A Fond Farewell

Jon Landau was many things to many people. But I will always remember Jon as someone who was beyond generous with his time as he sat down with me at Walt Disney World in 2017 for the grand opening of “Pandora - Land of Avatar”. But now cancer has claimed another life far too soon.

Jon died on Friday at the age of 63 after an illustrious career that included an Oscar win as a producer of “Titanic,” which went on to win best picture in 1998. He worked with James Cameron“ on Titaniic,” “Avatar” and “Avatar: The Way of Water”. That’s just a small portion of his career.

But it was in 2011 Disney announced they would bring what as the fictional realm of Avatar to life and work began on the creation of Pandora - Land of Avatar. To be at the grand opening was almost overwhelming; every smell, sound and visual element was created and produced in sensational detail, and I learned an important word that day - Bioluminescence. Pandora took me from day into night in the same land, but with it was a different experience when the sun set. If you’ve been there yourself, you know what I mean. And if you have not, you must.

The official statement from Disney CEO Bob Iger said in part: “”We are deeply saddened by the loss of Jon Landau, a great person, a friend, & a towering figure in our industry. Our deepest condolences to his family, friends, & to Jim Cameron, his partner for 27 wonderfully productive and creative years””

I pay homage to the incredible mind of Jon Landau and all the Imagineers at Disney. In the words of Joe Rohde, whom I also met and had the immense pleasure of a brief interaction “This is a huge loss of a great spirit. Nobody can feel this loss as acutely as his family, but I will miss him both as a friend and colleague”.

RIP Jon, and thank you for the most 23 minutes of my life. The interview is available here, and pardon the fangirling, It was a pure joy to be in his presence.

Ann Kelly

Ann Kelly

Hello, I am Ann Kelly! I was born in Garfield Heights, Ohio (which is a suburb of Cleveland) as one of five children!

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