John Bernecker

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John Bernecker
John Bernecker

March 2, 1984
DiedJuly 13, 2017 (aged 33)
Cause of deathHead trauma
Resting placeMetairie Cemetery, New Orleans
Years active2009–2017
TelevisionThe Walking Dead

John Bernecker (March 2, 1984 – July 13, 2017) was an American stunt performer.

Early life[edit]

Bernecker was born in New Orleans. He attended the University of New Orleans and Southeastern University.[1]


Bernecker worked on over 90 films and television series, including Jonah Hex, Green Lantern, The Hunger Games film series, Logan and The Fate of the Furious. He posthumously appeared in numerous films, such as Black Panther and Game Night.[2]


On July 12, 2017, Bernecker was performing stunts on the television series The Walking Dead. During rehearsal of a stunt, Bernecker fell 20 feet (6.1 m) onto a concrete floor, missing a placed safety cushion by "inches",[3] and sustained a severe head injury. This shut down production on the series.[4] He was taken to Atlanta Medical Center and placed on life support. He died from his injuries the following day.[5]


Tributes were paid by people Bernecker worked with, including Walking Dead stars Norman Reedus, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan.[6] The premiere episode of the eighth season, "Mercy", the first to air after the accident, was dedicated "In Memory of John Bernecker", along with dedication to George A. Romero who died 3 days later.[7][8]

The movie Game Night has a dedication to his memory at the end of the credits. A dedication was also made in his memory in the credits for the series finale of Turn: Washington's Spies. The movie Avengers Of Justice: Farce Wars has a tribute at the end of all the credits.

Bernecker was buried at Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans.[1]


Bernecker's mother initiated a lawsuit against AMC and the production companies involved in filming The Walking Dead in January 2018, asserting the companies were negligent in safety precautions for the stunt.[9] The jury trial was held in December 2019,[10] with the jury awarding Bernecker's family US$8.6 million in damages after finding that TWD 8, AMC's production company, and Stalwart Films negligent in Bernecker's death, while clearing AMC of any wrongdoing.[11]


  1. ^ a b "John Bernecker". The New Orleans Advocate – via
  2. ^ "John Bernecker". IMDb. Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  3. ^ Pressberg, Matt (July 14, 2017). "'The Walking Dead' Stuntman Missed Safety Cushion by 'Inches' (Report)". The Wrap News.
  4. ^ Handel, Jonathan (July 13, 2017). "'Walking Dead' Halts Production After Stuntman Hospitalized for On-Set Injury". Hollywood Reporter.
  5. ^ Otterson, Joe (July 14, 2017). "'Walking Dead' Stuntman Dies After On-Set Accident". Variety.
  6. ^ Rubin, Rebecca (July 14, 2017). "'Walking Dead' Cast Members, Other Stars React to Death of Stuntman John Bernecker". Variety.
  7. ^ Hornshaw, Phil (October 22, 2017). "'The Walking Dead' Premiere Pays Tribute to Stuntman John Bernecker and George Romero". The Wrap.
  8. ^ Ross, Dalton (October 22, 2017). "The Walking Dead Showrunner Answers Season 8 Premiere Burning Questions". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
  9. ^ Maddaus, Gene (January 24, 2018). "AMC Accused of Cutting Corners in 'Walking Dead' Stuntman's Death". Variety. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  10. ^ Johnson, Ted (December 17, 2019). "'Walking Dead' Stuntman's Death Was "Horrible" Unforeseen Accident, AMC Attorney Says In Closing Argument". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
  11. ^ Maddaus, Gene (December 19, 2019). "Jury Awards $8.6 Million Verdict in Death of 'Walking Dead' Stuntman". Variety. Retrieved December 19, 2019.

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