Acting action films come with lots of risks as actors on set are required to perform some risky stunts and in some cases required to handle weapons. There have been instances where action film actors get badly injured on set and are rushed to the ER and while some survive, others don’t get so lucky and unfortunately, Jon Erik Hexum belongs to the latter category. When he was filming the action TV series Cover Up in 1984, the actor accidentally blew his head with a .44 Magnum handgun, though rushed to the ER, Hexum sadly was declared brain dead six days later, truncating his rosy career. In memory of the actor, here is a look at his brief time in Hollywood as well some facts about his personal life.
Jon Erik Hexum’s Biography, Age
In the city of Englewood, New Jersey on the 5th of November 1957, Jon Erik Hexum was born and as is that case with most actors, his love for acting was kindled at a young age and he began acting in elementary school as early as the fourth grade.
Hexum attended Tenafly High School, graduating in 1976. In addition to acting, Hexum also proved to be very gifted musically. He was part of the school orchestra where he played both the violin and the horn. At home, he played the piano. After high school graduation, Hexum relocated to Cleveland to attend Case Western Reserve University where he studied biomedical engineering. A while later, he transferred to Michigan State University switching courses to philosophy.
An athletic person from young, Hexum played on the varsity football team during his time at Michigan State. Additionally, Hexum began DJing at local radio stations using the moniker, Yukon Jack. Hexum completed his college degree at MSU in 1980 and a few days later, moved to New York City with hopes to start a career in acting.
To afford basic needs, Hexum took menial jobs including cleaning apartments for money. Luck smiled on him when he was discovered by Bob LeMond who was managing John Travolta (who had already become a movie star) at the time. LeMond took interest in him and urged him to relocate to Los Angeles which he did in 1981.
Unfortunately, Jon Erik Hexum did not land the first role he auditioned for; the role which was for the romantic comedy film, Summer Lovers went to Peter Gallagher. Though he didn’t land the role, the exposure set him up for success as he was soon cast as one of the main characters in the NBC series Voyagers! thus, his first role was his breakthrough role. He played the role of Phineas Bogg for 20 episodes and was paid $10,000 for a week’s work. Unfortunately, the show was canceled after just one season.
Notwithstanding, the ruggedly handsome Jon Erik Hexum soared higher with every role. He appeared in the 1983 romantic TV film, Making of a Male Model and the 1984 biopic, The Bear. On the small screen, he earned a guest spot on the ABC drama show, Hotel. Hexum’s next major role was as an undercover CIA operative named Mac Harper in the CBS action drama, Cover Up. Unfortunately, this would be Hexum’s last role as he passed away following an accident on set.
Parents and Brother
Jon Erik Hexum was born to parents Gretha and Thorleif Hexum who both hail from Norway. Unfortunately, Hexum became a product of a broken home when his parents separated in 1961, a time when Hexum was just 4 years old. Following the separation, Jon, alongside his older brother, Gunnar Hexum would be raised by their mother in Tenafly, Bergey County, New Jersey.
Jon Erik Hexum’s Death
Jon Erik Hexum’s death was a tragic one, to say the least. It was on the 12th of October 1984, Hexum was filming on the set of Cover Up when he was handed a .44 Magnum handgun and blanks. Following a delay with filming as the director wasn’t impressed by the results, Hexum became bored and in a bid to lighten his mood became restless and started goofing around with the gun. Hexum removed all but one of the blanks from the functional handgun and began playing the game of Russian Roulette with the hopes that the functional gun with blanks (which use paper or plastic wadding to seal the gunpowder) was harmless, but unfortunately, he was unaware that a shot at close range could do real damage. Hexum placed the gun on his right temple and pulled the trigger. The bullet fractured his skull and he was rushed to the ER. Despite a five hour surgery, Hexum couldn’t make it as he was declared brain dead six days later on the 18th of October 1984.
Hexum was a California Organ donor card carrier at death and as a result, 6 of his organs including his heart were donated to save lives. The 20th Century Fox Television and Glen A. Larson Productions both behind the production of Cover-Up would compensate Hexum’s mother in an out-of-court settlement.
At the time of his death, Hexum was in a relationship with actress and singer Elizabeth “E.G.” Daily.
Jon Erik Hexum was one handsome man, he was charming and exuded a lot of confidence a trait he described as one of his strongest. His height of 6 feet 1 inch undoubtedly contributed to his confidence.