Robert F. Jani, who produced such spectacular celebrations as the U.S. Bicentennial celebration in New York Harbor in 1976, a revitalizing stage show for Radio City Music Hall, halftime entertainment at the Super Bowl and some of the Walt Disney organization's most storied events, has died.
A spokesman for his firm, Robert F. Jani Productions, said he had died Sunday night at his Palos Verdes Estates home after a three-year struggle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known commonly as Lou Gehrig's disease. He was 55.
Both on his own and with the Disney company, where he worked for 11 years, Jani put on much of the live entertainment that has become standard fare at Disneyland and Disney World. Among his achievements were "America on Parade," "The Main Street Electrical Parade" and, as a consultant, master plans for Euro Disneyland (to open in 1992) and the new Disney/MGM Studio Tour at Walt Disney World in Florida.
In 1978, he was responsible for the revival of Radio City Music Hall's "Magnificent Christmas Spectacular." That was the year he left Disney's employ to found his firm. From 1979 to 1982, he was in charge of all live stage productions at the New York City hall, dubbed the "Showplace of the Nation."