July 15, 1944 |
|Residence||Vicksburg, Mississippi, U.S.|
|Other names||Jan Michael Vincent
|Occupation||Film, television actor|
|Spouse(s)||Bonnie Poorman (1974-75; divorced); 1 child
Joanne Robinson (1986-97; divorced)
Patricia Ann (2000-present)
Jan-Michael Vincent (born July 15, 1944) is a retired American actor best known for his role as helicopter pilot Stringfellow Hawke on the 1980s U.S. television series Airwolf (1984–86) and as the protagonist of John Milius’s 1978 surfing epic Big Wednesday.
Vincent was born July 15, 1944, in Denver, Colorado, to Doris and Lloyd Vincent. His family moved to Hanford, California, when Jan-Michael was young. Vincent attended Ventura College in Ventura, California.
Vincent was finishing a stint in the California Army National Guard when a talent scout was struck by his looks. His first acting job was in the movie The Bandits (aka Los Banditos), co-directed by and starring Robert Conrad, in 1967.
Vincent’s career took off in the late 1960s when casting agent Dick Clayton signed him to Universal Studios. He made a shirtless appearance on the Dragnet 1968 episode “The Grenade,” as a muscular high school student who suffered an acid attack by a mentally unstable classmate (played by Mickey Sholdar). He also appeared in the Danger Island segments of Hanna-Barbera’s The Banana Splits series as Link (1968–69). Finally, in the fall of 1969 Vincent had a starring role in the prime-time soap opera The Survivors, alongside Lana Turner and George Hamilton; however, the series was canceled at mid-season.
Vincent also performed in several movies in that period, such as the 1969 Twentieth Century Fox movie The Undefeated (as Bubba Wilkes) starring John Wayne, Rock Hudson, and Mexican actor Antonio Aguilar. His name appeared as Michael Vincent in the credits of the movie. Vincent guest-starred in two episodes of Bonanza (April 1969’s “The Unwanted” as Rick Miller and “The Arrival of Eddie” as Eddie MacKay May 19, 1968, Season 9 credited as Michael Vincent).
Vincent appeared in one episode of Marcus Welby, M.D. as Richie, a teen with an alcohol addiction. He co-starred with Charles Bronson in the 1972 crime film The Mechanic. In 1970, he garnered critical praise for his role in the made-for-TV film Tribes— also known as “The Soldier Who Declared Peace” in Europe and the UK, co-starring Darren McGavin, about a tough Marine boot-camp drill instructor dealing with a hippie draftee (Vincent), who will not “play by the rules.” Other notable films included the cult surfing film Big Wednesday with William Katt and Gary Busey; he also attracted attention giving a highly complex performance opposite Robert Mitchum in Going Home. In 1971 he appeared in the Gunsmoke episode “The Legend.”
In 1972 Vincent starred in a made-for-TV love story, Sandcastles, and in 1973 he starred in the Disney movie The World's Greatest Athlete, with Tim Conway and John Amos. He also starred in the 1974 romance Buster and Billie as the romantic antihero Buster Lane, where he startled audiences with his full-frontal nudity. In Hooper with Burt Reynolds, Vincent played a young stunt man. In 1975 Bite the Bullet found him sharing screen time opposite Gene Hackman, James Coburn, and Candice Bergen. He also starred in the cult classic trucker movie White Line Fever; in 1976's Baby Blue Marine, a war film directed by John D. Hancock, which also starred Glynnis O’Connor; and in the 1976 cult classic Shadow of the Hawk co-starring Marilyn Hassett. Vincent also appeared in Damnation Alley, based on Roger Zelazny's science fiction novel, in 1977.
In 1980, Vincent starred in the gang-themed drama Defiance, which received a limited release. In that film, he costarred alongside Danny Aiello as Manhattan residents who fight back against the gang members who terrorize their neighborhood. He also appeared in The Return, a science fiction film that was released directly to television and video. In 1981, he co-starred with Kim Basinger in Hard Country. Vincent starred in the 1983 action film Last Plane Out.
After the completion of his role in the 1983 television miniseries Winds of War, Vincent was cast as Stringfellow Hawke for the action–espionage series Airwolf, in which he co-starred with Ernest Borgnine and is the role for which he is best known and remembered, as well as for his rate of pay. It was noted, at the time, that Vincent's salary for his work on Airwolf was the highest paid (rumored to be $200,000 per episode) of any actor in American television. While filming Airwolf, Vincent admitted to drug and alcohol problems for which he acknowledged seeking help.
After the end of Airwolf he found roles in smaller budget and lower exposure film projects.
