Mister Rogers Movie Crew Member Dies After Tragic Fall On Set

The set of Mister Rogers biopic You Are My Friend has been struck with tragedy, after a member of the crew died on Thursday night, after falling from a second story balcony.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Emmy Award-winning sound crew technician James M. Emswiller, 61, died an hour after he fell on Thursday night, which occurred around 7:30 pm. The Allegheny County medical examiner's office confirmed the death on Friday morning.

The police were called to the set in Mt. Lebanon, PA on Thursday evening, for a report of a man who fell from the second story of a building where filming was taking place. After the authorities arrived, the located the man on the ground behind the building. The report states that several crew members, including an on-set medic, were attempting life-saving measures. Police officers assisted until the paramedics arrived soon after.

Emswiller was taken to a local hospital, UPMC Mercy, where he was later pronounced dead.

Witnesses reportedly told the police that Emswiller was alone on the balcony taking a smoke break when the accident occurred. He may have suffered a medical emergency which caused the fall, though the cause of death is still to be determined by the medical examiner's office. Earlier reports suggest that Emswiller might have suffered a heart attack.

“All of a sudden all of these lights were just everywhere, and they started inching closer toward us shining into the bar, and I was like what is happening out there, and there was just people everywhere, people on the curb sitting,” Vince Passerini told Post-Gazette news partner KDKA-TV.

Emswiller is a veteran of the industry, having worked on major films like The Avengers, Jack Reacher, and Concussion. He also won a Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Award for his work on HBO's Bessie.


A Pennsylvania local, Emswiller was also elected as a state constable in 2015.

You Are My Friend is a film about Mister Rogers' Neighborhood host Fred Rogers, and it stars Tom Hanks as the iconic television personality.