The worst sort of dying is an unintentional death delivered in a dumb act. Meet the sad lesson of Jon-Erik Hexum.

Jon-Erik Hexum

Dead at 26 because of an accidental, self-inflicted, gunshot wound to the head, Jon-Erik Hexum left behind a promising career as an actor and a family that loved him and fans who adored him. He may have had beefcake body, but his talent was real and his voice was deep and vibrating and he had a great comedic timing that made him accessible to both men and women:

Jon-Erik Hexum

Jon-Erik ended his life in a pulsing stream of blood on October 12, 1984. He was shooting a television show called Cover Up and he was bored on the set.

To entertain himself, Jon-Erik pointed a .44 magnum revolver filled with stage blank cartridges at his temple and said, “Let’s see if I’ve got one for me” and pulled the trigger.

The paper wadding in the stage blank exploded from the gun and lodged in Jon-Erik’s head.

A chunk of his skull the size of a quarter blew into his brain. After five hours of surgery doctors declared him dead and his body was placed on life-support for the next four days while his organs were harvested.

Jon-Erik Hexum

The sad lesson of Jon-Erik Hexum is sometimes we are slain by own stupidity.

Even guns loaded with paper wadding can kill and when stupidity meets boredom the result is another kind of paper that selfishly kills the living left behind a little bit each day:

Jon-Erik Hexum

92 Comments

  1. It is an important reminder of the first rule of gun safety: never point a gun at anyone and always assume that every gun is loaded.
    This accident has always struck me as being strange. I wonder if Hollywood has made any changes to prevent these types of accidents from happening?

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  2. Hi Chris!
    Yes, you are right — never point a gun at anyone (including yourself!) even if it is a prop gun used on a movie set. A gun loaded with blanks can kill as Jon-Erik gave up his life to prove.
    Hexum had everything to live for and unlike a suicide where people are left to wonder “why?”, the rest of us were left to wonder “why so stupid?”
    His death as always stayed with me because, like Hexum, I always thought stage guns were like cap guns. Big noise. Little reverberation. How wrong we were! It was a strange happening. Hexum was a gun owner and had a lot of experience with weapons. He was just joking around.
    Brandon Lee, Bruce Lee’s son, was killed nine years later on the set of “The Crow” when a “prop gun” was fired at him and part of the blank shot through his abdomen and lodged in his spine. Again, your advice must be followed “Don’t ever point any kind of gun at anyone– ever!” In the movies you can play with angle and perspective so no gun should ever need to be pointed directly at an actor — you can cheat the shot to make it look like the gun is aiming at the person when it is really aimed three feet away from them.

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  3. I’m new here but when I saw the title of this post I had to comer over. Lots of memories come back with this story. I’m old enough to remember it but young enough to admit it.

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  4. I had forgotten about Brandon Lee as well. Very tragic. I remember someone telling me there are a lot of coincidences between Bruce Lee’s death and Brandon Lee’s death, but I can’t recall them off of the top of my head.
    It shows that our fascination with guns always has a price.
    Have you seen the “Lord of War?” It’s a compelling movie about the global arms trade based upon true events, per the ending credits. Every character in that movie was fixated on guns, whether it was for profit, war, or evil intent. Of course, the major suppliers of arms are the U.N. permanent security council members, so there is likely to ever be any change in the flow of arms around the world.
    I’m not anti-gun — growing up the son of an Army officer I was around guns all of my life — but I do think that our easily accessible arsenals are one of the major factors in the 16.000 murders committed in America and countless numbers of suicides. Too many guns and too little education in safety and morality creates a volitile combination.

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  5. Chris —
    There is supposed to be some kind of family curse on the Lees. You can find some of that information here:
    http://www.franksreelreviews.com/shorttakes/brandonlee/brandonlee.htm
    We have a fascinating with guns in America and I will be dealing with that topic in tomorrow’s post!
    I have not yet seen “Lord of War” but I have read a lout about the movie and I appreciate your information.
    Thanks for your statistics on murders in America! This is a vitally important topic.

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  6. Hi Veronica —
    Jon-Erik’s death was pretty big news of the day. He was a hot, rising, star when that actually meant something in Hollywood.
    He’d starred on the “Voyagers” show and that gave him some success that allowed him to turn down parts he didn’t feel were right for him – that’s rare in today’s Hollywood — and he could have been the next big screen action movie hero had he lived.

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  7. I agree. He had a rare quality about him that was refreshing. He was manly but not in a bad way. He was a teddy bear with a smile and a deep voice. I’m sure a lot of fans miss him still.

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  8. I agree. He had a rare quality about him that was refreshing. He was manly but not in a bad way. He was a teddy bear with a smile and a deep voice. I’m sure a lot of fans miss him still.

