Scott Adam, who worked on hit 1980s TV series The Dukes of Hazzard, was one of four Americans captured last Friday (18Feb11) when their yacht was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden.
U.S. Navy SEALs had been in negotiation with the pirates to free the hostages, but discussions were halted on Tuesday (22Feb11) when one kidnapper fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the rescuers' nearby warship, Sterett.
The pirates subsequently opened fire on the four Christian missionaries, including Adam and his wife Jean, leaving them dead or mortally wounded by the time special forces were able to board the ship, according to Navy Vice Admiral Mark Fox. The four victims are the first Americans killed by pirates in the area.
Adam, 70, worked in film and TV throughout the 1970s and '80s and served as an assistant director on U.S. shows The Dukes of Hazzard, The Love Boat and McCloud. He was also a production manager on 1985 movie classic The Goonies.
He walked away from Hollywood to dedicate his life to missionary work and spent the last seven years sailing around the world with his 66-year-old wife, handing out Bibles wherever they travelled.
The Adams were parishioners at St. Monica's Roman Catholic Church in Santa Monica, California - the same church frequented by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, veteran actor Martin Sheen, and model/actress Brooke Shields.