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August 8, 1947 |
San Diego, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, producer, businessman|
|Spouse(s)||Judy Vagner (1969-1978; divorced)
Hannie Strasser (1980-1982; divorced)
Marlene Harmon (m. 1986)
|Children||Derek, Heidi, Wendy, Chad and Ryan|
Early life and military service
Wilcox was born in San Diego, California. He was one of four children. When he was a baby, his parents divorced. He lived with his grandfather in Wyoming. Then when his father died, his mother worked as a secretary to provide for the family. After he graduated from high school, he did different jobs including acting. 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 attended Cal State Northridge, where he earned a degree. In 1973, he appeared in "The Streets of San Francisco" episode, "The Runaways" as older brother George. Also in 1973 he starred on the Lassie show in the Holden Ranch years as Dale, one of the boys who grew up there and now a hired hand. Then it was on to the 1976 film The Last Hard Men, TV appearances, commercials, and the TV show CHiPs.
As a decorated Marine Veteran, and an accomplished motorcycle rider, professional rodeo cowboy, race car driver, and Bonneville Salt Flat Land Speed Record holder, and private pilot, Wilcox did many of his own stunts on the show. Unlike his co-star Erik Estrada (who played "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.
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 and Estrada were never the best of friends, and 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."
Wilcox is among the cast members who did appear 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 Erik Estrada to invite him as did Robert Pine, but Erik did not return calls nor would he show up for the event. Erik's manager said he was trying to establish a new and separate identity from CHiPs.
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 also was the executive producer of the CHiPs Reunion and was the producer of the NBC movie, The Death of a Playmate, Dorothy Stratten. He also 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.
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.
In 2008, Wilcox had a brief cameo in the video for Rehab's song "Bartender Song (Sittin' at a Bar)". He played a California Highway Patrol Sergeant. (A direct reference to his role on CHiPs)
Wilcox was reunited briefly on-screen with his former co-star Estrada in National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1, and then again in CHiPs 99.
In November 2010, Wilcox was told that he had disclosed a paid commission in all of his public filings like he thought he was supposed to do. However, he later found out that paying a commission to a pension plan is illegal and a federal felony. He argued that he honestly disclosed all facts, and that he even offered the small investment back in good faith within the first 30 days. He argued that if it was illegal then why would he disclose it in all of his documents if he in fact had an illegal agenda. Because the definition of conspiracy is so broad, Wilcox was implicated into a group of 40 people who he never met and never interfaced with. However, since he was introduced to the sting investors by one person who was involved with these 40 strangers, Wilcox was now part of the legal description of Conspiracy. Wilcox was offered a plea or a long jail sentence. As a 65 year old parent of 5 children he was mortified by this horrible experience. In court it was stated that Wilcox was an exemplary citizen, a Marine Corps Vietnam Vet during the Tet Offensive and a wonderful citizen whose contributions to the country and to humanity were time honored. His attorney advised that he plead and not get into an ugly legal argument. Wilcox pled guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and was fined $100. Ironically, he was sentenced to three years' probation with community service spread over three years of which he completed in 10 months as he has done community service his whole life and as he reiterates...."I will always do community service as that is why I am here on this earth and the people who know me....respect me and that will never change with my signature on my life." Wilcox is regarded as an articulate and passionate patriot who is asked to speak for various causes. The FBI asked him to speak at one of their events, where he did so and signed autographs.
- 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.
- Wilcox's 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 his present wife, Marlene Harmon, a member of the 1980 Olympic heptathlon team. They live in the San Fernando Valley with their two sons, Chad and Ryan.
- Today, Wilcox spends his time working with ENABLEDWARE, a digital distribution software company. He also has set up an NPO Hub website to benefit police officers killed in the line of duty and various philanthropic projects, raising his two teenage sons, and caring for his father-in-law, a stroke victim.
- "Larry Wilcox profile at". Tvguide.com. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
- "Larry Wilcox Busses His New Bride, but 'chips' Co-Star Erik Estrada Gets a Kiss-Off". April 28, 1980. Retrieved 2010-12-29.
- "Larry Wilcox, actor from 'CHiPs,' gets three years probation for securities fraud conviction". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2011-10-17.
- Hammel, Sara (2011-01-28). "Larry Wilcox of ChiPs Gets Probation for Securities Fraud - Crime & Courts, CHiPs (TV Show - 1977), Larry Wilcox". People.com. Retrieved 2012-03-04.