‘The Walking Dead’ Premiere Pays Tribute to Stuntman John Bernecker and George Romero

“The Walking Dead” starts Season 8 with a dedication to a stuntman who died working on the show, and the director who invented the modern zombie genre

john bernecker
John Bernecker/Facebook

The premiere of “The Walking Dead” Season 8 ends with a memorial dedication to two people close to the show: Stuntman John Bernecker and Director George Romero.

Bernecker worked on “The Walking Dead” Season 8, and died accidentally during filming this summer. He fell 25 feet from a balcony and narrowly missed a safety cushion, according to police.

“The Walking Dead” also owes a lot to Romero, the other person to whom the premiere episode is dedicated. Romero didn’t work on the show, but the famed director’s movies did lay the groundwork for the show. He died in July after a brief battle with lung cancer at the age of 77.

Romero wrote and directed the 1968 movie “Night of the Living Dead,” which marks the invention of the modern zombie genre. He popularized the version of zombies that are essential to “The Walking Dead” — the shambling, reanimated cannibal corpses the show calls “walkers.” The movie also pushed the boundaries of the depiction of violence on film.

Bernecker worked as a stuntman since 2009 — his first gig was the crime thriller “Anytown.” Bernecker’s filmography includes 92 credits as a stuntman and 13 credits as an actor, including a role in 2017’s “Logan.”

He was often employed on AMC shows like “Turn: Washington’s Spies.” Additionally, he did stunt work on “24: Legacy,” “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” three of the “Hunger Games” films, “Black Panther” and “The Fate of the Furious.” John Bernecker doubled for Will Ferrell, Channing Tatum, Jay Baruchel and many more stars in his impressive career as a Hollywood stuntman. You can watch Bernecker’s stunt reel, which highlights a number of his roles, right here.


In 1978, Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” sequel, “Dawn of the Dead,” was released. The film imagines a zombie apocalypse and follows survivors who live together in a mall. They’re eventually attacked by other survivors. “Night of the Living Dead” and “Dawn of the Dead” helped establish zombies as we know them, and set a lot of the rules “The Walking Dead” makes use of in its storytelling.