Updated October 18, 2021 - 4:20 pm
Jonathan Goodwin, “The Daredevil” of Las Vegas, has suffered serious injuries after a stunt went horribly awry Thursday during in rehearsals for NBC’s “AGT: Extreme.”
“AGT” officials confirmed Goodwin’s incident, which unfolded Thursday during rehearsals at Atlanta Motor Speedway, in a statement Friday.
“During a rehearsal last evening for ‘America’s Got Talent: Extreme,’ an accident occurred in which escape artist Jonathan Goodwin was injured while performing his act,” a spokesperson for the show said in a statement. “He was responsive and was immediately taken to the hospital where he is continuing to receive medical care. Our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family as we await further updates on his condition.”
The show, which began shooting in Atlanta on Sept. 27, has suspended filming at least through the weekend.
A popular Vegas danger-act performer, the 41-year-old Goodwin most recently performed as a side act in “Fantasy” at Luxor.
Goodwin has been featured in “The Illusionists” production owned by Cirque du Soleil. The show filled with magic-styled and danger acts was to be the featured performance of the 2020 “One Night For One Drop” charity show at Luxor. It has also long been expected to perform in residency in Las Vegas.
According to multiple reports, led initially by TMZ, Goodwin was seriously injured in an “AGT: Live” act while taping at the speedway. Goodwin was suspended about 70 feet high in a straitjacket, hanging upside-down by his feet, as two cars were also suspended at his sides. The cars were to swing back and forth, with Goodwin freeing himself, then falling to an air bag. The cars would then collide.
But the act went wrong as the cars collided with Goodwin still in between, the vehicles bursting into fire. Goodman then fell, missing the air bag and hitting his head on the ground and suffering what was reported to be a neurological injury.
Though original reports estimated Goodwin fell 70 feet, more recent accounts (and conversations picked up on the emergency call) indicate he actually dropped 40 feet after the collision.
Goodwin was airlifted to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. The British tabloid The Sun, quoting a Henry County Sheriff department spokesperson, said Goodwin “suffered severe injuries to his legs and several lacerations, and was airlifted to Grady Hospital. He was transported in serious condition, but is currently alive, alert and well.”
TMZ has posted the original 911 emergency call, made by a heath-care professional onsite. She describes Goodwin, as “agonal and posturing,” struggling to breathe and moving involuntarily. That term is typically used for injury victims who are close to death.
“AGT: Extreme” was announced this month as the latest offshoot of the “America’s Got Talent” franchise. WWE combatant Nikki Bella, action-sports star Travis Pastrana and series creator Simon Cowell will serve as judges. Terry Crews will be the host.
A release from the show states: “This new series will showcase the most outrageous, unique and jaw-dropping acts of enormous scale and magnitude that simply cannot be confined to a theater stage. Each week contestants will go head-to-head in the most wild, intense and often times beautiful performances to vie for a $500,000 prize and the ultimate title, the champion of ‘America’s Got Talent: Extreme.’”
Also, the highly anticipated “America’s Got Talent: Live” stage show is set to open for previews Oct. 28 at Luxor. Goodwin is not in that show’s cast.
A Las Vegas resident, Goodwin most recently performed in “Fantasy” during the show’s relaunch at Luxor in October 2020. He departed the show in September to pursue “AGT: Live.” He had reportedly planned to perform in the new Cirque show opening in January at the former Zumanity Theater at New York-New York (that show is not yet formally cast).
Goodwin’s Facebook page notes he is engaged to English actress Amanda Abbington of the BBC series “Sherlock.” The stunt performer has a 9-year-old daughter.
Goodwin, sometimes called an “escapeologist” also reached the semifinals of Season 15 of “AGT” last year. Fellow semifinalist Brett Loudermilk, a cast member of “Opium” at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, posted on Facebook, “Jonathan Goodwin is a beast, brilliantly and terrifyingly creative, a great friend and incredibly generous.”
“Fantasy” producer Anita Mann hired Goodwin in October to perform as a guest star during the show’s break in dance numbers. She said Friday that nothing had been set for Goodwin’s return to the show “other than we love him and would have continued with us when available. This is so sad. I am sending prayers.”
During his “AGT” run in 2020, Goodwin advanced with a fire act, releasing himself from a suit of padlocks and shackles as flames raced over his body.
At the time, Goodwin noted the routine was not nearly as death-defying as it should have been, because wind knocked down the flames.
“You want it to be the biggest spectacular it can be, but this can happen when you are on live TV and working with the elements,” Goodwin said. “There could have been, and should have been, more fire. Two hours before we were supposed to do it, the air was still and perfect, so it muted how spectacular it was.”
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.