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The Walking Dead's Hundredth Episode Is Dedicated to Two Important People

Stuntman John Bernecker and director George Romero, who each impacted the show

Liam Mathews

The Walking Dead's Season 8 premiere/hundredth episode ended with dedications to two men: John Bernecker and George Romero.

Bernecker was a stuntman who died July 13 after an onset accident while filming The Walking Dead. Bernecker was working on a stunt that went wrong and he hit his head after falling 22 feet. After it happened, cast and crew paid tribute to Bernecker, who worked on a number of productions in the South.

"John's work on The Walking Dead and dozens of other movies and shows will continue to entertain and excite audiences for generations," showrunner Scott Gimple said at the time. "We are grateful for his contributions, and all of us send our condolences, love, and prayers to John's family and friends." Bernecker's organs were donated, so he saved lives.

Romero died on July 16, and was best known as the director of 1968's Night of the Living Dead, the film that inspired the modern pop culture wave of zombies and influenced horror films for decades. The Walking Dead wouldn't exist without the paradigm he created, so his inclusion here is the show paying tribute to its progenitor.

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The Walking Dead's director and special makeup effects guru Greg Nicotero told TV Guide that Romero's Dawn of the Dead is one of three movies that are "mostly responsible for every make-up artist working in the industry today." (The other two are An American Werewolf in London and The Thing.) Romero, however, didn't like The Walking Dead, calling it "a soap opera with a zombie occasionally" and blaming it for his inability to get financing to make another zombie movie.

The Walking Dead previously paid tribute to Bernecker and Romero with a moment of silence during its panel at San Diego Comic-Con the week after they died.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.