Jan-Michael Vincent

Jan-Michael Vincent (July 15, 1944[1][2][3] – February 10, 2019) was an American actor. He was best known for having played helicopter pilot Stringfellow Hawke on the television series Airwolf (1984–1987) and the protagonist, Matt Johnson, in the 1978 film Big Wednesday. He also starred as Byron Henry in The Winds of War.

Jan-Michael Vincent
Vincent in 1984
Born(1944-07-15)July 15, 1944
DiedFebruary 10, 2019(2019-02-10) (aged 74)
Other namesJan Michael Vincent
Michael Vincent
Mike Vincent
Years active1964–2003
  • Bonnie Poorman
    (m. 1968; div. 1977)
  • Joanne Robinson
    (m. 1986; div. 1999)
  • Patricia Ann Christ
    (m. 2000)

Early life

Jan-Michael Vincent was born in Denver, Colorado, where his father was stationed after enlisting in the United States Army in 1941. His father, Lloyd Whiteley Vincent (September 7, 1919 – August 30, 2000), was born in Tulare, California and raised in nearby Hanford, California in the San Joaquin Valley. His mother, Doris Jane (née Pace; August 2, 1925 – February 22, 1993), was born in Arkansas and moved to Hanford as a toddler. Jan's grandfather, Herbert Vincent (September 26, 1876 – January 14, 1974), was a bank robber[4] and counterfeiter who had masterminded robberies in the 1920s and 1930s. Jan's uncle, Lloyd's brother Hoy, was shot to death in Tulare by a sheriff's deputy and was wanted for a robbery that occurred in Oregon. Two of Vincent's other uncles, Clifford and Harold, were convicted of bank robbery in Hardwick and Strathmore in 1931. In 1932, Herbert and his son, Gordon, were arrested in Hanford in January for bank robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, which left Lloyd alone at age twelve.[5]

Lloyd Vincent and Doris met in 1940 when she was in her early teens and Lloyd had finished high school. Lloyd was stationed in Denver in 1941 as a B-25 bomber pilot during World War II, and he married Doris there when she was sixteen. Jan's mistrust of authority came from later seeing his father in the Army being told what to do and when to do it. Jan Vincent's sister, Jaqueline "Jacquie" Vincent, was born in 1947. His brother, Christopher, was born in 1952. After the war, Lloyd became a painter, like Jan's grandfather, and later developed alcoholism. By the time Jan was born in 1944, his parents owned a sign company in Hanford.[5]

Vincent attended elementary and high school in Hanford where he graduated in 1963 from Hanford High School. He attended Ventura College for three years and said, "I would have completed college, but the registration clerk literally shut the window in my face for the lunch hour", and Vincent instead took his $200 and went to Mexico to party.[6][7][8] Years later, Vincent found himself in the same rigid system his father was in. He served in the California Army National Guard, and remained in the National Guard Reserve until 1971.[9]


Vincent gained his first acting job in 1967 in The Bandits, starring and co-directed by Robert Conrad.[7] Also in 1967, Vincent appeared in the made-for-TV-movie The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Chinese Junk.[10]

In the late 1960s, Vincent was signed to Universal Studios and appeared in several television series.[7] He made an appearance in 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). Vincent also appeared in the Danger Island segments of Hanna-Barbera's The Banana Splits series as Link (1968–1969). His first starring role was in the fall of 1969 in the prime-time soap opera The Survivors, alongside Lana Turner and George Hamilton; the series was canceled mid-season.[10]

Vincent also acted in several movies in the late 1960s, including the 1969 20th Century Fox movie The Undefeated (as Bubba Wilkes), starring John Wayne, Rock Hudson, and 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.[6][7]

In 1970, Vincent 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. He gave a complex performance opposite Robert Mitchum in Going Home (1971).[11][12][13] That same year, he appeared in the Gunsmoke episode "The Legend". In 1972, Vincent appeared with Charles Bronson in the crime film The Mechanic[12] and a made-for-TV love story Sandcastles.[14] In 1973, Vincent starred in the Disney comedy The World's Greatest Athlete, with Tim Conway and John Amos.[6][15] Vincent played Richie, an alcoholic teen in the 1973 Marcus Welby, M.D. episode, "Catch a Ring That Isn't There".[14] Also in 1973, he was in the made-for-TV-movie Deliver Us from Evil as Nick Fleming opposite George Kennedy.[16]