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  9. I don’t remember the guy at all but he looks dreamy. Dying comes too easy for some people and it doesn’t matter how many neat things they have going for them.

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  10. I don’t remember the guy at all but he looks dreamy. Dying comes too easy for some people and it doesn’t matter how many neat things they have going for them.

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  11. That is so interesting, Francia.
    So do you feel there was no free will involved in Jon-Erik’s death? Was he predestined to put a prop gun to his head at that time and place on that day to meet his end?

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  12. That is so interesting, Francia.
    So do you feel there was no free will involved in Jon-Erik’s death? Was he predestined to put a prop gun to his head at that time and place on that day to meet his end?

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  13. I see where you’re going with this and we need to accept the fact that he was there on that day with a gun to his head. Was he following the path of predestiny or one of free will? Does it matter? He was there and he shot himself and how he got there really doesn’t matter.

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  14. I see where you’re going with this and we need to accept the fact that he was there on that day with a gun to his head. Was he following the path of predestiny or one of free will? Does it matter? He was there and he shot himself and how he got there really doesn’t matter.

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  15. Hi Francia!
    I’m not arguing with you I am trying to understand your premise of living a life of predestiny.
    Yes, we can agree to accept Jon-Erik was there on the day of his death — but how he got there is important because it goes to the bone of are we independent thinkers who make logical decisions or are we only robots who follow a pre-programmed script for existing in the world?
    Discounting Jon-Erik’s decision to shoot himself that day takes the responsibility for his death out of his hands and into the one of the predestiny of the universe. I find that sadly non-committal and uninvolved on a disturbing level.

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  16. Hi Francia!
    I’m not arguing with you I am trying to understand your premise of living a life of predestiny.
    Yes, we can agree to accept Jon-Erik was there on the day of his death — but how he got there is important because it goes to the bone of are we independent thinkers who make logical decisions or are we only robots who follow a pre-programmed script for existing in the world?
    Discounting Jon-Erik’s decision to shoot himself that day takes the responsibility for his death out of his hands and into the one of the predestiny of the universe. I find that sadly non-committal and uninvolved on a disturbing level.

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  17. The point of living a life is to not worry about destiny or self-determination. Just live it and let it go. The path you were meant to follow is the one that finds you.

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  18. I would say it doesn’t matter because you cannot play “if” with predestiny and you can’t know what will happen until you get there. Perhaps my destiny would be to fight the cancer or let it eat me but I wouldn’t be able to tell you what would happen until it happens to me and the story of my life plays out. I’m sure if you asked Jon-Erik if he would hold a gun to his head loaded with blanks and then fire it into his temple before it actually happened, he’d tell you it would never happen. But it did happen.

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  19. I would say it doesn’t matter because you cannot play “if” with predestiny and you can’t know what will happen until you get there. Perhaps my destiny would be to fight the cancer or let it eat me but I wouldn’t be able to tell you what would happen until it happens to me and the story of my life plays out. I’m sure if you asked Jon-Erik if he would hold a gun to his head loaded with blanks and then fire it into his temple before it actually happened, he’d tell you it would never happen. But it did happen.

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  20. I remember Jon-Erik Hexum well. As a child I was a big fan of his during the series Voyagers and eagerly followed him to the new show he was on. I remember the first few episodes he was actually in, and then I remember the news reports of his death. My parents had to answer some pretty tough questions from a very little girl about why my favorite actor wasn’t going to be on the show anymore, and no, I was not going to be able to marry him. ( I had a big crush, give me a break).
    I actually didn’t believe them, because there was going to be a new show next week! I eagerly tuned in, expecting to see Jon-Erik Hexum, and instead, there was this new guy,who looked a little like him but not quite as handsome. He was doing the same-but not quite-stunts that Jon-Erik did during the opening sequence, wearing the same-but-slightly different outfit. He was talking to the same actress, and she was using the same character’s name, but it wasn’t him! Who was this guy? That’s when I actually realized that what had happened was that a real person had died, and he wasn’t coming back.
    I was pretty young, and believed somehow the people who were on TV were bound by the almost limitless magic of television, not the real world. If there was a new episode coming next week, Joh-Erik Hexum would magically come back from the dead, I guess. The illusion shattered by the time the opening credits had finished rolling at the bottom of the screen, and I hated that new actor with an intensity I had never felt before. It scared me so much. Then I cried, lacking the words to describe what I was feeling. Then I cried from sadness. A lot.

