in […]

  • China Appoints Wang Xiaohui as Film

    China Appoints Wang Xiaohui as Film Bureau Chief

    Indian actor Kumar Pallana, who played the butler in “The Royal Tenenbaums” and had roles in other Wes Anderson movies, died Oct. 10 at age 94. Dubbed an “Anderson stalwart” by Variety, Pallana made an impression in the helmer’s pics, from “Bottle Rocket” to “Rushmore” and “Darjeeling Express,” but he was also a scene-stealer in […]

  • Morgan Freeman Sexual Harassment

    Morgan Freeman Pulled From Visa Marketing After Harassment Allegations

    Indian actor Kumar Pallana, who played the butler in “The Royal Tenenbaums” and had roles in other Wes Anderson movies, died Oct. 10 at age 94. Dubbed an “Anderson stalwart” by Variety, Pallana made an impression in the helmer’s pics, from “Bottle Rocket” to “Rushmore” and “Darjeeling Express,” but he was also a scene-stealer in […]

  • Boba Fett movie

    ‘Star Wars:’ A Boba Fett Movie Is in the Works

    Indian actor Kumar Pallana, who played the butler in “The Royal Tenenbaums” and had roles in other Wes Anderson movies, died Oct. 10 at age 94. Dubbed an “Anderson stalwart” by Variety, Pallana made an impression in the helmer’s pics, from “Bottle Rocket” to “Rushmore” and “Darjeeling Express,” but he was also a scene-stealer in […]

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Hollywood Reacts to Impending Harvey Weinstein Arrest: 'It's Been a Long Time Coming'

    Indian actor Kumar Pallana, who played the butler in “The Royal Tenenbaums” and had roles in other Wes Anderson movies, died Oct. 10 at age 94. Dubbed an “Anderson stalwart” by Variety, Pallana made an impression in the helmer’s pics, from “Bottle Rocket” to “Rushmore” and “Darjeeling Express,” but he was also a scene-stealer in […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content