Amy Lin Johnson and Lisa Anderson, two respected backstage players specializing in live events and television awards, died in a car crash on Friday while on vacation in Costa Rica. Johnson was 49. Anderson was 45 years old.
The couple died after the tourist minibus they were riding in struck a semi-trailer as it attempted to pass on a two-lane road, according to a local report.
Their vacation companion, Leslie Wilson, 54, a producer and television director who also works in the live events business, survived the crash and was released from a hospital. The fourth passenger of their minibus, as well as his driver, were killed.
Diana Barton, a producer who has collaborated with Johnson, Anderson and Wilson, said Hollywood journalist that the three friends were on their way to get tested for COVID-19 so they could go home the next day.
Johnson and Wilson were recently co-executive producers of ABC’s Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade. They and Anderson have forged careers as reliable freelancers who have found work with many companies over the years.
The deaths of Johnson and Anderson “shook my production community within it,” Michael Levitt, producer and president of unscripted content producer Michael Levitt Productions, wrote on Facebook. “When they say ‘good guys die young’, there’s no better example than Amy Johnson and Lisa Anderson. The two extremely talented, kind and beautiful souls. Always with a smile on his face. Real professionals and stellar human beings.
A graduate of the University of South Florida, Johnson wrote a production resume that included work on television specials surrounding the CMT Music Awards, the Kids’ Choice Awards, and the iHeartRadio Music Festival.
Anderson, from Springfield, Illinois, has served as production manager, associate director, script supervisor, and producer for live events such as the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon, The Kennedy Center Honors – she just completed her work on the 2021 Edition – Golden Globes, Grammys and Specials live on the Oscars red carpet.
Johnson’s survivors include his parents; his sister, Cammie; his brother, Matthew; and his son Harper. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help her son. Anderson’s survivors include his parents; she was not married and had no children.
“The passing of Amy and Lisa has sparked a reverberation of loss that runs deep within our variety television production family,” Barton and Wilson said in a statement to THR. “Nothing in our work exists for very long, except the bonds and friendship we form over the years, with those with whom we work. In many cases, these relationships transcend the family. Amy and Lisa made a positive impact on everything they did and everyone they worked with, and we were a family.
“It wasn’t just the result of their decades of endless talent, determination, hard work and most of all, their willingness to be part, if not the heart, of a TV show. It was the result. of who they really were as human beings.
“As well as being beloved daughters and Amy’s a devoted mother, they were our colleagues, our dear friends, our ‘sister of another gentleman’, a shoulder to lean on and the first call that you passed when you needed a glass of wine and a talk.
“We are a collective of friends of hundreds of people who will lack laughter, wit, intelligence and an overall wonderful spirit. They will be sadly missed by all and will certainly never be replaced. “