Americus “Fred” Franchi, 74, of Rocky River, Ohio, a noted event producer and tour manager, passed away Oct. 2 at Malachi House in Cleveland, Ohio, after a battle with cancer.
A native of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Franchi was an innovator and mentor to many in the entertainment industry. Known among his friends, colleagues and clients as "Guru", the "Lone Arranger" or "Uncle Fred", he started his career in the 1970s Cleveland rock scene; founded Kent-based Synergy Systems, a source of significant innovation in portable stage production, lighting and sound; and was manager and tour manager for headlining bands on international tours. Franchi worked with Concert Southern Productions, Brusco-Barr Presents, the Mohegan Sun, and produced the Tall Ships event in Groton, Conn. He most recently tour managed Survivor until health took him off the road, and prior to that tour managed Thin Lizzy and worked on tours with such artists as the Rossington/Collins Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Styx.
Franchi was senior production/operations manager at such major events as the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and the OpSail 2000 sailing event. “With his charm, good looks, eloquence, wit and resourcefulness, Fred could turn any disaster into the best day ever,” says Charlie Brusco of Red Light Management in Atlanta, a long-time friend and colleague of Franchi. “With his attention to detail, eye for beauty, appreciation of comfort, and true concern for those he cared about, Fred made events into memories that will last us all a lifetime. He will be sadly missed by all whose lives he touched.”