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  21. Thank you for your beautiful and touching comment, Ingrid.
    You make an excellent point about Jon-Erik’s death being overwhelming because it was so raw and unexpected for those of us in that timeframe of youth.
    You get the feeling today if this killing happened it wouldn’t have the sense of awful wonderment on kids today that it had on us back then.
    Hexum’s replacement on “Cover Up” with Jennifer O’Neill was Antony Hamilton who died of AIDS in 1995:
    http://www.antonyhamilton.com/
    I am touched by your story of dedication to an actor you appreciated and looked forward to watching and it’s a sorry thing you had to learn such a painful lesson from his death.

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  22. I feel I need to clarify the lesson I learned from this amazingly preventable death. The lesson of death in my young life had already been learned. I had already lost a dearly loved neighbor, Mrs. Silverman, who would let me climb in the trees in her yard and play on her old jungle gym set. I had also suffered the death of my wonderful great Aunt Nellie, who would take care of me when I was sick from school and my parents had to go to work. The concept of death wasn’t new to me, but somehow I thought the magical medium of television was beyond the scope of mere mortals. A sanctuary of time and place, forever young, beautiful, exciting, filled with friends and their adventures. Again, I was pretty young. What was shattered was the Hollywood illusion. I realized that it(television) was all fake, that what I had been watching was just a story told and played by other people for entertainment. And guess what? Those people can die too! I guess it was a little like learning that Santa Claus wasn’t real. I don’t remember the day I learned that, but I do remember the day that Jon-Erik Hexum died.
    I remember the reports of his death, and my father did explain exactly how the actor died. After I had calmed down, the impact of the absolute stupidity of his entirely preventable death was so impressive that even many, many years later I would remember his death whenever I was faced with a decision of doing something stupid and dangerous that would gain me popularity, or going with the safer, if boring, decision that would not. I didn’t always make the right decision, but when I did, I had the inner conviction that allowed me to walk away with my head high, thinking, ‘it’s not worth dying over’. It was that sense of level headed self preservation that kept me from a lot of teasing and ridicule. I took the lesson of Jon-Erik Hexum’s death to heart.
    I had done enough growing up with the burden of loving a ghost relative. I didn’t want the future generation of my family hearing about wonderful Aunt Ingrid who died so young in a idiotic and preventable accident. By her own decision, no less! Maybe I’m just lucky, although some of my friends weren’t. Maybe I was smart enough to recognize a fatal decision in front of me. Or, maybe I’m just not as adventurous as I would like to imagine my self to be. Whatever the reason, I learned it that terrible, sad day sitting in front of the television, tears streaming down my face, unable to give voice to the overwhelming feelings inside of me.

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  23. I too remember Jon-Erik. He was such a beautiful man, with a wonderful heart. I believe that he thought he was invicible, as well as being exasperated by what is expected by Hollywood’s standards. Conflicting ciricumstances, but a conflict none the less. He probably felt the fight within himself, and just didn’t know the caliber of prop guns shooting blanks.
    I believe he is a peace with himself, in a place where he does not have to deal with the filth of Hollywood, and can be a guardian angel for those who adored him while he was here and who still care for him 21 years later.

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  24. Thanks for posting some nice things about Jon-Erik Hexum…for once. I remember the horrible snickers that were made about him after his death. I was living overseas and about 12 at the time he died. I’d already seen the Cover Up movie and was also a fan of his previous series Voyagers. What an incredibly beautiful man he was. I still have somewhere a copy of the Cover Up pilot and The Making of a Male Model somewhere in my old vhs collection, though, I can play neither because they were taped overseas. I originally Googled Antony Hamilton to find out whatever happened to him and came across this site. While I was no fan of his, it’s still sad to hear that he, too, has passed.

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  25. i came across this site purely by coincidence..we were listening to a song from the movie footloose “let’s hear it for the boy” and several women in my office metioned it was their favorite song from the movie but i say i actually prefer “i’m holding out for a hero” but was unsure if it was actually from footloose. i explained it was also used as a theme song for a TV program but could only remember the first word in the title. being one of the oldest in the office (34), i of course said “you know the show Jon Erik Hexum was working on when he accidentally shot himself with a gun filled with blanks?” all i got were blank stares. i expained what happened and they responded with how stupid could he be. i remember at the time it was a real shock to everyone because no one (obviously outside the movie industry) knew it was dangerous. i explained to them from what i remember it was this accident that informed the uninformed that it is dangerous. so what they obviously take as a duh moment is only due to this incidence. well i finally had to go online because it was driving me nuts that i could not remember the name of the show (Cover Up) and came across the pictures that his friend had taken and of course the general concensus was “what a waste”

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  26. Well a few months before he passes away there were pictures of this guy in a Greek magazine and MY GOD!!! I mean he must propably be the most beatifull man everlived. As young girls we were all speachless putting his pictures in a desk in the class room. And then i read the agony of being serious in his interviews and a unique struggle in life and i saw a compination of talents and advantages (studies, piano, gymnastic, theatre, beatty etc)and a love for hissingle mother that touched me. And then we read about his death. He couldnt survive…

