Frequently Asked Questions
Over the years I have been asked some of the same things about Jack, so I thought I'd put together some answers for you! If you have a question, email me at TenaflyGuy@yahoo.com.
Have you ever met Jon-Erik Hexum? Did you grow up in Tenafly? Are you a relative?
No, no and no. I am a fan, just like the rest of you. I discovered him in the 80s during the height of his career. I rediscovered him in 2008. Google searches didn't provide much, and what was provided was often full of erroneous information. That motivated me to dig a little deeper to find the facts, and create a website to bring that information to other fans like me, sitting in front of their computer, searching for answers too.
But then something magical happened. People started coming to me to tell their stories of Jack. Friends, family, the people of Tenafly, these amazing people saw my motivation and trusted me with their memories. Each story was better than the last, and I knew I was on to something grand. Six years later I'm still here, building a bigger, better site, still going strong.
Why do you call him Jack? Are you qualified to do that?
The reasons are varied. Some of it was habit after talking to friends and family who knew him by his nickname. He introduced himself to people both ways. When he used the name "Jon-Erik," he said it in a way that it was all run together as one word. I can hear it said the same way when friends talk about him to me, it's rather endearing. But Jack truly didn't care one way or another what people called him as long as they didn't call him late for dinner!
Another reason is to differentiate between Jon-Erik the celebrity and Jack the man inside. I tell people to refer to him by whatever name makes you comfortable. JEH also works!
Did he really smoke?
This question gets asked the most. No, he didn't. Some of what you see was staged for the picture. He dabbled a little bit so that if a role called for him to smoke that he could do it convincingly. Remember, this was the 80s and tough guys often smoked in movies.
He was pretty healthy for the most part, very much into fitness and taking care of that fine body of his. I don't know about you but I sure appreciate it! He really didn't drink either, nor did he do any drugs other than caffeine. He wasn't fond of people doing any of that around him.
Did he date Heather Thomas?
No. They did a swimsuit photo shoot for US Magazine. That's it.
Did he date Emma Samms?
They were friends. He did like her, and they were photographed together several times. She was a sweet, gentle English Rose. Jack, on the other hand, was a big goofball. I'm not sure she knew how to take him sometimes. LOL.
I think this picture of the two of them sums it up nicely, don't you think? LOL.
But seriously, she has always spoken well of him, even today. Classy lady for sure. I LOVE this pic by the way.
Now, before we move onto other relationships, I have a mantra for you to learn and repeat to yourself. Ready? Here goes.
"He was too busy working on his career, he didn't get serious with anyone."
Truth. He was that motivated. No time for relationships. Regardless of whatever rumors you may have heard.
Did he or didn't he have an affair with Joan Collins?
No, he didn't. Another rumor enhanced by the press. Joan predicted this would happen, and she was right. She was good to him, thanks to her he got the role in Male Model. She also gave him tips for how to navigate the press and the industry. They were friends, and the press certainly didn't hurt either of their careers and was good publicity for the movie.
This pic has a story though, See his face? He's not happy. This was taken at a party for Joan's Dynasty co-star Linda Evans. They were at Chasen's, a high class celebrity hang out. Joan was mad at Jack for wearing the famous Male Model leather pants to such a prestigious place. His face reflects the ass chewing he just got from Ms. Collins. LOL.
Was Debbie Davis "The One That Got Away?"
No. It made for a great story on Regis' show though, didn't it? They dated in college. They moved on, she married someone else. End of story. No more posters for her!
Remember that mantra I taught you earlier? "He was too busy working on his career, he didn't get serious with anyone."
Was he serious about Elizabeth Daily?
No, they weren't serious, they weren't engaged. They went out a few times and he moved on. Have you ever had a failed relationship? Jack did too. It didn't work out for various reasons. Hey, it happens. To the best of us. C'est la vie.
Here's a good spot for our mantra. "He was too busy working on his career, he didn't get serious with anyone."
What happened to his father, Thor?
Thorlief Hexum left the family when Jack was very young. Jack had no relationship with his father after the divorce, and that was by choice. What we do know is that he was born April 1, 1920 and died on July 26, 1990. We don't have an official cause of death. His last known address was a YMCA in San Francisco, I believe.
I have been in contact with some of the Hexum relatives in Norway and have found them all to be very lovely people.
What was Gretha like? When did she die? How?
Gretha was a sweet lady. She was born in Minnesota on August 19, 1923. She was a hard working woman, trying to raise two boys in an era where it wasn't widely accepted to be a single parent. Jack was her whole life and the feeling was mutual. His death absolutely devastated her. She died on October 29, 1988. The official cause of death was listed as breast cancer, but those that knew her believe Jack's death played a huge part in that.
That's Gretha in the back seat of Jack's Chevy, with Jack driving and Joan Collins riding shotgun.
What happened to his brother? Where is he now?
He is a very private man. Jack was famous by choice, his brother was not. We need to accept his need for privacy.
What about his cousin Eric Paulsen?
Eric is still around, he's an anchor for WWL-TV in New Orleans. I have never met him but I've heard good things about him. Mr. Paulsen, if you're reading this, send me a note! Let's talk!
What happened to Jack's Chevy after he passed?
It was a great car, wasn't it? Gretha sold it. She wanted to get everything taken care of as quickly as possible, in an effort to move on with the process of grieving Jack.
Remember, she just lost her son. No parent should ever have to bury their child. She was devastated.
Did he really turn down roles in Dukes of Hazzard and CHiPs?
No. As far as we know he was never offered either role. Because he probably would've taken one of them. Voyagers! had been cancelled, he was going through some lean times until he got The Making of a Male Model. He could've used the paycheck!
Where did the rumor start? No one seems to know. Maybe it was said in an effort to pad the ole resume a bit!
Stay tuned, we'll add more as new questions come in.
Have a question for us? Email us at TenaflyGuy@yahoo.com.