In the early 1980s, this ruggedly handsome young man of Norwegian parentage was seen as the "next big thing", and then suddenly he was dead from an accident via a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Hexum was born and raised in Tenafly, New Jersey, where he was a musically gifted student at school playing both the horn & the violin in the school orchestra, and even the piano at home. He then attended Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, before transferring across to Michigan State University studying bio-medical engineering and then switching over to philosophy. Whilst at MSU, Hexum played football, and DJ'd at several local radio stations under the name of "Yukon Jack", before being discovered by John Travolta's manager, Bob LeMond.
Hexum allegedly turned down plenty of opportunities to appear in shows such as "The Dukes of Hazzard" (1979) & "CHiPs" (1977) and many day time soap operas before finally making his debut in the TV series "Voyagers!" (1982) as time traveler Phineas Bogg. He was then cast as hunk Tyler Burnett alongside Joan Collins in Making of a Male Model (1983) (TV), and then as ex-Green Beret Mac Harper in the TV series "Cover Up: Pilot (#1.0)" (1984).
However, on October 12th, 1984 after a long and draining day's shooting on the set of "Cover Up: Pilot (#1.0)" (1984), Hexum became bored with the extensive delays and jokingly put a prop .44 magnum revolver to his temple and pulled the trigger. The gun fired, and the wadding from the blank cartridge shattered his skull, whereupon the mortally injured Hexum was rushed via ambulance to hospital to undergo extensive surgery. Despite five hours of work, the chief surgeon, Dr. David Ditsworth, described the damage to Hexum's brain as life-ending. One week later, on October 18th, he was taken off life support and pronounced dead. However, Hexum's commitment to organ donation meant five other lives were assisted or saved with organs harvested from him. The youthful & charming Hexum was dead at only 26 years of age.
He carried a California Organ Donor's card. When he died, at least five people received transplants of his viable organs, including his heart.
Accidentally shot himself in the head with a prop gun loaded with blanks on the set of "Cover Up" (1984)
Graduated from Michigan State University with a BA in Social Science in May 1980
Was dating Elizabeth Daily at the time of his death
Graduated from Tenafly High School in 1976
Began acting in second grade in elementary school.
Best friends with Lennon the Photographer who shared a Motor Home with Jon-Erik on the Fox Lot at the time of his death. Lennon was his personal Photographer and the only person Jon-Erik allowed to photograph him in the last few years of his life. Lennon was waiting at his Bel Air residence for Jon-Erik to come and pick him up for dinner, when the phone rang and he heard of the "accident". Lennon was also the specialty photographer and technical advisor on Cover Up.
First cousin of New Orleans television anchorman Eric Paulsen.
In 1988, dedicated fans of Jon-Erik Hexum started a Star Trek-based fan club named in his honor. The USS Hexum is based in suburban St. Louis (Belleville, IL) and continues to this day.
One of my strongest traits is confidence; at times I'm amazed at my confidence, even when it doesn't make sense that I should be.
I feel it is a great fortune to have some passion in life and an urgency in direction; it makes our whole being so much fuller.
I had to work very hard to break into this business and now there's even more work to be done. Fortunately, I've got a team of people to help me. I can concentrate on being a better actor. That's my number one priority. I'm fairly confident about what I do and I'm just doing the best I can.
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