Santa Monica-based filmmaker among thousands killed in Nepal

Friends, family of Tom Taplin mourn the Santa Monica-based filmmaker killed in Nepal

Friends and family on Sunday mourned the Santa Monica-based filmmaker who was among the thousands killed in the massive earthquake that struck Nepal.

Tom Taplin, 61, was filming a documentary about the base camp at Mt. Everest when the temblor triggered an avalanche, his wife, Cory Freyer, told NBC News.

At least 17 people died in the avalanche, including a Google executive and a doctor from New Jersey.

“It’s shocking,” said Freyer, who lives in Santa Monica. “All of his friends, and he has so many friends, every one of them is just devastated. Shocked.”

The couple married about three years ago but had been together for more than 24 years, said Freyer, who described her husband as a “larger-than-life person.”

“He was a brave guy who supported great conservation efforts,” his cousin, Jonathan Taplin, a professor at USC, said in a Facebook post.

A photographer who had operated his own production company for several decades, Taplin had been filming on Mt. Everest for nearly a month, Freyer told ABC News.

The Denver native was also a passionate mountaineer, and in the early 1990s, he authored a book about scaling Aconcagua in Argentina, the highest mountain outside of Asia.  

"It sounds trite, but he died doing what he loved doing” Freyer told NBC.

Nina Salerno, who said she met Taplin at the California Institute of the Arts, memorialized her friend in an Instagram post featuring a portrait he took of her: “He loved life, living and making films. Mount Everest is immortal for being his eternal home.” 

For breaking news in California, follow @MattHjourno

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