In the early 1980s, this ruggedly handsome young man of Norwegian parentage was seen as the “next big thing”, and then suddenly he was dead from an accident via a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Hexum was born and raised in Tenafly, New Jersey, where he was a musically gifted student at school playing both the horn & the violin in the school orchestra, and even the piano at home. He then attended Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, before transferring across to Michigan State University studying bio-medical engineering and then switching over to philosophy. Whilst at MSU, Hexum played football, and DJ’d at several local radio stations under the name of “Yukon Jack”, before being discovered by John Travolta’s manager, Bob LeMond.
Hexum allegedly turned down plenty of opportunities to appear in shows such as The Dukes of Hazzard (1979) & CHiPs (1977) and many day time soap operas before finally making his debut in the TV series Voyagers! (1982) as time traveler Phineas Bogg. He was then cast as hunk Tyler Burnett alongside Joan Collins in Making of a Male Model (1983), and then as ex-Green Beret Mac Harper in the TV series Cover Up (1984).
However, on October 12th, 1984 after a long and draining day’s shooting on the set of Cover Up: Pilot (1984), Hexum became bored with the extensive delays and jokingly put a prop .44 magnum revolver to his temple and pulled the trigger. The gun fired, and the wadding from the blank cartridge shattered his skull, whereupon the mortally injured Hexum was rushed via ambulance to hospital to undergo extensive surgery. Despite five hours of work, the chief surgeon, Dr. David Ditsworth, described the damage to Hexum’s brain as life-ending. One week later, on October 18th, he was taken off life support and pronounced dead. However, Hexum’s commitment to organ donation meant five other lives were assisted or saved with organs harvested from him. The youthful & charming Hexum was dead at only 26 years of age.