1990s and 2000s
While in the hospital in 1996, Vincent was committed to a role in Red Line with Chad McQueen as Keller. He appeared in the film with a swollen face and scars, and still wearing the hospital ID bracelet.
Vincent has battled alcoholism and intravenous drug use for much of his life. In 1983, he was arrested for drunk driving, but avoided jail by entering rehab. He was also arrested after two bar brawls in 1984 and 1985 and then received a felony assault charge in 1986, which he was acquitted of after his attorney argued that the woman tripped and fell on a telephone cord in his home. In 1995, a $374,000 default judgment was made against him after his former girlfriend alleged he had physically assaulted her after their breakup and caused her to miscarry their child.
In the latter half of the 1990s, he was involved in two severe automobile collisions, which he barely survived. In an accident in August 1996 Vincent broke three vertebrae in his neck. He also sustained a permanent injury to his vocal cords from an emergency medical procedure, leaving him with a permanently raspy voice.
Vincent was charged with drunk driving again after his 1996 accident and once again sentenced to rehab and placed on probation. In an interview on the TV program The Insider on September 18, 2007, when asked about his 1996 car accident, he answered, “Y’know, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I don't remember being in an accident.” 
In 2000, Vincent violated probation for his prior alcohol-related arrests by appearing drunk in public three times and assaulting his fiancée, Patricia. As a result, he was sentenced to 60 days in Orange County Jail.
Vincent was involved in another automobile accident in 2008.
Vincent married his first wife, Bonnie Poorman, his “college classmate sweetheart” in 1969 and they had a daughter, Amber Vincent, in 1973. His second wife, Joanne Robinson, left him and had a restraining order entered against him in 1994, alleging that he had abused her since their marriage in 1985.
In an October 2014 interview with National Enquirer, Vincent revealed that his right leg was amputated just below the knee in 2012 after he contracted a leg infection as a result of complications from peripheral artery disease. He now walks with a prosthetic limb, though sometimes he is forced to use a wheelchair. He also revealed he had tax debt in excess of $70,000.
|1967||The Mystery of the Chinese Junk||Tony Prito||Credited as "Mike Vincent"|
|1967||Dragnet (TV series)||Rick Schneiderman||"The Grenade" episode, credited as "Michael Vincent"|
|1967||The Bandits||Taye "Boy" Brown|
|1968||Lassie (TV series)||Chris Hanford||Episodes "Hanford's Point", part 1-3, credited as "Michael Vincent"|
|1968||Journey to Shiloh||Little Bit Lucket||Credited as "Michael Vincent"|
|1968-1970||The Banana Splits Adventure Hour||Lincoln 'Link' Simmons||Several episodes, credited as "Michael Vincent"|
|1968-1969||Bonanza||Rick Miller and Eddie||Episodes "The Unwanted" and "The Arrival of Eddie", credited as "Michael Vincent"|
|1969||The Survivors||Jeffrey Hastings|
|1969||The Undefeated||Bubba Wilkes||Credited as "Michael Vincent"|
|1970||Double Jeopardy||Kevin Colter|
|1971||The Last of the Powerseekers||unknown|
|1971||Dan August||Kevin Colter||Episode "Death Chain"|
|1971||Men at Law (TV series)||unknown||Episode "One American"|
|1971||The Persuaders!||Helicopter pilot||Episode "The Gold Napoleon", uncredited|
|1971||Gunsmoke||Travis Colter||Episode "The Legend"|
|1971||Going Home||Jimmy Graham|
|1972||The Catcher (TV movie)||Sam Callende|
|1972||Sandcastles (TV movie)||Michael|
|1972||The Mechanic||Steve McKenna|
|1973||The World's Greatest Athlete||Nanu|
|1973||Marcus Welby, M.D.||Ritchie||Episode: "Catch a Ring That Isn't There"|
|1973||Deliver Us from Evil (TV movie)||Nick Fleming|
|1973||Toma (TV series)||Billy Haskell||Episode "Blockhouse Breakdown"|
|1974||Buster and Billie||Buster Lane|
|1973-1975||Police Story (TV series)||Warren Yates & Dave Hauser||Episodes "Incident in the Kill Zone" and "Line of Fire"|
|1975||Bite the Bullet||Carbo|
|1975||White Line Fever||Carrol Jo Hummer|
|1976||Baby Blue Marine||Marion|
|1976||Shadow of the Hawk||Mike|
|1976||Vigilante Force||Ben Arnold|