Vincent also starred as the anti-hero Buster Lane in the 1974 romance Buster and Billie,[6][12] wherein he startled audiences with his full-frontal nudity.[17] In Bite the Bullet (1975), he played opposite Gene Hackman, James Coburn, and Candice Bergen.[15] He also starred in the trucker movie White Line Fever (1975); in Baby Blue Marine (1976),[18] a war film directed by John D. Hancock, which also starred Glynnis O'Connor; and in Shadow of the Hawk (1976) co-starring Marilyn Hassett.[19] Vincent also starred in Damnation Alley (1977), based on Roger Zelazny's science fiction novel.[20] Two more notable 1978 appearances were the surfing film Big Wednesday with William Katt and Gary Busey, and Hooper with Burt Reynolds, in which Vincent played a young stuntman.[6][12][15]

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. That year, Vincent 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, and in 1983 he starred in the action film Last Plane Out.

After the completion of his role as Byron Henry ("Briny") in the 1983 television miniseries, The Winds of War, Vincent was cast as Stringfellow Hawke for the action–espionage series Airwolf, in which he co-starred with Ernest Borgnine. It is the role for which he is best known and remembered. It was noted at the time that Vincent's salary for his work on Airwolf was $200,000 per episode, the highest of any actor in American television at the time.[21][22] While filming Airwolf, Vincent admitted to having drug and alcohol problems for which he acknowledged seeking help. After Airwolf ended, he found roles in smaller budget and lower exposure film projects.

Vincent worked with Traci Lords in the 1991 suspense film Raw Nerve.[23] He also co-starred with Clint Howard in the 1996 black comedy/horror film Ice Cream Man, which had a very limited theatrical release but eventually reached cult status via home video as an unintentional comedy. In 1994, he played in a South African produced movie called Ipi Tombi, produced and directed by Tommie Meyer based on a musical by Bertha Egnos.

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.[12][24] His last role was in the independent film White Boy, also titled Menace (for the U.S. video version), released in March 2003.[25]

Vincent was referenced in the animated sitcom Rick and Morty in the season 2 episode titled "Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate", wherein the family watches a fake commercial for an action adventure sci-fi movie called "Jan Quadrant Vincent 16," starring fictionalized versions of Jan-Michael Vincent.[26]

Personal life

Vincent married Bonnie Poorman in 1968, and they had a daughter, Amber Springbird Vincent, in 1972.[27][28][29] The couple's divorce was finalized on January 2, 1977.[8]

Vincent remarried in 1986. His second wife, Joanne Robinson, left him and entered a restraining order against him in 1998, alleging that he had abused her during their marriage.[30]

He battled alcoholism and intravenous drug use for much of his life. In 1977, 1978, and 1979 he was arrested for possession of cocaine, and in 1984 and 1985 he was arrested after two bar brawls.[31]

He was charged with felony assault in 1986, but was acquitted after his attorney argued that the woman tripped and fell on a telephone cord in his home.[31] Vincent then was arrested for drunk driving but avoided jail by entering rehab in 1988. In 2000, 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.[32]

During the 1990s, he was involved in three severe automobile collisions, which he barely survived. In an accident in August 1996 Vincent broke three vertebrae in his neck.[33] He sustained a permanent injury to his vocal cords from an emergency medical procedure, leaving him with a permanently raspy voice. The first near-fatal accident occurred in February 1992, and the third happened in September 1997.[34]

Vincent was charged with drunk driving again after his 1996 accident, and once again sentenced to rehabilitation and placed on probation. In an interview on the television program The Insider on September 18, 2007, when asked about his 1996 car accident, Vincent answered, "Y'know, I have no idea what you're talking about. I don't remember being in an accident."[21][35]

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.[36] Vincent was involved in another automobile accident in 2008.[37]

In an interview on October 24, 2014, 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.[38][39] After that he walked with a prosthetic limb, although he was sometimes forced to use a wheelchair.[40]


Vincent died on February 10, 2019 at the age of 74 in Asheville, North Carolina due to cardiac arrest while hospitalized at Mission Hospital Memorial Campus.[1][2] Bradycardia, a decreased heart rate, was listed as an underlying cause of death. His death was not publicly announced until March 8, when TMZ broke the news and showed a slightly redacted copy of Vincent's death certificate. He is survived by his third wife, Patricia Ann Christ, and his daughter from his first marriage, Amber Vincent.[41][42][43]



