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Crew member dies after fall on the set of Marvel TV series ‘Wonder Man’

The Marvel Studios logo on a screen in front of an audience
The Marvel Studios logo on display for a panel at Comic-Con International.
(Phillip Molnar / San Diego Union-Tribune)
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A crew member died Tuesday morning on the Los Angeles set of a Marvel TV series after falling from the rafters, a Marvel spokesperson has confirmed.

The crew member, a rigger, was working on Marvel Studios’ “Wonder Man” at Radford Studio Center in Studio City when the incident occurred.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, officers arrived Tuesday at the 4000 block of Radford Street for a death investigation upon receiving a call that a 50-year-old man had fallen from a catwalk onto a stage.

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“Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with his family and friends, and our support is behind the investigation into the circumstances of this accident,” a Marvel spokesperson said in a statement to The Times.

“Wonder Man” is set to star “Watchmen” and “Aquaman” actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Simon Williams, a munitions heir who develops superpowers and antagonizes the Avengers superhero squad, according to Deadline.

Based on Stan Lee’s comics, the show was created by Andrew Guest and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” director Destin Daniel Cretton for Marvel, which is owned by Walt Disney Co.

Cretton remained aboard “Wonder Man” after exiting another Marvel project, “Avengers: Kang Dynasty,” which was set to star the embattled Jonathan Majors, last year.

The death of the “Wonder Man” rigger follows other recent fatal incidents on the sets of movies and TV series.

John Bernecker, a stuntman on AMC’s popular show “The Walking Dead,” has died from injuries suffered on the show’s set in Georgia, in the latest tragedy to strike a film set mid-project.

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In October 2021, “Rust” cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died after a bullet from a prop gun handled by actor Alec Baldwin struck her in the chest on the set of the film near Santa Fe. Director Joel Souza was also injured but recovered.

In July 2017, “The Walking Dead” stuntman John Bernecker died after plummeting from a balcony onto a concrete floor on the set of the AMC zombie series.

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A 2015 Times report found an increased number of fatalities during filming in recent preceding years, with some industry experts blaming the pursuit of dramatic footage to stay competitive, especially in reality TV.

For example, three people died in a helicopter crash while filming a military show for the Discovery Channel in 2013. Two years later, 10 people died in another helicopter crash during production on an adventure show in Argentina.

Deadline was first to report the news of the death on the “Wonder Man” set.

In a statement to The Times, a spokesperson for Hollywood crew members union IATSE said that “everyone in the IA family is shocked and deeply saddened by this tragic loss.”

“Safety on set is our highest priority and we will assist Cal/OSHA in their investigation in any way that we can,” the statement continued.

“If you feel unsafe on set for any reason, members can call the IATSE Safety Hotline at 844-422-9273 or use our safety info app.”

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Times staff writer Ryan Faughnder contributed to this report.

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