Hexum was born in Englewood, New Jersey, to Gretha and Thorleif Hexum, who were of Norwegian descent.
He and his elder brother, Gunnar, were raised in Tenafly, New Jersey, by their mother after their parents divorced when Hexum was four.
When the scene did not play as the director wanted it to play in the master shot, there was a delay in filming.
Hexum became restless and impatient during the delay and began playing around to lighten the mood.
Apparently, he had unloaded all but one (blank) round, spun it, and, apparently simulating Russian roulette with what he thought was a harmless weapon, at p.m., he put the revolver to his right temple and pulled the trigger.
A few days after graduation, he moved to New York in 1980 to pursue his acting career.
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.
While working as an apartment cleaner, he met Bob Le Mond of Le Mond/Zetter Management, the manager of John Travolta. At Le Mond's urging, Hexum relocated to Los Angeles in September 1981 to audition for a movie called Summer Lovers, which was to be directed by Randal Kleiser. aired during the 1982–83 television season, with Hexum's role earning him ,000 a week.
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! Unable to sustain itself against CBS's newsmagazine, 60 Minutes, Voyagers! Hexum's good looks and charm kept him marketable, however, and he was cast opposite Joan Collins in the made-for-television movie Making of a Male Model, also starring Jeff Conaway and Roxie Roker.