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Jon

Jon

[jon]
Arason, Jon: see Aresson, Jon.
Aresson, Areson, or Arason, Jon, 1484?-1550, Icelandic churchman. The last Roman Catholic bishop in Iceland before the Reformation, he was executed together with his sons, Ara and Bjorn, for resisting the new religious ordinances brought about by the Reformation in Denmark. Aresson established the first Icelandic printing press at Holar in 1528. His poetry, secular and sacred, has been preserved.

Jon-Erik Hexum (November 5, 1957October 18, 1984) was an American actor and model, best known for accidentally killing himself on the set of Cover Up, a television series in which he was a central cast member.

Born to Norwegian immigrant parents, he was the star of the science fiction series Voyagers!, which aired on NBC during the 1982–83 television season. He also appeared in made for television movies The Bear and Making of a Male Model co-starring Joan Collins and Roxie Roker, and in an episode of Hotel, before being cast in the action series Cover Up.

Biography

Early life and career

Hexum was born in Tenafly, New Jersey, to Gretha and Thorleif Hexum. He and his older brother, Gunnar, were raised in Tenafly by their mother after their parents divorced when Hexum was four. After graduating from high school, Hexum went on to the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland in order to study biomedical engineering. However, he soon gave it up and switched to the Michigan State University in East Lansing. During that time, he worked as a radio disc jockey, played football, and acted in minor stage roles.

Only a few days after graduation, he moved to New York in 1980 in order to pursue his acting career. While working cleaning venetian blinds in offices, he met Bob LeMond of LeMond/Zetter Management, the manager of John Travolta, who saw great potential in Hexum. LeMond asked him to move to Los Angeles in 1981 in order to audition for a movie called Summer Lovers, directed by Randal Kleiser. Even though Hexum lost the part to Peter Gallagher, he was soon cast as the lead in the upcoming NBC TV show Voyagers!

Voyagers! saw two time travelers, Hexum and the young Jeffrey Jones - played by child actor Meeno Peluce - fixing history when problems arose. The stories involved figures like Spartacus, Harriet Tubman, Charles Lindbergh, Abraham Lincoln, Charles Dickens, Joe Louis, and others as the pair tried to put history back on track. The program was a form of edutainment and was sponsored by Scholastic magazine. The series only lasted one season, mainly because it was shown during the same time-slot as the popular television show 60 Minutes.

During his time in L.A., Hexum worked as a nightclub door man, cab driver and carpet cleaner to pay the bills. After a promotion tour which he financed himself, Hexum was cast for the movie Making of a Male Model with Joan Collins in 1983. He played a ranchhand who is invited by a modeling agent (Collins) to move to New York and pursue a modeling career. The film was Hexum’s breakthrough, but it also labeled him as a hunk and sex symbol, much to his dismay. After being considered for various television projects he eventually accepted a leading role in the television show Cover Up, where he played a former model turned weapons expert and undercover CIA agent. During the weekends, he was promoting the movie The Bear about college football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, in which he had a short, but well reviewed, part.

Personal life

Hexum dated actresses Heather Thomas and Emma Samms. At the time of his death, he was dating actress and singer E.G. Daily.

Death

On October 12, 1984, in between filming scenes on the set of Cover Up, Hexum was critically wounded after he placed a .44 Magnum prop gun loaded with blanks to his temple and pulled the trigger. The accident happened during the filming of a scene where Hexum’s character (Mac Harper) was supposed to unload a handgun and replace the bullets with blanks – as the script required. However, the shooting was delayed and Hexum – being overworked and tired due to his tight filming schedule and various TV appearances – fell asleep. Hexum awoke, realizing that the scene still was not ready to be shot, and put the gun to his head. Of all the crewmembers in the studio that day, no one claims to have seen the shooting. Hexum was apparently unaware that blanks use paper or plastic wadding to seal gun powder into the shell, and that this wadding is propelled out of the barrel of the gun with enough force to cause severe injury or death if the weapon is fired within a few inches of the body, especially if pointed at a particularly vulnerable spot, such as the temple or the eye. Although the paper wadding in the blank that Hexum discharged did not penetrate his skull, the wad struck him in the temple with enough blunt force trauma to shatter a quarter-sized piece of his skull and propel the pieces into his brain causing massive hemorrhaging.

Hexum was rushed to the Beverly Hills Medical Center where he underwent five hours of surgery to repair his wounds.On October 18, six days after the accident, Hexum was declared brain dead. Hexum's mother Greta allowed his body, still connected to life support, to be flown to San Francisco for organ transplants. Hexum's heart was then implanted into a then 36-year old Las Vegas escort service owner who was awaiting a heart transplant.Hexum's kidneys and corneas were also harvested and placed in organ transplant banks before his body was flown back to Los Angeles for autopsy and burial.

Hexum's death was ruled accidental.Hexum's mother later received an out of court settlement from Twentieth Century Fox Television and Glenn Larson Productions, the production team behind Cover Up.

Four weeks after Hexum's death, Cover Up resumed airing without Hexum's character, Mac Harper, who was killed in action. The return episode also featured a tribute to Hexum.Actor Antony Hamilton eventually replaced Hexum, but Cover Up was canceled after one season.

Filmography

Year Title Role Other notes
1982 Voyager from the Unknown Phineas Bogg
1982-1983 Voyagers! Phineas Bogg TV, 20 episodes
1983 Making of a Male Model Tyler Burnett Television movie
1984 Hotel Prince Erik TV, 1 episode
The Bear Pat Trammell
Cover Up Mac Harper TV, 7 episodes

References

External links

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