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Angela Bassett Mourns ‘9-1-1’ Crew Member After Fatal Car Crash

By Michael May 15, 2024
“9-1-1” stars Angela Bassett as Athena Grant Disney/Justin Stephens

Angela Bassett is mourning the loss of 9-1-1 crew member Rico Priem after his untimely death following a 14-hour shift on the ABC series.

“The studio, 9-1-1, we all extend our deepest condolences to his friends to his family,” Bassett, 65, told Entertainment Tonight in an interview published on Tuesday, May 14. “It was just a very, very sad moment. We’re all rocked by it, certainly.”

Bassett noted that during her time on the series, which is currently filming its seventh season, the cast and crew have experienced “births” and “weddings” together, but this is their first time dealing with loss. She added that time was taken on set to honor Priem, where “so many beautiful words were spoken of him.”

“We just had to take a moment, just take time and take a moment,” she continued. “We thought it was important to come together and have whatever bit of service and offer whatever we can do to his family, ’cause we know that we’ll miss him but we know they will miss him even more.”

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According to the California Highway Patrol, Priem, who worked as a grip and crew member of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 80, was driving after his shift ended on Saturday, May 11, when his Toyota Highlander left the road and flipped onto the roof. He was pronounced dead at the scene and his identity was later released by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner.

His death was also confirmed by IATSE. “We are fully committed to the safety and the well-being of all our members and express our heartfelt condolences to the member’s family,” IATSE said in a statement. “Workers have a reasonable expectation that they can get to work and come home safely. No one should be put in unsafe circumstances while trying to earn a living.”

Following his tragic passing, the show’s studio, 20th Television sent their “sincere and deepest condolences to Rico Priem’s family and friends.” A spokesperson from the AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) also released a statement, telling Us Weekly, “Our hearts go out to Rico Priem’s family, friends, and all of those who are impacted by this tragic loss of life.”

Priem’s death was addressed by one of his fellow grips, Nina Moskol, who said that they had just worked together last week.

Disney/Chris Willard

“He was on the cusp of retirement, with his paperwork filed,” she wrote via Instagram on Sunday, May 12. “He had his already rich life planned for retirement, including spending time with his wife, watching his grand-nephew grow, riding his beloved Harley, and even gripping still to stay connected to his friends. He was so jazzed about what he had learned about retiring, he wanted to teach the ins and outs of retirement at the local.”

Moskol noted that the “two most dangerous parts” of the day are “getting to work and getting home.” She urged, “Please stay safe out there. Grip safe. Drive safe. Get off the road if needed. Take the room.”

Aisha Hinds, who plays Henrietta on the firefighter drama, also mourned Priem in a length statement via Instagram on Tuesday.

“Words….ever insufficient…none able to carry the harrowing heartbreak reverberating through our 9-1-1 family,” she wrote alongside a 9-1-1 promo image. “As the industry processes the passing of one of our invaluable and invested individuals—notably loyal, thus lauded and loved for his commitment to his craft and sharing the wisdom he’d gleaned from decades of working in this industry, hearts are heavy navigating feelings of grief and gratitude for the life of Rico Priem.”

Calling the crew the “unsung heroes” and “cornerstones” of the show, Hinds explained that people like Priem are “integral to the execution of every idea that begins in the minds of creatives becoming long-lasting memories and moments that live on in the hearts of humanity.”

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She continued, “Rico graced us with his presence and passion, before he passed away in the early morning hours on Saturday, May 11th It is the hope and the unspoken assumption that when we wrap a days work, we will see each other again to do it all over again the next day. His passing has stilled our hearts and signaled for more conversation and care in that area.

She concluded her tribute with a message of “deep love” for the 9-1-1 crew members, adding that she was “whispering a gentle prayer to the sacred soft spaces within his family’s hearts that ache in his absence.”

By Michael

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