Best known for his 19 episode-long stint as Vance Duke in the 1982-83 season of Dukes of Hazzard, Christopher Mayer passed away on July 23 in Sherman Oaks at age 57.
During his time on the popular sitcom, Mayer was joined onscreen by Byron Cherry, who played his brother, Coy Duke. The two men were brought onto the show when contract disputes with the show’s main leading men, John Schneider and Tom Wopat, forced CBS to scramble to keep Dukes on the air. The network cast the two men quickly and explained that Schneider and Wopat’s characters had joined the NASCAR circuit. Audiences didn’t take kindly to the new characters, and when ratings sagged and contract disputes were solved, Cherry and Mayer were quickly written off the program.
According to Cherry, around two months ago, Mayer was diagnosed with two aneurisms in his brain, which were both “flushed out” while at the hospital. ”He died in his sleep,” Cherry contends. “I think he definitely died of natural causes. [After the brain aneurisms], the doctor said, ‘You’re going to live for one day,’ and Chris said, ‘Byron, I hope I wake up tomorrow!’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I do too!’” Cherry also says Mayer “had a bad shoulder, and he had hip surgery, and I think he got on steroids for a while, and it really didn’t help him.” The final cause of death is unknown at this time.