Kumar Pallana, of The Terminal and The Royal Tennenbaums, Dies at 94

Kumar Pallana

Vincent Zuffante/Star File/Getty

updated 10/18/2013 AT 1:00 PM ET

originally published 10/18/2013 AT 1:30 PM ET

Kumar Pallana, an Indian character actor with small parts in movies such as The Terminal and The Royal Tennenbaums, died suddenly Oct. 10 at the home he shared with his son in Oakland, Calif. He was 94.

“He lived life to the fullest,” said his daughter Sandhya Pallana of Dallas, who confirmed the death to the Associated Press. “It was really wonderful how well he was received and how well he was liked and that people appreciated his unique and creative style.”

Pallana was a yoga instructor living in Dallas in the mid-1990s when he met Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson, who were working on their breakout movie Bottle Rocket, the Los Angeles Times reported. They cast Pallana as a bumbling safe cracker.

His thick accent and diminutive stature combined to help him steal scenes and earned him parts in more films, including three more directed by Anderson and one by Steven Spielberg.

Sandhya Pallana said her father had been in good health, but collapsed while getting ready to play bridge with friends. He was making plans to travel to Dallas to see his first grandchild, whom she adopted earlier this month in India.

“They just missed each other by days,” she said.

Despite his age, Kumar Pallana seemed timeless, his daughter said. He loved his iPad and iPhone, and drove a Prius until just shortly before his death.

“He embraced the moving and changing times of our modern age better than any 90-year-old that can be found today,” Sandhya Pallana said.


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