I’ve spoken with a doctor who saw stuntman John Bernecker back in 2012 when he took a much longer — 120 feet- -dive on a movie set and broke his knee cap. The fall — on the set of “The Walking Dead”– that killed him yesterday was 22 feet, but he hit his head.
The doctor, William Garth, tells me that Bernecker’s accident, according to Bernecker, was because “someone moved the cushion” he was supposed to land on. Bernecker was working as a stunt double for actor James Marsden on a movie called “The Loft.”
“His line– maybe like a bungee line– was too long and he told me someone had moved the cushion,” Garth told me. “It was taken out from underneath him. He broke his knee cap. He was very upset about it. I think it gave him trouble for a year. He was out of work. There was a lot of controversy.”
In the fall that killed him yesterday there are several reports that he missed the fall cushion by several inches.
Garth had nothing but nice things to say about Bernecker, who was 33, and remembered his mother as well. What a shame. But also, how bizarre. Perhaps an investigation into what happened will shed some light.