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(KTLA/NEXSTAR) – Lew Palter, an actor and theater coach perhaps best known for his role in the 1997 film “Titanic,” has passed away at the age of 94.
Palter’s daughter confirmed the news this week in a statement shared with The Hollywood Reporter, telling the outlet her father died at his Los Angeles home in May after a battle with lung cancer. The CalArts School of Theater, where Palter worked as an acting professor and director for over 40 years, had also announced his passing shortly after his death.
“Lew loved the craft of acting, and taught his students to do the same,” the CalArts theatre department wrote in a post shared on Facebook and Twitter. “He fostered deep curiosity, care, intellect, and humor in every scene, play, and class. He had the utmost respect of his students, and encouraged all to find truth in their work and lives.”
Palter, whose numerous credits include appearances on “Columbo,” “L.A. Law” and the detective series “Delvecchio,” was perhaps best known to audiences for his role in “Titanic” as Macy’s co-owner Isidor Strauss, a wealthy passenger who was depicted embracing his wife in their stateroom as they went down with the ship.
Palter began teaching at CalArts in 1971, according to the school. Some of his students included Ed Harris and Don Cheadle, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “Saturday Night Live” cast member Cecily Strong also credited Palter for encouraging her to try out for The Groundlings, changing the trajectory of her career and leading to her breakout role on “SNL.”
Palter retired from the Santa Clarita-based university in 2013.
“His career on the stage and screen was formidable, and he was a lifelong student of the theater,” CalArts wrote. “Alongside his many colleagues and collaborators, he was always straightforward, thoughtful, and sincere.”
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