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  27. I stumbled on this blog while looking for information on Jon-Erik Hexum. I was a pretty big fan of his and recently remembered the circumstances surrounding his death. Now that we are in the internet age, I figured maybe I could find more details about how it happened. I first saw Jon on Voyagers, which I loved because of the relationship between he and Meeno Peluce. At the time that Voyagers aired, I desperately wanted an older person to hang around with, as my older brother and I didn’t get along (at that time)and I saw their relationship as “the coolest”. Then when Cover-Up came along, I was an instant fan. I didn’t care about what the critics said, that show was fascinating. I remember hearing about the accident and thinking, it can’t happen, he’ll be all right, you can’t die from being shot with a blank. I couldn’t believe that someone that had kind of become a hero to me couldn’t survive something like that. When I heard that he had died, I first was devastated, then it was on my mind for months. I became obsessed with the show when it came back on with a replacement. Though I tried to ignore it, Anthony couldn’t replace my hero figure. I think it was because Jon wasn’t like most other actors, he was a genuinely nice person, that he even compared to his character on Voyagers. I hate that it happened, but what I really hate is that it happened to Jon, who obviously had so much more to give. You can try to read strange things into it, but it still boils down to a tragic accident that hopefully has prevented more like it. I still feel for his mother, though who he truly loved and respected.

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  28. I too came across this site by accident. I have been racking my brain for months, trying to remember the name of the tv series where the actor died when he shot himself with a blank.
    I decided to use the internet to find out as I mentioned to friends (older than me) about the series, but still no-one knew what I was talking about. All I could remember was the theme song was ‘Holding out for a hero’ and that the actor was the most beautiful man I had ever seen.
    I’m 32 now and still remember clear as day when I heard that Jon-Erik had died. I was completely heartbroken as I had the biggest crush ever on him. He was SO gorgeous.
    I’m glad I have finally found out more details, it has been a trip down memory lane. Such a loss that someone so young, so full of potential, was taken away. It was a time of innocence and beauty for me, I was only 10 and I could not believe that the hunk I adored on tv was gone forever and replaced by someone else, who never quite measured up.
    It was a hard lesson to learn, that people are taken from us, even if they are young, beautiful and full of life. No-one escapes.

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  29. I was fortunate enough to meet Jon just before he died. It was on 2 October 1984, in New York City when he was the guest on FIVE AT FIVE at NBC in Rockefeller Center. At that time I was a photographer’s assistant, and went along to help carry heavy equipment up the rather long flight of stairs. While I was carrying a very heavy carrybag containing overhead lights up the steps, a gent – who was on his way down -offered to help me, as he could see I was clearly struggling. Turns out the gent in question was none other than Jon Eric Hexum, who was rushing downstairs to take a telephone call prior to the interview…
    We spoke very briefly – I told him my favourite show on telly was ‘Cover Up’, I think (it was a while ago, you understand, so I cannot really remember exactly) – to which he smiled and thanked me, and then excused himself so he could take the phone call.
    Needless to say, when I heard on the evening news on 18 October 1984 that he had died, I emmediatly thought of that charming, handsome man I had met on the stairwell that evening and who was kind enough to help me with that damn bag while others simply passed by.
    Yes, even to this day I still remember his face as clear as if it were yesterday, and I am still filled with sorrow when I think that someone with such promise is gone forever, taken by the most stupid of mistakes. A real tragedy, and a terrible waste indeed…
    The well-known axiom “Only the beautiful die young” could easily have referred to Jon Eric Hexum.

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  30. Thanks for your beautiful comment, Bernard, and welcome to Urban Semiotic!
    I appreciate you telling us about such a wonderful, intimate, moment you shared with Jon-Erik. It is that kind of kindness that made human and so ultimately likable.

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  31. Indeed, I only had the pleasure of being in his presence for a minute or so, but when he died it felt as if a close companion had passed away. Very strange…
    I suppose he had an aura about him which is actually quite evident even in pictures of him to this day.
    Take my encounter with him, for instance. I still remember him as if it were yesterday and not 22 years ago. I just can’t seem to rid myself of the image I have of those sapphire-blue eyes, now gone forever. Very starnge…
    Indeed, everything about Jon Erik Hexum was exceptional which is why he will be venerated for decades to come.

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  32. Bernard —
    Right! There are those who walk among us that are immortal and find life in their death through our memories.
    Jon-Erik had star power, a grand humanity, and a way of touching people without explicitly expressing anything other than just being.
    I appreciate your honoring of his stake in our lives.

