Who was Jon-Erik Hexum? All about the actor who killed himself with a prop gun, as internet draws comparisons to Alec Baldwin incident

The internet remembers TV actor Jon-Erik Hexum in the wake of Alec Baldwin’s shooting incident (Image via Getty Images)
The internet remembers TV actor Jon-Erik Hexum in the wake of Alec Baldwin’s shooting incident (Image via Getty Images)

The internet is remembering late TV actor Jon-Erik Hexum in the wake of Alec Baldwin’s shooting incident. On October 21, 2021, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed on the set of Rust after Alec Baldwin accidentally shot her by mishandling a prop gun.

The incident also left director Joel Souza injured. Uncannily similar to this incident, on October 18, 1984, Jon-Erik Hexum accidentally shot and killed himself after misfiring a prop gun on the set of the TV show Cover Up.

The young actor was reportedly playing around with a prop gun when he jokingly pulled the trigger and shot his head with a blank cartridge. A similar prop gun incident also claimed the life of Bruce Lee’s son Brandon Lee in 1993.


A look into the life of late actor Jon-Erik Hexum

Jon-Erik Hexum was an actor from the 1980s (Image via Getty Images)
Jon-Erik Hexum was an actor from the 1980s (Image via Getty Images)

Jon-Erik Hexum was an American actor who gained popularity in the 1980s entertainment industry. He was born to parents Thorleif Hexum and Gretha Paulsen and raised in New Jersey. The multitalented performer had a penchant for music and played the violin and the horn at his school.

He attended Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and later shifted to Michigan State University to study bio-medical. He later changed his subject to study philosophy and also joined the football team at his university.

He was first noticed by John Travolta’s manager Bob LeMond while working as a DJ. The latter convinced him to move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in Hollywood. Hexum reportedly rejected several roles in multiple soap operas until he signed as the leading man of the TV series Voyagers.

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Jon-Erik Hexum gained immense popularity with his role as time traveler Phineas Bogg in the science fiction show. He went on to earn a major role in the TV movie Making of a Male Model and was then cast as Mac Harper in Cover Up.

The New Jersey native also appeared in films and shows like The Bear and Hotel. Unfortunately, the youngster tragically passed away due to the infamous prop gun incident at just 26 years old.


How did Jon-Erik Hexum die?

Jon-Erik Hexum accidentally shot himself with a prop gun on the set of 'Cover Up' (Image via Getty Images)
Jon-Erik Hexum accidentally shot himself with a prop gun on the set of 'Cover Up' (Image via Getty Images)

Jon-Erik Hexum was ready to film the seventh episode of Cover Up when a delay in the shooting schedule left him frustrated. The actor then decided to have fun with a .44 magnum handgun prop on the set of his show.

He reportedly unloaded all blank cartridges except one and started playing Russian roulette with the gun. Unfortunately, he ended up shooting himself after putting the gun on his own head and jokingly pulling the trigger unaware of the fatal consequence of the action.

Although the blank bullet did not reach his skull, the force of the trigger caused a fracture that penetrated a coin-sized bone fragment into his brain. The actor suffered a major hemorrhage and lost an immense amount of blood on his way to the hospital.

He underwent nearly five hours of surgery but was declared brain-dead six days after the incident. He was taken off life support after his organs were donated.


Twitter remembers Jon-Erik Hexum amid Alec Baldwin incident

Twitter draws comparison between Jon-Erik Hexum and Alec Baldwin incident (Image via Getty Images)
Twitter draws comparison between Jon-Erik Hexum and Alec Baldwin incident (Image via Getty Images)

Alec Baldwin’s shooting incident on the set of Rust has left the entertainment industry in complete shock. The incident claimed the life of 42-year-old cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza.

This is reportedly the first fatal prop gun incident since Brandon Lee’s death in 1993 and Jon-Erik Hexum’s death in 1984. The latest tragedy prompted several people to remember similar incidents from the past.

Following Halyna's death, several media users flocked to Twitter to draw comparisons between Alec Baldwin’s shooting and Erik Hexum’s demise:

As opinions continue to pour in online, it remains to be seen if pleas from netizens for better safety and secure weapon-handling on set will be considered by the industry in the aftermath of the third prop gun death.

Meanwhile, Alec Baldwin and his team is yet to publicly address the current situation. However, it has been mentioned that the incident has left the actor extremely distraught. Although an investigation into the case is underway, no legal complaint has been filed so far.

Edited by Prem Deshpande