Larry Wilcox

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For the college football coach, see Larry Wilcox (American football).
Larry Wilcox
Larry Wilcox 2013.jpg
Born Larry Dee Wilcox[1]
(1947-08-08) August 8, 1947 (age 67)
San Diego, California, US
Occupation Actor, producer, businessman
Years active 1971–present
Spouse(s) Judy Vagner (1969–78; divorced)
Hannie Strasser (1980–82; divorced)
Marlene Harmon (1986— )
Children Derek, Heidi, Wendy, Chad and Ryan

Larry Dee Wilcox (born August 8, 1947) is an American actor, best known for his role as Officer Jonathan "Jon" Baker in CHiPs, an American television series. He is a decorated Marine veteran, accomplished motorcycle rider, race car driver, Bonneville Salt Flats Land Speed Record holder, and private pilot.

Early life, education and military service[edit]

Wilcox was born in San Diego, California, the son of Marion G. and John C. Wilcox.[1] He was one of four children. When he was a baby, his parents divorced. He lived with his grandfather in Rawlins, Wyoming. Then when his father died, his mother worked as a secretary to provide for the family. After he graduated from Rawlins High School, he worked at different jobs including acting and rodeo cowboy.

Wilcox joined the Marines in May 1967 and served 13 months in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive. He was honorably discharged with the rank of Staff Sergeant in 1973.

Wilcox is a graduate of Cal State Northridge.

Career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Wilcox made a guest appearance in 1971 in Room 222. In 1973, Wilcox appeared in The Streets of San Francisco episode "The Runaways" as older brother George. Also in 1973 he starred on Lassie in the Holden Ranch years as Dale, one of the boys who grew up there and was now working as a hired hand. He performed in the 1976 film The Last Hard Men, other TV appearances including The Partridge Family, Hawaii Five-O, M*A*S*H (TV Series 1977, Corporal Mulligan (1 episode, 1977), and Police Story, as well as commercials.

CHiPs[edit]

Wilcox was cast as one of the lead characters on CHiPs, an action TV series (1977–82) about California Highway Patrol motorcycle officers. Wilcox performed many of his own stunts on the show. Unlike his co-star Erik Estrada (who played his partner "Ponch"), Wilcox never suffered any major injuries. By the 1979–80 season, he made $25,000 per episode (the same amount as Estrada) and it escalated thereafter. During his time on CHiPs, Wilcox appeared on the cover of TV Guide three times, along with Estrada.[2]

Rumors of friction between the two had occurred late in the 1978–79 season, but it calmed down after Estrada's injury at the beginning of the 1979–80 season as Wilcox came to his friend's rescue. Wilcox confirmed that some of the rumors of on-set feuding were true, but minor issues blown out of proportion. He added: "We're just two totally different people."[3]

Wilcox is among the cast members who appeared at a reunion in Los Angeles to celebrate the series' 35th anniversary. Wilcox filmed the event and helped raise capital for policemen and for kids at risk. Wilcox stated he called Estrada to invite him, as did Robert Pine, but Estrada did not return calls nor would he show up for the event. Estrada's manager said he was trying to establish a new and separate identity from CHiPs.[4]

After CHiPs[edit]

In 1982, Wilcox left CHiPs and formed his own production company, Wilcox Productions, which produced the award winning TV series for HBO The Ray Bradbury Theater for five years. He developed, optioned and sold to MGM The Yorkshire Ripper and sold to Columbia The Wolfman Jack Story. Later Wilcox optioned Flipper and was the Executive Producer of that movie for Universal Pictures. He also continued acting and directing. Presently Wilcox works with Saratoga Entertainment which is a production and digital distribution company. He also is a consultant to Enabledware which is a rule based digital distribution software in 57 languages with a focus on digital universities and security for sports stadiums.

As stated above, Wilcox was executive producer of the TV movie Death of a Playmate: The Dorothy Stratten Story. The story had a deeper resonance for Wilcox, whose older sister was fatally shot in front of her three children, her mother and 17 witnesses. The accused murderer, her husband, was later acquitted in a celebrated trial in Wyoming and subsequently killed in a barroom brawl, according to Wilcox.[3]

Wilcox appeared in a 1985 made-for-TV movie sequel to The Dirty Dozen, called The Dirty Dozen: The Next Mission. He played a convicted war prisoner recruited to help terminate a German general who is plotting to assassinate Hitler.[citation needed]

Wilcox was reunited briefly on-screen with his former co-star Estrada in National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1, and then again in 1998, where he reprised his role of Jon Baker (now Captain Baker) in the Turner Network Television production of CHiPs '99 along with such memorable co-stars such as Estrada (Ponch), Robert Pine (Commissioner Joe Getraer), Brodie Greer (Barry "Bear" Baricza), Paul Linke (Detective Artie Grossman) and Bruce Penhall (Sergeant Bruce Nelson).

In 2008, Wilcox had a brief cameo in the music video for Rehab's song "Bartender Song (Sittin' at a Bar)". He played a California Highway Patrol Sergeant, a reference to his role on CHiPs.


He appeared in a cameo as himself dressed as "Officer Jon Baker" on the 2009 Christmas episode of 30 Rock. Wilcox also completed a cameo in the feature film Two Sillies.

Personal life[edit]

Wilcox married his first wife, Judy Vagner, on March 29, 1969, while serving his last months of duty after returning from the Vietnam War. They had two children together: Derek and Heidi.

His second marriage was to Dutch native Hannie Strasser, a one-time CHiPs assistant sound technician. The wedding took place on April 11, 1980. Their daughter, Wendy, was born in 1982 and they divorced immediately. Wilcox raised Wendy.

On March 22, 1986, Wilcox married Marlene Harmon, a member of the 1980 Olympic heptathlon team. They reside in the San Fernando Valley and have two sons, Chad and Ryan. He assists in caring for his father-in-law, a stroke victim.

Wilcox set up an NPO Hub website to benefit police officers killed in the line of duty and various philanthropic projects.

Legal troubles[edit]

In November 2010, Wilcox plead guilty to criminal charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud in a pump and dump scheme. The U.S. Justice Department alleged that Wilcox had paid kickbacks to stockbrokers and fund managers to illegally promote penny stocks with which Wilcox was associated in order to increase the value of the stocks, after which Wilcox and other conspirators would sell all their shares, leaving defrauded investors to take a loss on the stocks. In pleading guilty, Wilcox stated before the court, "I betrayed my core values with what I did. I am deeply sorry." He was sentenced to three years probation, 500 hours of community service, and a $100 fine.[5][6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Larry Wilcox". FilmReference.com. 
  2. ^ "Larry Wilcox". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 2012-03-04. 
  3. ^ a b Lardine, Bob (28 April 1980). "Larry Wilcox Busses His New Bride, but 'Chips' Co-Star Erik Estrada Gets a Kiss-Off". People 13 (17). Retrieved 2010-12-29. 
  4. ^ "'CHiPs' 35th Anniversary Cast Reunion". ChipsReunion.com. Retrieved 2011-02-28. 
  5. ^ "Star of 70's TV show 'CHiPs' avoids jail". CNN. Retrieved 2014-10-27. 
  6. ^ "'CHiPs' star gets probation for securities fraud". USATODAY.com. Retrieved 2014-10-27. 

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