Sad news. Variety is reporting that Walking Dead stuntman, John Bernecker, died from injuries after missing a safety cushion while filming a stunt for the series.
According to the Coweta County Sheriff’s Department report, shooting a stunt for the show’s eighth season, Bernecker was to fall off a balcony onto the cushion some 20 feet below, but missed and instead landed on the concrete. Assistant director Matthew Goodwin told police that Bernecker fell “just inches away” from the cushion after it appeared he did not
“get good separation from the balcony.”
Sources say Bernecker and an actor were rehearsing a fight scene that was supposed to end with a routine fall from the balcony, but he lost his footing and fell to a concrete floor.
AMC said late Friday,
“John Bernecker’s family has decided that he will be removed from life support, following organ donation. We are deeply saddened by this loss and our hearts and prayers are with John’s family, friends and colleagues during this extremely difficult time.”
Bernecker was a veteran stunt performer and fight choreographer. He had worked on projects such as Olympus Has Fallen, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 and 2, and Logan, among many others. He is also listed as having worked on upcoming films like Marvel’s Black Panther and been an actor in several films, with small parts in Logan, The Last Witch Hunter, Goosebumps, and an episode of Season 1 of True Detective.
A SAG-AFTRA spokesperson said on Thursday the guild is investigating the accident. The spokesperson said,
“We have been informed of a serious injury to a SAG-AFTRA member on the set of ‘The Walking Dead’ and are investigating the situation. As always, the safety and security of our members and others on set is of crucial concern to us, and we are focused on this in our investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the performer and his family.”
The Atlanta office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) confirmed to Variety that they have also launched their own investigation into the incident.
(Photo, YouTube; via Variety)