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18th of November 2018


Crew member dies after falling from balcony on set of Tom Hanks’ Mister Rogers movie

Authorities say a crew member working on a movie about Mister Rogers has died after he suffered an apparent medical emergency and fell two storeys off a balcony in western Pennsylvania.

Allegheny County police say James Emswiller fell around 7:30 p.m. Thursday during a break in filming. The 61-year-old Pittsburgh man died in the hospital approximately an hour after his fall.

NEW: Mt. Lebanon police say they were filming scenes for Mr. Rodgers movie & they took a break. A crew member went out to smoke a cigarette on a 2nd store balcony & people heard a noise. They realized the man had fallen 2 stories. He was taken to Mercy in serious condition @WPXI

— Gabriella DeLuca (@GabriellaDeLuca) October 12, 2018

Emswiller was involved in the sound production of You Are My Friend, which was shooting a scene in Mount Lebanon. The film is based on the life of Fred Rogers, the genial host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

READ MORE: Tom Hanks will play Mister Rogers in ‘You Are My Friend’ biopic

“Basically, he appears to have suffered from a medical emergency while on the balcony,” Mt. Lebanon police Chief Aaron Lauth told People. “He was taking a break and smoking a cigarette when he fell.”

“He fell from the second storey of the building. Other crew members were inside the building, but not on the balcony. They noticed he wasn’t there and saw him down on the ground,” he continued.

#BREAKING: Mt. Lebanon Police say they think James Emswiller stepped outside for a smoke break when he may have suffered a heart attack and fell from the balcony.

The fall happened around 7:28 in Mt. Lebanon. His time of death was 10:36 at the hospital.@KDKA

— Meghan Schiller (@MeghanKDKA) October 12, 2018

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Mount Lebanon police say Emswiller fell over a brick wall on the balcony at an apartment building.

READ MORE: Selena Gomez suffers emotional ‘breakdown,’ enters mental health facility

Film star Tom Hanks, who is playing Rogers in the movie, was at the site and later left. Filming was cancelled for the evening.

“This is a devastating tragedy and the studio is investigating the matter. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jim’s loved ones, friends, and colleagues,” Sony Pictures/Tri-Star Pictures said in a statement.

Emswiller won an Emmy in 2015 for outstanding sound mixing for a limited series or a movie for HBO’s Bessie.

— With files from the Associated Press

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