When I was a kid in the 980's there were very few sexy men shirtless on
television. The women's liberation movement had just started and men
were only just beginning to be treated like sex objects the way they had
treated women as objects for years. About the only sexy muscle
guys on television were Lou Ferrigno on "The Incredible Hulk" and
Jon-Erik Hexum on "Cover Up." I could not get enough of those
guys. Then, suddenly, Hexum died a tragic death as covered in the video
below! After his death he was replaced in his role by Aussie hunk
Anthony Hamilton. He was Gay and in 995 died tragically of AIDS. You
would think the "Cover Up" production was jinxed!
Not that it was a very good show. I mean, c'mon. Using fashion models as a cover story to investigate some foreign wrongdoer? We all know how often that happens. Being just a TV show the budget was pathetic and every foreign country was played by the studio backlot. They just replaced the signs with Spanish or Hungarian or wherever the backlot was pretending to be.
Hexum was born in Englewood, New Jersey, to Gretha and Thorleif Hexum. He and his elder brother, Gunnar, were raised in Tenafly, New Jersey, by their mother after their parents divorced when Hexum was four. After graduating from high school, Hexum went on to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, in order to study biomedical engineering. He soon left that university, however, and transferred to Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. During that time, he worked as a radio disc jockey, played football, and acted in minor stage roles.
Only a few days after graduation, he moved to New York in 980, in order to pursue his acting career. While working as an apartment cleaner, he met Bob LeMond of LeMond/Zetter Management and the manager of John Travolta. LeMond saw great potential in Hexum. At LeMond's urging, Hexum relocated to Los Angeles in September 98 in order to audition for a movie called Summer Lovers, which was to be directed by Randal Kleiser. Though he lost the part to Peter Gallagher, Hexum attracted the notice of Hollywood powerbrokers, and in short time was cast in the lead role of Phineas Bogg in the NBC series Voyagers! after playing the character in Voyager from the Unknown, the pilot for the series. Voyagers! aired during the 982–83 television season, with Hexum's role earning him $0,000 a week. Unable to sustain itself against CBS' newsmagazine, 60 Minutes, Voyagers! was canceled after one season. But Hexum's good looks and charm kept him marketable, and soon he was cast opposite Joan Collins in the made-for-television movie Making of a Male Model, starring also Jeff Conaway and Roxie Roker.
In 984, Hexum guest-starred in an episode of ABC's prime time drama Hotel. He played Prince Erik, a Prince Charming-type character who sweeps his Cinderella off her feet. That same year, Hexum took the part of terminally ill quarterback Pat Trammell, a small but well-received role in the feature film The Bear, a tribute to University of Alabama football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, played by veteran actor Gary Busey. The Bear represents Hexum’s sole performance in a feature film, released just three weeks before his death. After pondering several development deals, Hexum came upon a project he felt had possibilities: Cover Up.
When the series began production in 984, Hexum played Mac Harper, an undercover CIA operative posing as a male model, opposite co-star Jennifer O'Neill. Hexum described the role as part "Indiana Jones, James Bond, Mr. Magoo, and Superman." According to then girlfriend, actress and singer Elizabeth "E.G." Daily, "He loved living this rich fantasy life. He was a big strong man, looked kind of like a Viking bodybuilder, and he loved to show his strength. He also liked the whole idea of guns and soldiers." Cover Up, which cast him as a soldier of fortune who traveled the globe under the guise of being a male model, provided an outlet for all of Hexum's yearnings.
|DEATH OF JON-ERIK HEXUM|
Nick Clooney (George's dad) is the newscaster delivering the sad tale of Jon-Erik Hexum's death by accidental gunshot wound. The gun only fired "blanks" however these are quite powerful and it caved his skull in. Ronald Reagan suffered permanent hearing loss in one ear thanks to a "blank" going off near his head.
Hexum was replaced by the equally handsome Antony Hamilton who ended up dying of AIDS. Not a happy place the Cover Up set!
This video is low quality as it is taken from a VHS videotape from the 980's. It is shocking to see how primitive video production values were at the time. The newscast graphics look like cell phone animations today.