Jan-Michael Vincent's first acting job was in the movie Los Bandidos, directed by and starring Robert Conrad, in 1964. His acting career took off in the late 1960s when casting agent Dick Clayton signed Vincent to Universal Studios. In 1970, Vincent garnered critical praise for his role in the made for TV film "classic" known as Tribes, co-starring Darren McGavin, about a tough, Marine boot-camp drill sergeant, that has to deal with a "hippie" draftee (portrayed by Jan-Michael), who won’t play by "the rules". Vincent also appeared in the Disney film The World's Greatest Athlete as a Tarzan-like young man who becomes a great professional athlete. He also appeared in the "Danger Island" segments on Hanna-Barbera's Banana Splits series as Link.
Vincent became a popular and an acclaimed film star during the 1970s, especially for his co-starring role with Charles Bronson in the crime film The Mechanic. Other notable films included the Western The Undefeated with John Wayne and the cult surfing film Big Wednesday with William Katt and Gary Busey. Vincent also starred in the 1974 romance Buster and Billie as the romantic anti-hero Buster Lane. In "Hooper" with Burt Reynolds, Vincent played a young stunt man. In 1975, he also starred in the cult classic trucker movie White Line Fever, followed by the notorious Damnation Alley, based on Roger Zelazny's science fiction novel, in 1977.
In 1980, he starred in the gang-themed drama, Defiance, which received only a limited release, and in The Return, a little-seen science-fiction film which was released directly to television and video. In 1981, he co-starred with Kim Basinger in Hard Country.
After an acclaimed performance in the 1983 television miniseries The Winds of War, Vincent was cast as Stringfellow Hawke for the action-espionage series Airwolf, in which Vincent co-starred with Ernest Borgnine. It is probably the role for which Vincent is best known and remembered, and one for which he was especially well paid. It was noted, at the time, that Vincent's salary for his work on Airwolf was the highest paid of any actor in American television.
After the end of Airwolf, Vincent's acting career took a downturn, and he found himself in increasingly smaller-budget and lower-exposure film projects that typically went directly to video, with the notable exception of a small role in the critically acclaimed independent film Buffalo '66.
1990s and 2000s
Jan-Michael Vincent has been involved in two severe automobile accidents from which he barely escaped alive. 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.
In 1997 he had a small guest role on Nash Bridges playing the title character's long-lost brother. His last film role was in the independent film White Boy, also titled Menace (for the US video version), released in March of 2002. In this film he had a much larger role, that of the antagonist, playing the part of the racist sheriff that makes his own rules. As of 2006, Vincent resides with his wife Anna, near Vicksburg MS on a lake. His most recent television appearance was for an interview on the American entertainment program The Insider on September 18, 2007. He said that he wanted to get back into acting if someone would just ask him to do a role. The most recent picture and article of him, are on this site taken on November 18, 2009 in New Orleans. There is also a great picture of him and Anna in a Globe magazine article from August 31, 2009 and states that he is sober, happy and healthy. You can find current information on him at janmichaelvincent.org
Vincent has a daughter, Amber Springbird Vincent, from his marriage to first wife Bonnie Portman.