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  33. I would also like to thank you for putting this lesson into perspective. Like many other girls at that time I was swept up with Jon Erik but not just his great looks…his soulful eyes.
    I was his age and felt somehow close…I don’t know why. Actors never entered my simple girl life but he did and the way he died. I was shocked and I even remember calling out to Calif. hospital when they announced it on tv. The nurse on duty told me he had died and I was empty. I hope that studios are more careful these days and that guns are warranted as such, a weapon. I target shoot with my husband who is a Sheriff’s Deputy and we take that sort of thing very seriously.
    I have wanted to purchase the series of Voyagers but I can not seem to find anyone who sells them. It would be a great memory of the past for me. I loved that show! If anyone knows please let me know. God Bless!

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  34. As a 5 year old, Voyagers was the first show I’d look forward to from week to week. Last week I was trying to recall the name of the show I loved so much so I could buy it for old times sake. In my efforts to recall the name I asked folks around me. Plenty remembered but like me couldn’t recall the name. Thanks too various google searches I re-discovered the name and the fate of Mr Hexum. Very tragic and it’s been on my mind for the past 2 weeks or so. It makes me want to get my hands on both seasons of Voyagers even more. It must exist!
    I only vaguely remember 2 of the episodes from my 5 year old memory. The one when they went to the Revolutionary War and the one where they were in a 747 that they had to fly.
    Someone please post a link!

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  35. For Chad: I googled “Voyagers, the series on DVD” and I found a website that sells a DVD set of the aforementioned show. The price is steep but would be worth it for the most die-hard of fans. I’m surprised that the Sci-Fi Channel hasn’t brought the show back as re-runs. It’d definitely be a trip down memory lane.
    Cheers.
    [Edited by David W. Boles to remove commercial link.]

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  36. I watched Voyagers all the time when I was younger. As a young adult I found it on tv a few times and tuned right in. I loved watching him and his eyes. They are like my sons, those blue, blue eyes. He was an amazing man who helped people even after his death with donating his organs. Even though he died, 5 others lived on and that is something to smile about.

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  37. It’s so interesting to read all the comments from people who remember him from the 80s. Unfortunately I am too young to have known him from back then, in fact I had never heard of him until a few months ago when I saw a picture of Joan Collins with a *very* handsome man next to her. Looking up who he was I had to learn about Jon-Erik’s tragedy. Still, his fate touched me and since he seemed to be forgotten in our short-lived world, I started to collect some things he did. Voyagers is indeed a very cute and adorable show. I know I would have loved it as a kid (and I still do!). It’s so nice that he has not been forgotten. I’m very proud to be a “new” fan of his, even though I never heard of him until recently (being only one year old when he died).
    All the best

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  38. I too remember hearing on the news of the accident at the studio. I remember when they actually aired the episode of Cover Up they were shooting at the time of the accident. There seemed to be a “jump” in the storyline and the last scene was Jon-Erik in a phone booth. I think that the studio just rearranged the story slightlty so they could still use it. At the end of the episode they dedicated it to Jon-Erik.
    After reading all the articles about Jon-Erik, how he dedicated himself to self improvement and widening his talents it is such a shame that he lost it all. This guy definitely knew how to set lofty goals for himself!
    BTW, I think his Mother passed away in 1988 or so and his brother is the head of a computer department at a University in Mass.

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  39. I had never heard of JON ERIK HEXUM until I met my late wife SARAH . I ocasionally heard her mention J.E.H. and never gave it much thaught,until after she passed away at age 20 on Feb.21 1989 . She left behind many treasured memories as well as her diary,where I found that the love of my life had been torn between Jon Erik Hexum and me.

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  40. I was in Jr High when this happened and I just remembering crying over his death. I was so devastated that my favorite actor had died. I never knew until that day that blanks were dangerous. I too thought that they were just loud cap guns. I actually sent a sympathy letter to his parents. I wonder if they ever got it. Parents should never have to bury their children. I always wondered how the person in charge of set safety allowed this to have happened. I can’t remember if there was any fall out to the set after the accident. His death did teach us something, prop guns are just as dangerous as real guns.

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  41. I appreciate your loss and mourning, Kerrin, and it seems the lesson for all of us in the death of Jon-Erik is to know what we did not realize: Blanks can kill. Who knew? That fact seems to live beyond all reason!
    You did the right thing in sending a sympathy letter. Good on you!
    No safety person could ever predict an actor would take a gun filled with blanks and point it at his own head. Just the concussive sound generated by such an explosion would do great damage.
    The scene Jon-Erik was to use with the gun was not one of suicide, so predicting actor off-set behavior should not be placed at the foot of the gun technicians.

