Virile, handsome and square-jawed youthful star of the 1970s and 1980s who showed early potential at super-stardom, Jan-Michael Vincent originally made a name for himself portraying rebellious young men bucking the system, as in Tribes (1970), White Line Fever (1975) and Baby Blue Marine (1976) or as a man of action on either side of the law, as in The Mechanic (1972), Vigilante Force (1976) and The Winds of War (1983).
He was born in July 1944 in Denver, Colorado, and was finishing a stint in the National Guard when a talent scout was struck by his all-American looks. He made his first appearance on-screen in The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Chinese Junk (1967), before appearing in Journey to Shiloh (1968) and in “Danger Island” on the Hanna-Barbera kids TV show The Banana Splits Adventure Hour (1968). He remained very busy during the 1970s, appearing in high-profile productions alongside such stars as John Wayne, Rock Hudson, Charles Bronson, Slim Pickens and Robert Mitchum.
In 1984, Vincent was cast as Stringfellow Hawke in the helicopter action series Airwolf (1984), co-starring Ernest Borgnine. The show wrapped after three seasons and from then on he was primarily appearing in low-budget, B-grade action and sci-fi films, including Alienator (1990), The Divine Enforcer (1992), Deadly Heroes (1993) and Lethal Orbit (1996). His last film was the woeful gang movie White Boy (2002), and ongoing health issues and personal problems seemed to preclude his return to the screen.
Vincent will be best remembered by film fans as a smirking, apprentice hit man to Charles Bronson in The Mechanic (1972), as feisty “Matt” in the superb surf movie Big Wednesday (1978) with Gary Busey and William Katt, or as rebel trucker Carol Jo Hummer battling corruption in White Line Fever (1975).
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