Jon-Erik Hexum Biography, Wiki, Age, Career, Death, Cause of Death | Who was Jon-Erik Hexum? Bio, Wiki

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Who was Jon-Erik Hexum?

Jon-Erik Hexum, November 5, 1957 – October 18, 1984, was an American actor and model, known for his lead roles in the TV series Voyagers! and Cover-Up, and his supporting role as Pat Trammell in the biopic The Bear. He died by an accidental self-inflicted blank cartridge gunshot to the head on the set of Cover-Up.

What happened to Jon-Erik Hexum?

The 26-year-old actor had been filming a scene on his own television show, CBS spy adventure Cover Up, where he played an undercover CIA agent posing as a male model.

Hexum grew increasingly frustrated with delays to filming the scene and began playing with the gun, spinning the barrel like a game of Russian roulette.

In what has been described as a tragic accident, the actor playfully spun the barrel, which had one bullet inside, and placed the gun to the temple of his head, and pulled the trigger.

The gun discharged a wad of paper which shattered his skull, forcing a bone fragment the size of a small coin into the center of his brain.

After losing several pints of blood on the way to the hospital, the actor underwent five hours of surgery and was placed on life-support machines.

Six days later, Hexum was declared brain dead and his organs were harvested with permission of his devastated family.

Jon-Erik Hexum died during shoot of Cover Up
Jon-Erik Hexum died during shoot of Cover Up

The New Jersey-born star’s heart was transplanted into the chest of Michael Washington – a Vietnam war hero who also owned an infamous escort service known as Swinging Suzy’s in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Washington, who was twice awarded the prestigious Purple Heart for services to his country, became obsessed with the actor towards the end of his life.

Washington was interviewed on the CBS news show West 57th in 1985 and said that he felt “connected” to Hexum.

He said: “I’m alive because of him, so now I want to know about Jon-Erik Hexum.

“So now I’m asking questions. I’m sending my mother to the store to buy books, to buy this, to buy that. I want to know about this guy now.”

Washington said that when he watched episodes of Cover-Up it would “bring a tear to my eye.”

He added: “Because of this man, I’m alive today – so it becomes real personal.”

Aside from Washington, one of Hexum’s kidneys saved the life of a five-year-old boy while his skin was grafted onto a three-year-old child who had suffered horrific burns.

Both of the 26-year-old’s eyes were donated – one went to a 66-year-old man while the other was given to a young girl.

Hexum’s former friend and roommate Nick Alan said that he was with the actor when he signed up to become an organ donor.

Alec Baldwin’s shooting accident likened to Jon-Erik Hexum, Brandon Lee’s deaths

Alec Baldwin (left), Brandon Lee (middle) and Jon-Erik Hexum
Alec Baldwin (left), Brandon Lee (middle) and Jon-Erik Hexum

The tragedy that occurred on the New Mexico set of Alec Baldwin’s film “Rust” is not the first time the safety of a Hollywood cast and crew have been put in jeopardy.

The actor fired a prop gun on the movie set that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza, authorities said on Thursday.

A spokesperson for Baldwin said there was an accident on the set involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks. Sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios said detectives were investigating how and what type of projectile was discharged.

The on-set tragedy is a grim reminder of two devastating accidents involving prop guns that ended the lives of two rising stars.

In 1984, Jon-Erik Hexum was just 26 years old when he fatally shot himself on the set of his CBS series “Cover Up” with a .44 Magnum pistol loaded with blanks. 

The actor’s final words before the horrific shooting vary in reports. 

According to Entertainment Weekly, Hexum had been napping during delays in filming. However, when he later learned that there would be more delays, Hexum reportedly held the gun to his head and joked “Can you believe this crap?” before pulling the trigger.

Jon-Erik Hexum Biography, Wiki

Jon-Erik Hexum was born on November 5, 1957, in Englewood, New Jersey, to Thorleif and Gretha Hexum. His family had Norwegian roots. Jon grew up with his elder brother, Gunnar, in Tenafly, New Jersey.

His parents got divorced when he was 4 years old. Jon was a brilliant student in school and was deeply in love with music. He had his own piano set at home and also played the violin in his school orchestra.

He also nurtured an interest in acting but did not know where to start. Once he completed his high-school graduation, Jon enrolled at the ‘Case Western Reserve University’ and studied biomedical engineering. He also participated in theater extensively in college. He got bored of his studies.

He soon realized his interests lay in music, sports, and acting and dropped out of the university.He later got enrolled at the ‘James Madison College’ of the ‘Michigan State University’ and played football for his college team. Around the same time, he also became active in the local theater scene and played small roles in many plays. He also worked as a DJ under the name “Yukon Jack” at local clubs during his college years.