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  42. I don’t like it that he’s gone but i do believe that was his fate. I was 15. Sure O’Neill got after him for playing with guns but nobody ever made sure to take it away from him. On the 12th(23yrs ago), the crew just stood and watched him do it and again nobody ran over to take it away before he put it to his temple. Nobody stopped him so fate was coming into play. Everything led up to it like Voyagers! being cancelled which should have gone on for years. If it had, he would be here and they may have had the storyline worked out for Cover Up and he could have went for the casting call. I feel because they didn’t it was jinxed because his replacement dies years later as well. They began toying with the storyline towards the end which didn’t help. I believe the show was a hit and they didn’t need to monkey with anything.
    As a friend once said, the day we are born the book has already been written as to when and how our time will end. We just don’t know and for some they have minutes/seconds to know the end. If i read right, they didn’t have a prop master for this show! How wrong! I believe Magman PI and Houston each had one! CBS is responsible for this failure. He was young and didn’t know everything about un/loading a weapon.
    You don’t needs laws to tell someone how to do their jobs like securing, cleaning and loading weapons and locking them up til the next scene. They had to know about guns or they wouldn’t have had prop masters on the set for the shows.
    When i think of it, i’m still angry that we were robbed of him. He was special not like the drinkers, smokers, drug abuse, ego, and etc of the actors of today. Oh, yes there are a few good actors today but he played piano, accomplished diver, played football, humble, and whatever else. I wished he had done The Dukes… and Chips cause he would have furthered his career faster and quicker.
    As the song says, Holding out for a Hero and there are many of us still waiting to see someone like him on every level. He had the height, weight, looks, body, and voice.

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  43. I was about 13 when he died.I had a crush on him like thousands of other young girls.I remember watching voyagers and it captivated me.Remember, this was the early 80s before alot of computer animation and great special effects.The stories were easy for a kid to grasp and the lead was handsome.
    I am a bit disturbed by comments at various sites inferring that jon erik was stupid or an idiot because of how he died.I know all of us do stupid things that dont make much sense in hindsight.I do think its unfair to consider him stupid because of the accident.I have read up alot on that day,as much as I can on the internet.There isnt much out there because it was so long ago,and he isnt much remembered now.But please remember back then nothing quite like that had happened yet.
    He was being kept on the set up to 18 hours a day,plus he was doing personal appearances on the weekends,photo shoots,talk shows etc.He was working himself to death.There was a delay in shooting which was a source of constant frustration and he did something without much thought.I know I have done stupid things when I am over tired.I am quite sure he either wasnt thinking,he had not planned to pull the trigger and from everything I have read he was aware that even blanks were dangerous.I truly believe he meant it as a sight gag and nothing more and pulled the trigger by accident.
    I remember crying when he died.Not only because he was a hero to me but how foolish the circumstances were.Not to mention that the only news back then was tabloids.My mom read them and that was mostly what I had access to.
    He was a good man.From all accounts he was a very good person who always thought of others and was working his tail off to end up something in this world.It is a pity that he died but even more of a pity how the world remembers him.As either a stupid person,a victim of a unbelievable accident or simply a cheesecake model with little brains.
    Please try to remember how things were back then.There were no headlines of this happening,no brandon lee to show how quickly and horribly it can happen.The only difference between brandon and jon is that brandon was shot by another actor and jon was making a joke or just being goofy.
    As crazy as it sounds back then at that age I completely was naive enough to believe that tv and movie guns were toys.
    I remember being amazed that a tv gun could kill.I knew they had a flash and things but I assumed in my early teens they were like those little cap guns you played with as a kid.Now it seems silly to think that but back then you saw them on every show and the bad guys never really died.The hero who got shot lived the next week.
    Please remember him as a handsome and talented man who had an incredible future.He is luckily or unluckily one of those who are like James Dean.He died so young with so much potential you will always wonder what could have been.I would like to think he would have been an action star or a leading man.But he could have just as easily ended up like so many others and either relegated to no brainer roles or never heard from after a few years.
    No matter what he was or how he died,please remember the good he did and the few memories he created for thousands of kids and some adults.Not as an idiot or stupid or brainless.If nothing else when people make comments like that remember he wanted his organs donated and they were.He saved a few other people and helped the lives of a few others from his gifts.

