What happened to Jon-Erik Hexum?

JON-ERIK Hexum met a similar fate to Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was shot accidentally shot by Alec Baldwin.

But who is he and what happened? Here's all you need to know…

Who was Jon-Erik Hexum?

Jon-Erik Hexum was a 26-year old Actor who played an undercover CIA agent posing as a male model BS spy adventure Cover Up

After a meteoric rise in the world of showbiz, Jon-Erik Hexum's life was cut short on October 18, 1984 when he put a 44. magnum, which was loaded with blanks, to his head and pulled the trigger.

What happened to Jon-Erik Hexum?

The 26-year-old actor had been filming a scene on his own television show, CBS spy adventure Cover Up, where he played an undercover CIA agent posing as a male model.

Hexum grew increasingly frustrated with delays to filming the scene and began playing with the gun, spinning the barrel like a game of Russian roulette.

In what has been described as a tragic accident, the actor playfully spun the barrel, which had one bullet inside, and placed the gun to the temple of his head and pulled the trigger.

The gun discharged a wad of paper which shattered his skull, forcing a bone fragment the size of a small coin into the centre of his brain.

After losing several pints of blood on the way to the hospital, the actor underwent five hours of surgery and was placed on life-support machines.

Six days later, Hexum was declared brain dead and his organs were harvested with permission of his devastated family.

The New Jersey-born star's heart was transplanted into the chest of Michael Washington – a Vietnam war hero who also owned an infamous escort service known as Swinging Suzy's in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Washington, who was twice awarded the prestigious Purple Heart for services to his country, became obsessed with the actor towards the end of his life.

Washington was interviewed on CBS news show West 57th in 1985 and said that he felt “connected” to Hexum.

He said: “I'm alive because of him, so now I want to know about Jon-Erik Hexum.

“So now I'm asking questions. I'm sending my mother to the store to buy books, to buy this, to buy that. I wan't to know about this guy now.”

Washington said that when he watched episodes of Cover Up it would “bring a tear to my eye.”

He added: “Because of this man, I'm alive today – so it becomes real personal.”

Aside from Washington, one of Hexum's kidneys saved the life of a five-year-old boy while his skin was grafted onto a three-year-old child who had suffered horrific burns.

Both of the 26-year-old's eyes were donated – one went to a 66-year-old man while the other was given to a young girl.

Hexum's former friend and room-mate Nick Alan said that he was with the actor when he signed up to become an organ donor.

What movies did he appear in?

Before Cover Up, Hexum appeared in NBC time travel show Voyagers, which was cancelled in 1983 after just one season, and appeared in TV movie Making of a Male Model alongside British star Joan Collins.

Hexum reportedly had a “fascination” with guns, something which concerned his Cover Up co-star Jennifer O'Neill who had also accidentally shot herself two years prior at her home in New York.

The show's executive producer Glen Larson claimed that Hexum insisted on using a 44. magnum for the scene – a weapon which still is one of the most powerful handguns in the world.

The producers of Cover Up decided to continue with the show and cast British-born actor Antony Hamilton as the new lead character.

But the action-adventure series never recovered from the tragedy and was cancelled after one season.

Hamilton died in March, 1995, from AIDS-related pneumonia.

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