By the time he graduated with a major in philosophy and economics, he was sure that acting was what he wanted to do all his life. In 1980, soon after his college graduation, he moved to New York to participate in the theater scene there. Simultaneously, he did many odd jobs to make ends meet. He worked as a cleaner when he met Hollywood star John Travolta’s manager.

Jon-Erik Hexum Biography
Jon-Erik Hexum
BornNovember 5, 1957
Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.
DiedOctober 18, 1984 (aged 26)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of deathAccidental self-inflicted gunshot injury
OccupationActor, model
Years active1982–1984

Jon-Erik Hexum Career

Starting from the late 1970s, when Jon first started auditioning for TV roles, he reportedly turned down several offers due to lack of quality. He thus missed the opportunity to work in series such as ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ and ‘CHiPs.’ He also turned down many offers to appear in soap operas.

However, agent Bob LeMond recognized Jon’s talent. In 1981, Bob asked Jon to move to Los Angeles to audition for a movie named ‘Summer Lovers.’ Although Jon did not get a role in the film, his power-packed audition was loved by many. Soon, he was offered a meaty role in the series ‘Voyagers!’

The science-fiction series had Jon playing the role of ‘Phineas Bogg,’ a character traveling through time. The series ran for a single season, from 1982 to 1983, and Jon was the leading man in all 20 episodes of the series. Although the series was a commercial and critical success, it was not renewed for a second season. However, the show proved to be highly beneficial for Jon. At that time, he was not only earning $10,000 a week but was also inviting attention from young audience members. This later helped him bag some major roles.

In 1983, he earned a major role in the made-for-TV film ‘Making of a Male Model.’ Jon played the role of ‘Tyler Burnett’ in the film. It received average reviews, but Jon’s performance was appreciated. In 1984, Jon made a guest appearance in a single episode of the series ‘Hotel,’ titled ‘Tomorrows.’

The same year, he appeared in the film ‘The Bear.’ The film was a biopic of Paul “Bear” Bryant, former football coach of the ‘University of Alabama.’ Jon played the role of a terminally ill player on the football team named Pat Trammel. This has been the most critically acclaimed performance of his career so far.

Although Jon was quite a in demand, he was largely dissatisfied with the way his career was progressing. He wanted to do big films and better roles, but he was unable to bag such roles. After turning down many offers, he finally decided to play the lead role in the action-adventure series ‘Cover Up.’ He appeared in the leading role of ‘Mac Harper’ in the series. It turned out to be his last series.

What movies did he appear in?

Before Cover Up, Hexum appeared in NBC time travel show Voyagers, which was cancelled in 1983 after just one season, and appeared in TV movie Making of a Male Model alongside British star Joan Collins.

Hexum reportedly had a “fascination” with guns, something which concerned his Cover Up co-star Jennifer O’Neill who had also accidentally shot herself two years prior at her home in New York.

The show’s executive producer Glen Larson claimed that Hexum insisted on using a 44. magnum for the scene – a weapon that still is one of the most powerful handguns in the world.

The producers of Cover-Up decided to continue with the show and cast British-born actor Antony Hamilton as the new lead character.

But the action-adventure series never recovered from the tragedy and was canceled after one season.

Hamilton died in March 1995, from AIDS-related pneumonia.

Jon-Erik Hexum Girlfriend

Jon-Erik Hexum was dating actor Elizabeth Daily at the time of his death. Elizabeth later revealed that although Jon was not suicidal, he had been excessively frustrated about the direction of his career.

Jon-Erik Hexum with girlfriend Elizabeth Daily
Jon-Erik Hexum with girlfriend Elizabeth Daily

Jon-Erik Hexum FAQ’s

Who was Jon-Erik Hexum?

Jon-Erik Hexum, November 5, 1957 – October 18, 1984, was an American actor and model, known for his lead roles in the TV series Voyagers! and Cover-Up, and his supporting role as Pat Trammell in the biopic The Bear. He died by an accidental self-inflicted blank cartridge gunshot to the head on the set of Cover-Up.

How did Jon-Erik Hexum die?

Jon-Erik Hexum died due to an Accidental self-inflicted gunshot injury on the sets of Cover Up.

How old was Jon-Erik Hexum?

Jon-Erik Hexum died at 27 years old.

Who was Jon-Erik Hexum’s girlfriend?

Jon-Erik Hexum was dating actor Elizabeth Daily at the time of his death. Elizabeth later revealed that although Jon was not suicidal, he had been excessively frustrated about the direction of his career.

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