Year Title Role Notes
1967 The Bandits Taye "Boy" Brown Drama film written by Edward di Lorenzo, Robert Conrad, & Alfredo Zacarias and directed by Conrad and Zacarias
1968 Journey to Shiloh Little Bit Lucket
1969 The Undefeated Lt. Bubba Wilkes, C.S.A.
1971 Going Home Jimmy Graham
1972 The Mechanic Steve McKenna Action-Crime film written by Lewis John Carlino and directed by Michael Winner
1973 The World's Greatest Athlete Nanu Walt Disney Productions film directed by Robert Scheerer
1974 Buster and Billie Buster Lane
1975 Bite the Bullet Carbo
White Line Fever Carrol Jo Hummer
1976 Baby Blue Marine Marion
Shadow of the Hawk Mike
Vigilante Force Ben Arnold
1977 Damnation Alley Tanner
1978 Big Wednesday Matt Johnson
Hooper Ski
1980 The Return Wayne
Defiance Tommy
1981 Hard Country Kyle
1983 Last Plane Out Jack Cox
1985 Get Out of My Room Immigration Officer
1987 Enemy Territory Parker
Born in East L.A. McCalister Music video; Born in East L.A. (I.C.E. cop)
1989 Demonstone Andy Buck
Hit List Jack Collins
Deadly Embrace Stewart Moreland Direct-to-video
Dirty Games Kepler West
Alienator Commander
1990 Haunting Fear Detective James Trent Direct-to-video
1991 Xtro II: The Second Encounter Dr. Ron Shepherd
Hangfire Colonel Johnson
Raw Nerve Lt. Bruce Ellis
1992 Beyond the Call of Duty Len Jordan
The Divine Enforcer Father Thomas Direct to video
Animal Instincts Fletcher Ross Direct to video
1993 Midnight Witness Lance
Sins of Desire Warren Robillard
Hidden Obsession Ben Scanlon
Deadly Heroes Cody Grant
Indecent Behavior Tom Mathis
1995 Abducted II: The Reunion Brad Allen
Body Count Detective Reinhart
Ice Cream Man Detective Gifford
Red Line Keller Direct to video
1996 The Last Kill unknown
1998 No Rest for the Wicked Sheriff Juan Ramirez
1998 Buffalo '66 Sonny
2000 The Thundering 8th unknown
Escape to Grizzly Mountain Trapper
2003 White Boy Ron Masters Final role


Year Title Role Notes
1967 The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Chinese Junk Tony Prito
Dragnet Rick Schneiderman
  • Episode: "The Grenade" (S 2:Ep 1)
  • Credited as Michael Vincent
1968 Lassie Chris Hanford
  • Episodes: "Hanford's Point", Parts 1–3 (S 14:Ep 26–28)
  • Credited as Michael Vincent
Bonanza Eddie MaKay
1968–70 The Banana Splits Adventure Hour Lincoln 'Link' Simmons
  • Recurring (10 episodes)
  • Credited as Michael Vincent
1969 Bonanza Rick Miller
  • Episode: "The Unwanted" (S 10:Ep 27)
  • Credited as Michael Vincent
1969–70 The Survivors1 Jeffrey Hastings Main cast (10 episodes)
1970 Tribes Adrian Made-for-TV-Movie written by Marvin Schwartz & Tracy Keenan Wynn and directed by Joseph Sargent
1971 Dan August Kevin Colter Episode: "Death Chain" (S 1:Ep 15)2
Men at Law Guest Episode: "One American" (S 1:Ep 23)
The Persuaders! Helicopter pilot
The Last of the Powerseekers1 Jeffrey Hastings Made-for-TV-Movie written by Richard M. Bluel, Michael Gleason, Norman Katkov, J.M. Richards, and John Wilder
Gunsmoke Travis Colter Episode "The Legend" (S 17:Ep 6)
1972 The Catcher Sam Callende Made-for-TV-Movie written by David Freeman and directd by Allen H. Miner[47]
Sandcastles Michael
  • Made-for-TV-Movie story by Peter Berneis
  • Teleplay by Steven Karpf, Elinor Karpf, and James M. Miller
  • Directed by Ted Post
1973 Marcus Welby, M.D. Ritchie Manning Episode: "Catch a Ring That Isn't There" (S 4:Ep 20)
Deliver Us from Evil Nick Fleming Made-for-TV-Movie written by Jack B. Sowards and directed by Boris Sagal
Toma Billy Haskell Episode: "Blockhouse Breakdown"
1973–1975 Police Story Warren Yates
Dave Hauser
"Incident in the Kill Zone"
"Line of Fire"
1975 Dinah! Himself 1 episode
1975 The Mike Douglas Show Himself 1 episode
1983 The Winds of War Byron Henry Miniseries
1984–1986 Airwolf Helicopter pilot and aviator Stringfellow Hawke Main cast (55 episodes)
1986 Hotel Nick Hauser Episode "Undercurrents"
1987 Six Against the Rock Miran 'Buddy' Thompson Made-for-TV-Movie
1989 Tarzan in Manhattan Brightmore
1991 The Final Heist David King
1993 Singapore Sling Billy
1994 Renegade Max Episode: "Hard Rider"
1996 Jurassic Women Zepp Made-for-TV-Movie
Lethal Orbit Riff
1997 Nash Bridges Bobby Chase Episode "Revelations"