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  44. I can say I have a problem with death in any case.I have lost both parents in the last 5 years.No matter what I wonder why and try to make sense of it.My mother was ill for most of a decade,she was in her 70s,lived longer than they thought and still I ask why when it was obvious.I do that with Jon alot.I wonder why,and most tell me that God knows and is right or these things happen.The one thing I can come up with as to why would god ‘allow’ it is that he did save at least 3 others from his donated organs.Maybe that is what he was born for,one legacy he has.
    I do wish there was more material on him out there.Voyagers was just made available,I cant find Making of a Male Model anywhere,and cant find cover up at all that I can afford.I do wish he had been able to do more things.I have to admit I didnt watch cover up and dont remember it.Probably because of the time it was on.I often wonder what that last episode looked like and how they pieced it together.I have read a little on what that episode was supposed to be about but dont know what they did with it.I would love to see it but only the ones he was in and I have read he only did a few episodes and a whole season.So I am not sure.Its a shame that what he did do isnt easy to find.I am expecting my voyagers set soon.I havent seen them since I was 11 so it should bring back memories!

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  45. I appreciate your comment, slosh8715, and your argument that some people may be born just to give life to others is fascinating, if not a bit alarming! SMILE!

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  46. I can only agree with the last comments. Jon-Erik Hexum’s public image has been negatively affected by the media coverage after his death. He was not stupid or careless. He was simply totally overworked and probably made one wrong move that killed him.
    I like to remember him as a young man with a dream that was important enough to him to endure that sexy symbol exploitation he had to face after Making of a Male Model.
    His role in Cover Up was designed for him and for his media image, yet he could only participate in seven episodes.
    Since slosh8715 refers to his last episode, I might also criticize the producers for trying to keep the show on despite Jon-Erik’s fate. In “Golden Opportunity”, his last episode, Danielle Reynolds (O’Neill) and Mac Harper (Hexum) pretend to deal with antique bars of gold to lur an embassador out of hiding. The politician cuts himself in by forcing Mac to kill the other buyer (played by Danielle’s set designer Rick), so they stage the shooting and Mac “kills” Rick with blanks.
    The Cover up-producers urged story writer Bob Shayne to add more violence to the script, so he wrote some additional scenes like fighting scenes and a scene where Mac is sitting on the bed unloading his weapon and reloading it with blanks. This was the scene where Jon-Erik’s accident happened (between takes, when they were preparing to reshoot the scene) and it’s still in the show – they didn’t even cut it out! Many dialogue scenes that should have been redubbed by Hexum were redubbed by somebody else, you can easily notice the switch between Jon-Erik’s voice and somebody else’s voice that was added afterwards. The last scene was completely chaotic, since they added footage from a previous episode and had O’Neill talk to Mac on the telephone (again with somebody else’s voice).
    I don’t know in how far audiences realized the montages in this episode when it first aired, but nowadays it’s hardly watchable considering Jon-Erik Hexum actually died on those sets.
    CBS should not have released that episode at all.
    To me, Jon-Erik will always be the bold time traveller he was on Voyagers. Phineas Bogg will never be forgotten.

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  47. I can only agree with the last comments. Jon-Erik Hexum’s public image has been negatively affected by the media coverage after his death. He was not stupid or careless. He was simply totally overworked and probably made one wrong move that killed him.
    I like to remember him as a young man with a dream that was important enough to him to endure that sexy symbol exploitation he had to face after Making of a Male Model.
    His role in Cover Up was designed for him and for his media image, yet he could only participate in seven episodes.
    Since slosh8715 refers to his last episode, I might also criticize the producers for trying to keep the show on despite Jon-Erik’s fate. In “Golden Opportunity”, his last episode, Danielle Reynolds (O’Neill) and Mac Harper (Hexum) pretend to deal with antique bars of gold to lur an embassador out of hiding. The politician cuts himself in by forcing Mac to kill the other buyer (played by Danielle’s set designer Rick), so they stage the shooting and Mac “kills” Rick with blanks.
    The Cover up-producers urged story writer Bob Shayne to add more violence to the script, so he wrote some additional scenes like fighting scenes and a scene where Mac is sitting on the bed unloading his weapon and reloading it with blanks. This was the scene where Jon-Erik’s accident happened (between takes, when they were preparing to reshoot the scene) and it’s still in the show – they didn’t even cut it out! Many dialogue scenes that should have been redubbed by Hexum were redubbed by somebody else, you can easily notice the switch between Jon-Erik’s voice and somebody else’s voice that was added afterwards. The last scene was completely chaotic, since they added footage from a previous episode and had O’Neill talk to Mac on the telephone (again with somebody else’s voice).
    I don’t know in how far audiences realized the montages in this episode when it first aired, but nowadays it’s hardly watchable considering Jon-Erik Hexum actually died on those sets.
    CBS should not have released that episode at all.
    To me, Jon-Erik will always be the bold time traveller he was on Voyagers. Phineas Bogg will never be forgotten.

