During her reign as Alexis Carrington Colby Dexter on ABC’s DYNASTY, Joan Collins signed up to do many projects in between seasons. One of which was called MAKING OF A MALE MODEL co-starring a relatively unknown hunk called Jon-Erik Hexum. In it she played a renowned agent who discovers Hexum and propels him to stardom as, you’ve guessed it, a model. The year was 1983 and I was gay gay gay gay gay—but still feeling as though it would come to pass, like a bad cold. So you can imagine how thrilled I was watching this TV movie of the week in my room—alone. Just like in FOR LADIES ONLY two years prior in which superhot Gregory Harrison takes it almost all off as a male stripper, Jon-Erik Hexum is often seen in different states of undress. Whether on a farm or in front of the lens, nothing can keep him from showing his sculpted bod. Which is probably the sole reason this film was a rating success. Yeah, Collins is a welcoming diversion, as always, but this is Hexum’s baby—as it should.
The plot goes something like this: Farm boy becomes a successful model. Farm boy falls for woman agent. Farm boy quits the business after woman agent shuns him. The end. Oh, there’s also a clichéd subplot involving Hexum’s roommate, a down-and-out former male model whose scenes, strangely, all take place in their living room. Did I forget to mention that he’s also gay? Bold enough for the early ‘80s, but your typical alcoholic gay screw-up nonetheless. Of course he can’t take the heat and ultimately ends up taking his own life. The late Jeff Conaway, fresh from his stint in rehab GREASE and TV’s TAXI, plays the sacrificial lamb. And he does it convincingly enough as to giving us a pretty good idea how the actor could have been in real life.
Hexum’s character follows in the same path for a while and eventually sees the evil of his ways before packing it in and going back to farm life. Of course, la Collins steals the spotlight in the end by confessing to her secretary (played by THE JEFFERSONS' Roxie Roker) that she is madly in love with him but prefers to keep him away from her vajajay. From that point on, part of me is glad to see the character back on his feet, but the other part is mighty sad that I won’t get to drool over him as much. Because let’s face it, I’d rather see a fucked-up Hexum posing semi-naked for the cameras than watch him working the field… all sweaty and dirty… flexing his strong biceps… perhaps taking his shirt off again... Oh my, it IS getting hot in here.
On a serious note, as most of you know already, Jon-Erik Hexum accidently shot himself to death while playing Russian roulette with blanks during his gig on TV’s COVER UP in 1984. His passing shook me up a little, having to face “a loss” for the very first time. But life did go on, and I finally did put my teeny bopper crushes aside to embark on the real world as an out and proud gay man. And let me tell you, despite the many bumps that came my way, it has been a great ride so far. So here’s to you, Jon-Erik Hexum, for having had what it takes to increase my libido during your MAKING OF A MALE MODEL days. Just wish you could still be around so I could thank you in person or via your Twitter account.
Until next post—Martin