AMC’s The Walking Dead suffered a tragic loss earlier this month when voice actor Randy Schell died in a tragic shy diving accident. Yesterday, tragedy struck again.
While filming for season 8, veteran stunt actor John Bernecker had a major accident on set falling from a balcony and plummeting 30 feet onto a concrete floor, suffering a major head injury. Bernecker was flown to the Atlanta Medical Center where he is currently in the Intensive Care Unit. Filming has been put on hold until the accident can be investigated.
Bernecker’s girlfriend, Jennifer Cocker, shared a brief statement on his Facebook updating their friends and family: “John deserves to be see by every neurosurgeon [sic] and doctor there is until one of them sees the life we all know he has in him and bring him back to us…THIS ISNT FAIR,” The message implies that Bernecker is in a very serious condition.
We are saddened to report that John Bernecker, a talented stuntman for The Walking Dead and numerous other television shows and films, suffered serious injuries from a tragic accident on set,” an AMC spokesperson stated. “He was immediately transported to an Atlanta hospital and we have temporarily shut down production. We are keeping John and his family in our thoughts and prayers.”
We have been informed of a serious injury to a SAG-AFTRA member on the set of The Walking Deadand 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.”A SAG-AFTRA spokesman stated in regards to the accident.
The talented actor has appeared in over 100 films and series as both an actor and stunt man, according to IMDb, including in films such as Get Out, Black Panther, Logan, and The Fate of the Furious.
Our thoughts go out to John Bernecker, his family and his friends. We will update you when more details have been announced.
Update: We are sad to report that John Bernecker passed away moments ago. Our thoughts are with his family and his friends.
John was filming a scene where he was to fall off a balcony at the sanctuary and land on a pad below. Assistant director Matthew Goodwin told police that when John began the fall he knew his direction was off. He grabbed the railing with both hands, but his momentum made it impossible to hold on. John landed on his head and neck, only inches from the pad. We do not know exactly what scene was being filmed but we do know that it involved Austin Amelio’s character Dwight. Before the scene John told Austin that he had never done a fall from such a height (22 feet). He also commented that John “seemed a little nervous” before giving a thumbs up to begin filming. John’s girlfriend, Jennifer Cocker, is a stuntwoman but was not on set that day.
Sets need to be safer. There has to be a prerequisite not to put a super professional stuntman with an inexperienced actor who doesn’t know what he’s doing.” Cocker said.
John’s accident and death reminds us just how dangerous the job is for stuntmen and stuntwomen who put their lives at risk to help created the films and series that we love so much. Each of these professionals deserve the same respect and recognition that their celebrity co-stars receive and their safety insured. Our condolences go out to those close to John. May he rest in peace.