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  48. Hallo WL Boles
    Hopefully this site is still running
    He was a good actor at his time and also a huge roll model for alot of young boys at that time even in a country like mine when everything was hold back becuase of the sanctions that time we eventualy also got to see his acting in the tv shows.suddenly you were shocked when you read in news papers that this nice looking man is now not with us anymore and at that stage i was just 10 or so because we recieved every thing six or ieght months later in South-Africa.
    Even at that time we just was starting to see on tv the show Coverup and a month or two later still had the oppertunity to see the nice actor doing his thing on tv.
    I wonder if you can also perhaps help me by getting some of Mr Eric`s tv episodes or just some of the tv films.
    I am staying in South-Africa, Pretoria Gauteng Region as already said and i also like this actor alot so just give me more info perhaps on shops or dealers in old tv shows that they put this NICE STUFF on dvd PLEASE

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  49. Hallo WL Boles
    Hopefully this site is still running
    He was a good actor at his time and also a huge roll model for alot of young boys at that time even in a country like mine when everything was hold back becuase of the sanctions that time we eventualy also got to see his acting in the tv shows.suddenly you were shocked when you read in news papers that this nice looking man is now not with us anymore and at that stage i was just 10 or so because we recieved every thing six or ieght months later in South-Africa.
    Even at that time we just was starting to see on tv the show Coverup and a month or two later still had the oppertunity to see the nice actor doing his thing on tv.
    I wonder if you can also perhaps help me by getting some of Mr Eric`s tv episodes or just some of the tv films.
    I am staying in South-Africa, Pretoria Gauteng Region as already said and i also like this actor alot so just give me more info perhaps on shops or dealers in old tv shows that they put this NICE STUFF on dvd PLEASE

    Like

  50. Wow, I was first on this site over 4 years ago and last year 3 1/2…can’t believe it’s been that long. Hope since then that all of you who’ve been in search of The Voyagers on DVD have since found the set on sale via Amazon. I decided to splurge 3 1/2 years ago and got my then-5 & 8 year-old daughters hooked on it. My eldest loved to hear about historical characters…I did, too, but secretly kept my heart-flutterings to myself every time JEH made an appearance on screen. Sick in bed today, I’ve spent the day poring over websites, YouTube videos, etc about JEH…what a trip back to memory lane. And even after 26 years, my heart skips a beat and I almost blush when I look at pictures of this guy. What an Adonis he was…astonishingly beautiful and downright humble at the same time. Wonderful qualities in any person! And…I also still cry when I listen to the story of his passing from archived news clips.

    RIP Dear Jack…know you’re still remembered and loved.

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  51. I will never forget the Friday evening sat at the edge of my mother’s bed and after watching his last episode of Cover Up. I did not realise that it was actually him who had died. i remember an article earlier in the week about an actor who had starred with Joan Collins had been involved in a shooting incident on set. Being only young I did not put the information together properly and whilst the credits were showing a commentator said he had died. I was heartbroken and had to take down all my posters of him because I couldn’t believe it. It was so sad! I remember him so well. he was a judge on Dance Fever and he played Prince Erik in an episode of Hotel. Apparently he went for the role of Dexter on Dynasty, maybe if he had got it…well he may not have met his untimely end. Anyway, people can say he was stupid, idiotic etc etc but in life ‘sh*t’ does happen. I will always remember him as being my first celebrity crush. RIP Jon-Erik! A star never truly dies…

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  52. May the Gods always bless this Voyager. I only saw this series, and knew nothing other about him. He took direction well. And will live on in the DVD voyager series with Meeno Peluce who has a facebok page. I bet he has good memories too!

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  53. I am far too young to have ever heard of this actor but having seen an article on msn today about mysterious deaths i was compelled to do a little research into Jon and obviously came across this site.
    Although this unfortunate accident happened over 27 years ago now it is nice (having read the comments on here) that people have such fond memories of him. The guy seemed to have so much going for him and it is a travesty that the turn of events lead to the outcome they did.
    R.I.P Mr Hexum

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  54. I think its great that people are still talking about Jon Erik and keeping his memory alive after so many years; even though it seems like yesterday. There was something about him, something deeper that set him apart from his peers. His death will always play a big part in why people find the story fascinating but hopefully once they dig a little deeper they too will realise what made him so special.

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  55. Wow. I wouldn’t call him stupid. Just unfortunate. We all do things out of boredom, and it seems that is what he did and unfortunately he died as a result. He probably didn’t even know what happened, and if that is the case, he is lucky he didn’t suffer.Eventhough, I don’t like the idea of them harvesting his organs while on life support. That is really bizarre. I am surprised a movie hasn’t been made about his life.

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Alec. It was an odd time in the entertainment industry when Jon-Erik died — is was as if reality was only fantasy and nobody could get fatally injured on set.

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