  1. ^ In 1971, a made-for-TV-movie titled The Last of the Powerseekers aired on ABC. Universal Television decided to re-edit two of The Survivors episodes into the TV movie.[48]
  2. ^ In 1980, a made-for-TV-movie titled Dan August: Once Is Never Enough aired on ABC. This was a re-editing of episode 15, "Death Chain," with episode 25, "Prognosis: Homicide".
  3. ^ Jan-Michael Vincent: Edge of Greatness does not have page numbers. Use specific section of book for reference.


  1. Vincent LoBrutto (January 4, 2018). TV in the USA: A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas [3 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 226. ISBN 978-1-4408-2973-4.
  2. Elizabeth Anne Brown. "Jan-Michael Vincent, star of 'Airwolf,' died in Asheville". Asheville Citizen Times.
  3. According to The Washington Post and most other sources, Jan-Michael Vincent was born in Denver on July 15, 1944 — although his death certificate says 1945. The New York Times gives his birth year as 1945.
  4. Ryan Gilbey (March 10, 2019). "Jan-Michael Vincent obituary". The Guardian.
  5. David Grove (September 15, 2016). Jan-Michael Vincent: Edge of Greatness. BearManor Media. pp. 10–13. GGKEY:KG6NXT8KJ8F.
  6. Bernstein, Adam (March 8, 2019). "'Airwolf' actor Jan-Michael Vincent dies; career derailed by drugs and alcohol". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles: Los Angeles Times Communications LLC (Nant Capital). Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  7. Thorne, Will (March 8, 2019). "'Airwolf' star Jan-Michael Vincent dies at 74". The Mercury News. San Jose, California: Digital First Media. Variety. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  8. Brown, Elizabeth Anne (March 8, 2019). "'Airwolf' actor and '80s heartthrob Jan-Michael Vincent dies". USA Today. McLean, Virginia: Gannet Corporation. Asheville Citizen-Times. Retrieved March 9, 2019.
  9. David Grove (September 15, 2016). Jan-Michael Vincent: Edge of Greatness. BearManor Media. p. 43. GGKEY:KG6NXT8KJ8F.
  10. Verhoeven, Beatrice (March 8, 2019). "Jan-Michael Vincent, Star of 'Airwolf' and 'The Mechanic,' dies at 74". AOL. New York City: Verizon Media. TheWrap. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  11. David Grove (September 15, 2016). Jan-Michael Vincent: Edge of Greatness. BearManor Media. p. 73. GGKEY:KG6NXT8KJ8F.
  12. Thorne, Will (March 8, 2019). "'Airwolf' Star Jan-Michael Vincent Dies at 73". Variety. Los Angeles: Variety Media, LLC. (Penske Media Corporation). Retrieved March 9, 2019.
  13. Canby, Vincent (December 2, 1971). "Mitchum and Brenda Vaccaro Star in 'Going Home'". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  14. MeTV Staff (March 8, 2019). "R.I.P. Jan-Michael Vincent of Airwolf and The Banana Splits Adventure Hour". MeTV. Chicago: Weigel Broadcasting. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  15. Slotnik, Daniel E. (March 8, 2019). "Jan-Michael Vincent, Troubled Star of 'Airwolf,' Dies at 73". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 9, 2019.
  16. David Grove (September 15, 2016). Jan-Michael Vincent: Edge of Greatness. BearManor Media. p. 107. GGKEY:KG6NXT8KJ8F.
  17. Extra Staff (March 8, 2019). "'Airwolf' Star Jan-Michael Vincent Dead at 74". Extra. Universal City, California: Telepictures. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  18. Roger Ebert (1976). "Baby Blue Marine Movie Review (1976) | Roger Ebert". www.rogerebert.com. Archived from the original on December 20, 2017. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  19. Roger Ebert. "Shadow of the Hawk Movie Review (1976) Roger Ebert". www.rogerebert.com. Archived from the original on September 24, 2018. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  20. "Damnation Alley". TVGuide.com. TV Guide. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  21. "Jan-Michael Vincent interview on "The Insider", August 19, 2007". Youtube.com. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  22. "Ultimate DVD description of Airwolf DVD". Ultimatedvd.org. Archived from the original on November 29, 2005. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  23. Prouty, Howard H. (1994). Variety Television Reviews (1991–1992). 17 (1st ed.). Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge. ISBN 9780824037963.
