Jan-Michael Vincent

Jan-Michael Vincent
Born (1944-07-15) July 15, 1944
Denver, Colorado
Residence Vicksburg, Mississippi, U.S.
Other names Jan Michael Vincent
Michael Vincent
Mike Vincent
Occupation Film, television actor
Years active 1967–2002
Spouse(s) Bonnie Poorman (1974-75; divorced); 1 child
Joanne Robinson (1986-97; divorced)
Patricia Ann (2000-present)
Children Amber Vincent

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.

Early life

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 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 (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 three episodes of Lassie with actor Tony Dow and two episodes of Bonanza.


Vincent appeared in an 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 follow the rules. Other notable films included the cult surfing film Big Wednesday with William Katt and Gary Busey, and a 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 antihero Buster Lane, where he startled audiences with his full-frontal nudity. In Hooper with Burt Reynolds, Vincent played a young stuntman. In 1975, Bite the Bullet he played 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 and Danny Aiello co-star 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.[1][2] While filming Airwolf, Vincent admitted to drug and alcohol problems for which he acknowledged seeking help. After Airwolf ended, he found roles in smaller budget and lower exposure film projects.

1990s and 2000s

Vincent worked with Traci Lords in the 1991 suspense film Raw Nerve.

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 his hospital ID bracelet.

In 1997, he had a small guest role on Nash Bridges, playing the title character's long-lost brother, and in 1998 he had a cameo in the independent film Buffalo '66.[3]

His most recent movie roles included the independent film White Boy, also titled Menace (for the U.S. video version), released in March 2002.

Personal life

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.[4] 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.[4] 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.[5]

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.[6] He also sustained a permanent injury to his vocal cords from an emergency medical procedure, leaving him with a permanently raspy voice.[7]

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."[1][8]

In 2000, Vincent violated probation for his prior alcohol-related arrests by appearing drunk in public three times and assaulting his fiancée. As a result, he was sentenced to 60 days in the Orange County Jail.[9]

Vincent was involved in another automobile accident in 2008.[10]

Vincent married his first wife, Bonnie Poorman, in 1969 and they had a daughter, Amber Vincent, in 1973.[11][12] 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.[13]

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 he is sometimes forced to use a wheelchair.[14] He also revealed he had a tax debt in excess of $70,000.[15]

As of 2013, Vincent resides near Vicksburg, Mississippi.[16]

In other media

Jan-Michael Vincent was parodied in the eighth episode of the second season of the animated series Rick and Morty, which featured a fictional action film titled Jan Quadrant Vincent 16.[17][18]


List of film credits
Year Title Role Notes
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
1970 Tribes Adrian
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
1977 Damnation Alley Tanner
1978 Big Wednesday Matt Johnson
1978 Hooper Ski
1980 The Return Wayne
1980 Defiance Tommy
1981 Hard Country Kyle
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 Enemy Territory Parker
1987 Born in East L.A. McCalister
1989 Demonstone Andy Buck
1989 Hit List Jack Collins
1989 Tarzan in Manhattan (TV movie) Brightmore
1989 Deadly Embrace (video) Stewart Moreland
1989 Dirty Games Kepler West
1990 Alienator Commander
1990 Haunting Fear (video) Detective James Trent
1991 Xtro II: The Second Encounter Oliver Moss
1991 Hangfire Colonel Johnson
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 Midnight Witness Lance
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
1998 Buffalo '66 Sonny
2000 The Thundering 8th unknown
2000 Escape to Grizzly Mountain Trapper
2002 White Boy Ron Masters


  1. 1 2 "Jan-Michael Vincent interview on "The Insider", August 19, 2007". Youtube.com. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
  2. "Ultimate DVD description of Airwolf DVD". Ultimatedvd.org. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
  3. Thomas, Kevin (July 17, 1998). "Review of "Buffalo 66"". Chicago Tribune. Chicagotribune.com. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  4. 1 2 "Vincent Acquitted Of Battery". The Press-Courier. October 11, 1986. p. 5. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  5. Romney, Lee (August 27, 1996). "Jan-Michael Vincent Injured in Accident". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  6. Times Staff Writer (August 27, 1996). "Actor Jan-Michael Vincent Breaks Neck in Car Crash". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  7. Ryan, Joal (August 27, 1997). "Jan-Michael Vincent Loses Voice; Sues Paramedics". E!. au.eonline.com. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  8. Lisaz (September 14, 2007). "Recluse Jan-Michael Vincent in Shocking New TV Expose". SFGate. Sfgate.com. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  9. Piccalo, Gina (October 11, 2000). "Actor Works Off Sentence Wielding Mop and Broom". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
  10. 2008 accident in Vicksburg. August 25, 2008, www.vicksburgpost.com Archived May 7, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. "FilmBug bio". Filmbug.com. November 25, 2005. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  12. "Jan-Michael Vincent Credits Cinema Career To Chance". The Blade. Toledo. May 5, 1973. p. 13. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  13. "Vincent's Wife Claims Abuse". Kentucky New Era-Spotlight. November 30, 1994. p. 9A. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  14. Jaccarino, Michael (October 31, 2014). "Jan-Michael Vincent Amputation Hell". National Enquirer. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  15. 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.
  16. "Jan-Michael Vincent's 65th Birthday". StudentOperated Press. Thesop.org. July 28, 2009. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  17. Jackson, Gita (24 September 2016). "Rick and Morty Review: "Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate" (2.08)". Paste Magazine. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  18. Matar, Joe (3 June 2016). "Rick and Morty Rickstaverse Expansion Drops". Den of Geek. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
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