Titanic actor Lew Palter has died surrounded by his loved ones in Los Angeles.
The 94-year-old played the co-owner of retail giant Macy’s in the smash 1992 blockbuster. In the film, Isidor Straus, played by Palter, can be seen embracing his wife as the iconic vessel goes down.
However, it is not the only role on the silver screen that fans would recognise Palter from. He also starred as Associate Justice Benjamin Halperin opposite Walter Matthau and Jill Clayburgh in Ronald Neame’s 1981 Supreme Court dramedy First Monday in October.
And, the Daily Mail reports, he was an esteemed professor at CalArts School of Theater. His students have included four-time Oscar nominee Ed Harris, Oscar nominee Don Cheadle, and two-time Emmy nominee Cecily Strong.
On May 22, Schmigadoon! producer-star Cecily Strong – who graduated from CalArts in 2006 – shared a touching post about how instrumental Palter was in pushing her away from serious acting and into more comedic roles.
“What a great teacher. Lew Palter. Scratched his big giant ears and hit his ‘Ks’ so wet and reminded us often that as the great Bertold Brecht said, ‘The proof is in the pudding,'” she wrote on social media.
Palter died on May 21 at daughter Catherine’s house. “As a teacher, he seemed to have truly changed people’s lives,” his daughter said.
He had retired from teaching at CalArts in 2013. Over the years Palter had also directed numerous off-Broadway plays including Tom Topor’s drama Nuts for the Los Angeles Stage Company, which eventually got the big-screen treatment in 1987 with Barbra Streisand playing the manslaughtering call girl, reports the Daily Mail.
He was highly educated having received his bachelor’s dergee at Tufts University, his master’s from Alfred University, and a Ph.D. in theater from Northwestern University.
He is survived by daughter Catherine Read Palter and his three grandchildren, Sam, Tessa, and Miranda Morgan.