• Sound mixer dies after fall on set of Mister Rogers movie

    Updated:

    MOUNT LEBANON, Pa. - A crew member on the biographical film about Fred Rogers has died after falling two stories from a Mount Lebanon apartment building Thursday night.

    RELATED STORY: Production for Mr. Rogers movie will begin locally this fall

    James Emswiller, a 61-year-old sound mixer from the Pittsburgh area, took a smoke break between filming scenes for “You Are My Friend” on Shady Drive when others nearby said they heard a noise and discovered he had fallen from a balcony, police said.

    Investigators believe he had some sort of medical emergency that caused him to fall.

    Photo courtesy: LinkedIn (James Emswiller)
    LinkedIn (James Emswiller)

    Emswiller had a successful career in film, working on several major blockbusters and even winning an Emmy.

    Local film industry professionals are devastated by Emswiller’s death.

    “We're all sad. It's a tremendous loss for our community. It’s a tremendous loss for our film family. Jim was an important, valued, trusted member of our group,” Pittsburgh Film Office Director Dawn Keezer said. “It takes a lot of people to make this happen here in Pittsburgh, to get this work here, and he is going to be greatly missed.”

    Sony Pictures/TriStar Pictures released a statement that said: “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.”

    Emswiller worked for nearly 33 years in the film industry, spending time on blockbusters like "The Avengers" and "Jack Reacher."

    Emswiller was initially taken to UPMC Mercy in serious condition, police said. The police chief later said the situation worsened, and his condition became critical.

    Emswiller died about 8:30 p.m. at the hospital.

    Filming stopped for the night as police investigated.

    Users of the WPXI news app were the first in Pittsburgh to hear about this story. Click here to follow updates and download the app.


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