Jon-Erik Hexum Was Only 26 When a Tragic Accident on the Set of 'Cover Up' Cost Him His Life
Jon-Erik Hexum, a 26-year-old actor, fell victim to a tragic accident involving a prop on the sets of the crime-fiction, "Cover Up," that ended up in the young star losing his life.
Jon-Erik Hexum, who played Green Beret-turned-model Mac Harper in the 1984 TV series in the genre of international intrigue and fashion photography, was napping onset due to delays in the shoot.
After learning that there would be more delays, Hexum reportedly took the prop gun, a .44 magnum pistol loaded with blanks, and pointed the barrel to his temple.
THE UNFORTUNATE ACCIDENT
"Can you believe this crap?" Hexum said before he pulled the trigger, according to Entertainment Weekly. Although the gun was loaded with a blank, the impact from the firearm cracked his skull and drove a bone fragment into his brain.
The piece of bone lodged in his was about the size of a quarter, causing massive hemorrhaging, and despite the best efforts of the surgeons at Beverly Hills Medical Center Hexum was beyond saving.
Hexon had lost too much blood on the way to the medical facility, and the nature of the wound was so serious that despite undergoing 5 hours of surgery, Hexum was declared brain-dead.
Although the gun was loaded with a dud, the .44 magnum is one of the most powerful handguns out there. The blast from the impact had launched a paper wad, which upon impact shattered the young actor's skull.
HEXON'S LEGACY WOULD LIVE ON
After the New-Jersey born actor was on life support and declared brain dead with no hope of recovery, the actor finally died six days after the unfortunate accident on October 18, 1984.
With the permission of the devastated family, the "Voyagers" star's legacy would live on as his organs were donated to save and assist five lives.
Among the five lives that Hexon saved one was Michael Washington's. Washington, now 46, was the recipient of the young actor's transplanted heart, and Michael still feels a connection with Hexon.
This particular transplant made quite a few headlines back in the day as Washington was, and still is, the owner of Swinging Susy, an escort service based in Las Vegas.
THE MAN WITH HEXON'S HEART
"What they[Hexum family] cared about was giving the organ to help a family, and seeing someone survive. It gave an opportunity for my two kids to still have a father."
Hexum's kidneys saved the life of a boy, 5, while his skin was grafted onto a three-year-old child with severe burns. Both of his eyes were donated – one went to a 66-year-old man while the other was given to a young girl.
"COVER UP" AFTER THE TRAGEDY
English actor, Antony Hamilton, later filled in Hexon role as the lead cast of "Cover Up." Although he initially refused to profit off of someone's death, Hamilton eventually agreed.
The crime fiction "Cover Up only aired for one season in the same year, and Hamilton lost his life to complications of the viral disease AIDS on March 29, 1995.
Jon-Erik Hexon's mother, Gretha Hexum, later won an undisclosed out-of-court settlement with Twentieth Century Fox Television and Glenn Larson Productions for the tragic event.