  24. Thomas, Kevin (July 17, 1998). "Review of "Buffalo 66"". Chicago Tribune. Chicago: Tribune Publishing. Archived from the original on April 4, 2010. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  25. Nolasco, Stephanie (March 8, 2019). "'Airwolf' star Jan-Michael Vincent dead: report". Fox News. New York City: Fox Corporation. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  26. Eadicicco, Lisa (July 27, 2017). "All the Rick and Morty Easter Eggs You Missed in Seasons One and Two". Time. New York City: Marc & Lynne Benioff. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
  27. "FilmBug bio". Filmbug.com. November 25, 2005. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  28. "Jan-Michael Vincent Credits Cinema Career To Chance". The Blade. Toledo, Ohio: Block Communications. May 5, 1973. p. 13. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  29. David Grove (September 15, 2016). Jan-Michael Vincent: Edge of Greatness. BearManor Media. pp. 105–. GGKEY:KG6NXT8KJ8F.
  30. "Vincent's Wife Claims Abuse". Kentucky New Era-Spotlight. December 2, 1994. p. 9A. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  31. "Vincent Acquitted Of Battery". The Press-Courier. October 11, 1988. p. 5. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  32. Romney, Lee (August 27, 1996). "Jan-Michael Vincent Injured in Accident". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles: Los Angeles Times Communications LLC (Nant Capital). Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  33. "Actor Jan-Michael Vincent Breaks Neck in Car Crash". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles: Los Angeles Times Communications LLC (Nant Capital). August 27, 1996. Archived from the original on November 13, 2014. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  34. Ryan, Joal (August 27, 1997). "Jan-Michael Vincent Loses Voice; Sues Paramedics". E!. au.eonline.com. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  35. "Recluse Jan-Michael Vincent in Shocking New TV Expose". SFGate. September 14, 2007. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  36. Piccalo, Gina (October 11, 2000). "Actor Works Off Sentence Wielding Mop and Broom". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles: Los Angeles Times Communications LLC (Nant Capital). Retrieved February 13, 2012.
  37. 2008 accident in Vicksburg, vicksburgpost.com, August 25, 2008.Archived May 7, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  38. Katie Rosseinsky (March 8, 2019). "Airwolf actor Jan-Michael Vincent passes away aged 74". Evening Standard. ESI Media.
  39. Todisco, Eric (March 8, 2019). "Airwolf Actor Jan-Michael Vincent Dies at 74 After Cardiac Arrest". People. United States: Time Inc. / Meredith Corporation. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  40. "Jan-Michael Vincent Dead: 'Airwolf' Star Dies at 74". USA Today.
  41. "Airwolf star Jan-Michael Vincent dies". BBC. March 8, 2019.
  42. "Jan-Michael Vincent, Star of 'The Mechanic' and 'Airwolf,' Dies at 73". The Hollywood Reporter.
  43. "Airwolf star Jan-Michael Vincent dies aged 73 after cardiac arrest". Sky News. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  44. Henry, Will (1960). Journey to Shiloh (1st ed.). New York City: Random House. ASIN B000JZGXS4.
  45. "Golden Globes Winners and Nominees 1972 for work in 1971". Golden Globe Awards. United States: Hollywood Foreign Press Association. February 6, 1972. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  46. Dixon, Franklin W. (1959). The Mystery of the Chinese Junk (Hardy Boys, Book 39) (1st ed.). New York City: Grosset & Dunlap. ISBN 978-0448089393.
  47. Roberts 2009, p. 396.
  48. Hyatt 2003, p. 193.

Further reading

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