Jeffrey "Jeff" Hunter (November 25, 1926 – May 27, 1969) was an American film and television actor and producer. Hunter is known for his roles as the sidekick to John Wayne's character in The Searchers, as Jesus Christ in the biblical film King of Kings, and as Capt. Christopher Pike in the original pilot episode of Star Trek and the series' only two-part episode, The Menagerie.
Hunter's first marriage from 1950 to 1955 to actress Barbara Rush produced a son, Christopher (born 1952). From 1957 to 1967, Hunter was married to model Dusty Bartlett. He adopted her son, Steele, and the couple had two other children, Todd and Scott. In February 1969, he married actress Emily McLaughlin to whom he remained married until his death only three months later.
While in Spain in 1969 to film ¡Viva América!, a story of the Chicago Mafia, Hunter was injured in an on-set explosion when a car window near him, which had been rigged to explode outward, accidentally exploded inward. Hunter sustained a serious concussion. According to Hunter's wife Emily, he "...went into shock" on the plane ride back to the United States after filming and "..couldn't speak. He could hardly move." After landing, Hunter was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles but doctors could not find any serious injuries save for a displaced vertebra and a concussion.
On the night of May 26, 1969, Hunter suffered an intracranial hemorrhage while on a three-stair set of steps at his home in Van Nuys, California. He fell, knocked over a planter, and struck his head on a banister, fracturing his skull. He was found unconscious by his wife and taken to Valley Presbyterian Hospital where he underwent brain surgery to repair his injuries. He died at about 9:30 a.m. the following morning at the age of 42.
Hunter's funeral was held at St Mark's Episcopal Church in Van Nuys on May 31 after which he was interred at Glen Haven Memorial Park, in Sylmar, California.