James Emswiller, Emmy-Winning Sound Mixer, Dies at 61 After Fall on Set of Tom Hanks’ Mr. Rogers Movie

Movie about children’s TV host Mr. Rogers is currently filming in and around Pittsburgh

Last Updated: October 12, 2018 @ 5:51 AM

Updated with Emswiller’s death and details about his background.

Emmy-winning sound technician James Emswiller died Thursday night after falling from a balcony on the Mt. Lebanon, Penn., set of the Tom Hanks film about children’s television legend Fred Rogers, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Friday.

Emswiller, 61, died about an hour after the incident, which occurred at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Allegheny County medical examiner’s office told the paper Friday.

According to the police report obtained by TheWrap, witnesses said Emswiller was taking a break to smoke a cigarette when he fell from the second story balcony of an apartment building. Police believe that he may have experienced a medical problem before the fall.

According to IMDb, Emswiller is a veteran sound mixer whose credits include “The Fault in Our Stars,” “Foxcatcher,” the Will Smith film “Concussion” and the upcoming “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?”

He shared an Emmy Award in 2015 for Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Limited Series or a Movie for his work on the HBO movie “Bessie.”

Police were dispatched to the scene just after 7:30 p.m. ET where they encountered other crew members as well as the set’s medic attempting life-saving measures on the man, who was on the ground at the rear of the building. He was later transported to UPMC Mercy Hospital. As of this writing, he is reported to be in critical condition.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Hanks was on site but later left. Filming was stopped for the night after the injury occurred.

Big Beach, which is producing the film, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Focus Features release, tentatively titled “You Are My Friend,” is directed by Marielle Heller from a script by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster. It follows a cynical journalist who begrudgingly agrees to do a profile piece on Rogers (Hanks), but finds his life transformed by the experience.

The story is based on a real-life friendship between Rogers and journalist Tom Junod.