Producer and Manager Susan Landau Dies at 65

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

Landau managed creatives including “Slumdog Millionaire” Oscar winner Beaufoy, “Wayne’s World 2” director Surjik, and “The Originals” co-executive producer Christopher Hollier.

Her own producing credits included the 1990 film “Mr. Destiny,” the 1993 “Cool Runnings,” and the 1999 “An Ideal Husband.”

She earned an Emmy nomination for “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color: Young Harry Houdini,” and an ACE Award for the 1993 “Tiger Town.”

“In a town sometimes overrun with sequels and reruns, Susan was a true original,” Beaufoy said in a statement. “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 Susan 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.”

Surjik, whom Landau repped for 21 years, remembered her honesty and remarkable judgment.

“Susan and I would analyze director opportunities, and if I wasn’t sure if I wanted to commit to the project and Susan thought it would lead to bigger and better assignments or important relationships, we’d debate the pros and cons of possible outcomes rigorously. If the money issue looked like it might be in the way of our otherwise high-minded observations, she’d remind me that it wasn’t about the money for her. She’d say, ‘You know I don’t care about the money on this. If I did care about the money, I’d never be working with you.'”

A regular at Craig’s restaurant, she had a large group of close friends notably including the late Laura Ziskin, whom she met on the set of the 1978 “Eyes of Laura Mars.”

Landau was also active in progressive politics and started fundraising for Barbara Boxer in 1992, when Boxer was first elected to the Senate.

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.”

Another friend, producer Howard (Zvi) Rosenman, said, “In a town where everyone is pitching a script, Susan was happy to read anything that came her way – scripts, resumes, you name it – and to offer thoughtful, generous notes. She also was one that when she saw you flailing she took over your life and managed it the way she managed her writers. She certainly did that with me and I treasured every second of it. She was sui generis. Her passing has left a deep hole in all our hearts.”

 

In 2007, Landau took up photography, shooting the producers of the Academy Awards, the Stand Up to Cancer telethon and Showtime’s “Web Therapy.” She published a photography book “The Brown Bears of Alaska” as well as a remembrance of Ziskin.

 

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., her father was a longtime executive at United Artists. She graduated 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 may be made to Stand Up to Cancer.

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