An assistant director died following a month-long battle with the coronavirus after working on a commercial set in July, according to reports.
John Nolan went into cardiac arrest and died Aug. 26, his family wrote on the website CaringBridge, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The 51-year-old, who lived in Texas, worked as a second assistant director on a six-day ad shoot for State Farm Insurance in Austin between July 9 to 16, according to Tool of North America, a production company in Santa Monica.
He tested positive for COVID-19 on July 29 and was admitted into the intensive care unit at St. David’s hospital in Georgetown, Texas on Aug. 5 and placed on a ventilator days later.
It’s not known where or how Nolan, who’s worked on TV shows including “LA’s Finest’ and the upcoming movie “The Paper Tigers,” contracted the virus.
But his death has sparked safety concerns over the lack of coronavirus guidelines as those in the industry — which has taken a hit during the pandemic — begin returning to sets.
“Some people are afraid,” John Elmore, who’s worked for 20 years as an assistant director and was a colleague of Nolan’s, told the LA Times.
“They’re thinking of just getting out of the business completely. It’s important to know what happened and what still needs to be done for this industry to get back to work safely.”
Tool said it tested crew members’ temperatures daily on the set Nolan worked on and no one failed. Social distancing measures were in place, and the crew was given protective equipment and had a COVID-19 compliance assistant on set, as well as a medic and sanitation crew.
“John’s passing is tragic, and we extend our deepest condolences to his family,” said Matt Van Hoven, spokesman for Tool of North America. “We take all available options regarding safety precautions very seriously.”
Van Hoven said Tool is working with the Association of Independent Commercial Producers, the LA County Department of Public Health and unions regarding coronavirus measures.
Some unions are now calling for testing on all productions. In Texas, where Nolan lived, temperature-testing was required on set while Los Angeles County guidelines exempt short-duration films, like commercial shoots, from testing.
But the AICP said testing, like temperature-taking and antibody tests, aren’t reliable and instead recommends that crew members fill out health questionnaires, according to the LA Times.
Nolan’s love for film began when he worked as an extra on the movie “Leap of Faith,” according to his online obituary, which describes him as the ultimate family man who loved watching his four children, Megan, Alex, Nick and Jacob, grow up.
“No matter what John was doing or who he was doing it for did he did it 100%,” the post said. “He worked at 100% and he loved at 100%.”
He also leaves behind his wife of 25 years, Carol Nolan.