|1978||Big Wednesday||Matt Johnson|
|1983||The Winds of War (TV miniseries)||Byron Henry|
|1983||Last Plane Out||Jack Cox|
|1984||Airwolf (TV movie)||Stringfellow Hawke|
|1985||Get Out of My Room||Immigration Officer|
|1984-1987||Airwolf (TV series)||Stringfellow Hawke|
|1986||Hotel (TV series)||Nick Hauser||Episode "Undercurrents"|
|1987||Six Against the Rock (TV movie)||Miran 'Buddy' Thompson|
|1987||Born in East L.A.||McCalister|
|1989||Hit List||Jack Collins|
|1989||Tarzan in Manhattan (TV movie)||Brightmore|
|1989||Deadly Embrace (video)||Stewart Moreland|
|1989||Dirty Games||Kepler West|
|1990||Haunting Fear (video)||Detective James Trent|
|1991||Xtro II: The Second Encounter||Oliver Moss|
|1991||Raw Nerve||Lt. Bruce Ellis|
|1991||The Final Heist (TV movie)||David King|
|1992||Beyond the Call of Duty||Len Jordan|
|1992||The Divine Enforcer (video)||Father Thomas|
|1992||Animal Instincts (video)||Fletcher Ross|
|1993||Singapore Sling (TV movie)||Billy|
|1993||Sins of Desire||Warren Robillard|
|1993||Hidden Obsession||Ben Scanlon|
|1993||Deadly Heroes||Cody Grant|
|1993||Indecent Behavior||Tom Mathis|
|1994||Renegade (TV series)||Max||Episode "Hard Rider"|
|1995||Russian Roulette - Moscow 95||unknown|
|1995||Abducted II: The Reunion||Brad Allen|
|1995||Body Count||Detective Reinhart|
|1995||Ice Cream Man||Detective Gifford|
|1995||Red Line (video)||Keller|
|1996||Jurassic Women (TV movie)||Zepp|
|1996||Lethal Orbit (TV movie)||Riff|
|1996||The Last Kill||unknown|
|1997||Nash Bridges (TV series)||Bobby Chase||Episode "Revelations"|
|1998||No Rest for the Wicked||Sheriff Juan Ramirez|
|2000||The Thundering 8th||unknown|
|2000||Escape to Grizzly Mountain||Trapper|
|2002||White Boy||Ron Masters|
In popular culture
- Vincent was briefly referenced in the episode "Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate" of the Adult Swim animated series Rick and Morty, with one of the episodes vignettes focusing on a blockbuster film concerning clones of Vincent.
- “”. "Jan-Michael Vincent interview on "The Insider", August 19, 2007". Youtube.com. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
- "Ultimate DVD description of Airwolf DVD". Ultimatedvd.org. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
- Thomas, Kevin (July 17, 1998). "Review of "Buffalo 66"". Chicago Tribune (Chicagotribune.com). Retrieved October 19, 2010.
- "Vincent Acquitted Of Battery". The Press-Courier. October 11, 1986. p. 5. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
- Romney, Lee (August 27, 1996). "Jan-Michael Vincent Injured in Accident". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
- Times Staff Writer (August 27, 1996). "Actor Jan-Michael Vincent Breaks Neck in Car Crash". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
- Ryan, Joal (August 27, 1997). "Jan-Michael Vincent Loses Voice; Sues Paramedics". E!. au.eonline.com. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
- Lisaz (September 14, 2007). "Recluse Jan-Michael Vincent in Shocking New TV Expose". SFGate (Sfgate.com). Retrieved October 19, 2010.
- Piccalo, Gina (October 11, 2000). "Actor Works Off Sentence Wielding Mop and Broom". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
- 2008 accident in Vicksburg. August 25, 2008, www.vicksburgpost.com Archived May 7, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- "FilmBug bio". Filmbug.com. November 25, 2005. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
- "Jan-Michael Vincent Credits Cinema Career To Chance". The Blade (Toledo). May 5, 1973. p. 13. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
- "Vincent's Wife Claims Abuse". Kentucky New Era-Spotlight. November 30, 1994. p. 9A. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
- Jaccarino, Michael (October 31, 2014). "Jan-Michael Vincent Amputation Hell". National Enquirer. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
- Mccormack, David (6 November 2014). "The tragic downfall of 80s heartthrob Jan-Michael Vincent: Recovering alcoholic admits he's lucky to be alive after his right leg was amputated TWICE". Daily Mail. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
- "Jan-Michael Vincent's 65th Birthday". StudentOperated Press. Thesop.org. July 28, 2009. Retrieved October 19, 2010.