Jan Michael Vincent
- Category : Actor
- Type : GP
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Maya 2
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 (1984–1986).
Vincent was born July 15, 1944 in Denver, Colorado, to Doris and Lloyd Vincent. His family moved to Hanford, California, when Jan-Michael was in his teens. Vincent attended Ventura College in Ventura, California.
He was finishing a stint in the National Guard when a talent scout was struck by his all-American looks. Jan-Michael Vincent's first acting job was in the movie The Bandits (aka Los Banditos), co-directed by and starring Robert Conrad, in 1967.
His career took off in the late 1960s when casting agent Dick Clayton signed him to Universal Studios. Vincent made an appearance on the Dragnet 1968 episode, "The Grenade," as a muscular high school student who suffered an acid attack by a mentally unstable classmate. He also appeared in the Danger Island segments of Hanna-Barbera's The Banana Splits series as Link (1968–1969). 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 midseason.
He 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. Vincent co-starred with Charles Bronson in the crime film The Mechanic. In 1970, he garnered critical praise for his role in the made for TV film Tribes, co-starring Darren McGavin, about a tough Marine boot-camp drill instructor dealing with a hippie draftee (portrayed by 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. Vincent also starred in the 1974 romance Buster and Billie as the romantic anti-hero 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. Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film 2 out of 4 stars. Vincent also appeared in Damnation Alley, based on Roger Zelazny's science fiction novel, in 1977.
In 1980, he 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 which 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 Vincent 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 (rumoured 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 Vincent found roles in smaller budget and lower exposure film projects.
1990s and 2000s
Jan-Michael Vincent worked with Traci Lords in the 1991 suspense film Raw Nerve. In the latter half of the decade, Vincent was involved in two severe automobile collisions which he barely survived. As a result of one accident in 1996, in which Vincent broke three vertebrae in his neck, he sustained a permanent injury to his vocal cords from an emergency medical procedure. This has left him with a permanently raspy voice. While he was in the hospital he was committed to a role in Red Line with Chad McQueen. He appeared in the film with a swollen face, scars, and still wearing the hospital ID bracelet. Vincent was involved in another automobile accident in 2008.
In 1997 he had a small guest role on Nash Bridges playing the title character's long-lost brother.
A notable exception to the downward trend in Vincent's post-Airwolf career was his small role in the critically acclaimed, independent film Buffalo '66, in 1998.
His last movie roles included the independent film White Boy, also titled Menace (for the US video version), released in March 2002.
Vincent has battled alcoholism for much of his life. In 1983, he was arrested for drunk driving, but avoided jail by entering rehab. He was also arrested after 2 bar brawls in 1984 and 1985 and then received a felony assault charge in 1986, which he was acquitted on 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. Vincent was charged with drunk driving again after his 1996 accident and once again sentence 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 fiance Patricia; as a result, he was sentenced to 60 days in Orange County Jail.
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 filed a restraining order against him in 1994, alleging that he had abused her since their marriage in 1985.
As of 2013, Vincent resides near Vicksburg, Mississippi.