Friends and Fans of Jon-Erik Hexum,
Some of you are just discovering
this gorgeous man, and some of you knew, loved, and have
mourned him since his tragic death in 1984, just before
his 26th birthday.
He and I met in
the spring of 1983, when he came to my door in Toluca Lake,
California, for a photo session. He was already known at
that time, as the star of his own TV series, "Voyagers!"
- his first paying acting job. Our session was to be for
my 1984 celebrity BUNS calendar, published by Putnam, a
follow-up to my best-selling book, and one of a series of
and I became instant friends that day, and more. We
did many things over the following 16 months, like meeting
up to play his favorite arcade game, Galaga, travel,
and throwing home parties, as well as accomplishing
many photos sessions. "Entertainment Tonight"
did a piece on us, our friendship and our working relationship,
and some of the photos on this page are from the day
they spent at my home and studio. He was a terrific
guy, loved by all, and was easy to make friends with.
He loved life, loved living, loved nothing more than
having pals over. His positive spirit was infectious,
and despite those who have tried to explain his death
as just another Hollywood actor with a dark side, I
and others will attest to the fact that he simply didn't
took this photo of me in 1984 with his very cool car.
He loved driving it, and would wear his mothers white
rimmed rhinestone winged glasses as he never had time
to go get his own. I'd howl at how funny he looked,
and he'd reply "Hey! I need these! Or we could
crash otherwise!" I think maybe he just enjoyed
not looking perfect all the time, which he never took
credit for anyway, saying "I came out of the womb
lookin' like this - I had nothing to do with it."
It wasn't an act - he was truly humble.
were scores of us who would have happily, respectfully,
purchased the car from Gretha after Jon-Erik's heart
and other vital organs were donated to help others -
what we call "the final passing" - but then
something unforeseen happened. When she returned to
LA from the transplant day in San Francisco, she and
her other son Gunnar dispersed of his house, car, and
belongings in short order, without calling any of us
to reclaim our own possessions (like some of my photographs,
and everything belonging to his two room-renters, Linda
and Nick.) We don't know who bought the car. I guess
I was lucky that since he had so few clothes, he often
wore mine for our sessions - the three sweaters and
fur you'll see on the Jon-Erik Image Page still belong
about the accident on the set of his TV show "Cover-Up"
- it was just that, an accident. In short, any gun loaded
with a blank is considered "loaded", and therefore
locked up by the prop dept. until just before "action"
is called. Any gun left out all day, as the one that
killed him was, is known to have empty chambers. When
you're an actor that holds a gun as a prop, sometimes
for hours a day, playing, twirling, tossing, or scratching
your head or leg with it, feels absolutely normal (I
was a figure skater and would often unconsciously use
my blade to scratch an itch, and yes, I split my skin
at least once a month).
set, October 12, 1984, Jon-Erik was upset at the lateness
of the day, promised he'd be released hours earlier
to catch a plane for Las Vegas, where he was to appear
on "Circus of the Stars", a show he'd been
training hard for. He was exhausted, and had fallen
asleep on a set-bed there on the Fox soundstage. Groggy,
waking, checking his watch, he most likely muttered
something like "Come on! get me out of here",
and pulled the trigger. He would have done this with
his hand and finger, just like some people do to signal
frustration, but that damn gun happened to be on the
nightstand. An awful happenstance. And that was the
end of his life. I know all of these things, for seconds
after the shot was heard and blood was seen, signifying
that this gun was in fact loaded, one of the responsible
set people called me as he was being bundled into a
nearby station wagon and rushed to a nearby hospital.
There is much more to this horrible tale, and it can
be found in various forms on the web, some of it written
by me, for those who care to search.
like to focus on the life and spirit and incredible
charm and appearance that was the Jon-Erik Hexum I knew
and loved. You'll see a link that will lead you to a
page of many images we made together. He always kept
the copyright with me- we planned to create a calendar
someday - and just a few years ago I finally began selling
a few of my hundreds of images due to constant requests.
I hope you will enjoy seeing them, and I thank you for
your interest, which helps keep this wonderful man,
and dearly missed friend, a bit still with us.
View the Jon-Erik Hexum Portfolio
View the Jon-Erik 2014 Press Release