‘Airwolf,’ ‘The Mechanic’ Star Was 73

Jan-Michael Vincent, who starred in action movies like Mechanic, White sugar sauce and TV Airwolf before a series of personal problems and illness pushed him into a downward spiral, passed away. He was 73 years old.

Vincent died February 10 of cardiac arrest at Mission Hospital’s Memorial Campus in Asheville, North Carolina, according to his death certificate issued by The Hollywood Reporter.

Vincent had a very public battle with drug and alcohol abuse and his career was going downhill when he got drunk and was involved in a 1996 car crash in Mission Viejo, California, which left him She broke her neck and damaged her vocal cords.

Twelve years later, Vincent was involved in another car accident, after which an infection resulted in the amputation of two parts of his right leg. He spent the last years of his life living in the South.

Things have changed a lot in mid-1970swhen Vincent was ready on top of Super star. A heartthrob with a flowing mane, he capitalized on his skinny image by appearing topless in photographs and on the big screen, and agents discovered he was also discovered. James Dean appeared.

Vincent portrayed evolving characters in Michael Winner’s Mechanic (1972), for being too ambitious raiser of contract killer Charles Bronson; In Vigilance Force (1976), as Kris By Kristofferson Brother; and in Hooper (1978), as a stunt actor mentored by Burt Reynolds.

Vincent also acts as a popular high school jock opposite Joan Good friends in a tragic love story Buster and Billie (1974), directed by Daniel Petrie; Play the role of a rebellious truck driver Carrol Jo Hummer in violence White sugar sauce (1975); and along with being mistaken for a Marine hero in Baby Blue Marine (In 1976).

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After a lull in his career, blue-eyed Vincent plays naval officer Robert Mitchum’s the son of the black sheep and infatuated with Ali MacGraw on ABC 1983 acclaimed miniseries The winds of warimitating Herman By Wouk .’s best-selling work 1930s Fiction.

Then he was cast in the role Stringfellow Hawke – pilot of a high-tech Bell 222 helicopter built by the CIA and brother of a missing Vietnamese vet – on Airwolfcreated by television action conductor Donald P. Bellisario. The film also stars Ernest Borgnineaired from 1984-86, and Vincent was at the time one of the highest-paid actors on television.

But with all his troubles, his career will never be the same after this Airwolf.

“He had a terrible natural ability, and that was his curse,” said David Grove, author of the 2016 book. Jan-Michael Vincent: Edge of Greatness, said in a January 2017 podcast interview with Phil Hall. “When you are born with an innate ability, you tend to develop it. It is like a well; when it’s dry, there’s nothing left, because you never worked on building that foundation.”

Vincent was born in Adams, Colorado, on July 15, 1945, according to his death certificate, and was raised in Hanford, California, about 30 miles south of Fresno. His father, a World War II bomber pilot, owned an autographing business.

Vincent graduated from Hanford High school in 1963, went to Ventura College in Southern California when he wasn’t surfing and served in the National Guard. He then meets Dick Clayton – who discovered Dean, Lee Majors, Tuesday Weld and many others – and the talent agent who brought the lowly young man into the training program at Universal Studios.

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In 1967, Vincent starred in a TV series Hardy Boys and made his film debut with Robert Conrad on the set of Mexico. Bandit. A year later, he starred on Lassie and Bonanzaappeared in Universal’s Journey to Shiloh and be a regular Dangerous Islanda series that runs on Saturday mornings on Banana Split Adventure Time.

After working with John Wayne and Rock Hudson in The Invincibles (1969) and played Lana Turner’s son in the short-lived ABC drama SurvivorsVincent gained attention when he played a hippie Marine opposite Darren McGavin in the 1970 ABC movie Tribe.

Then he played Mitchum’s boy for the first time in Go home (In 1971).

In ‘70’s In his heyday, Vincent also starred as the same character as Tarzan in Disney’s . The greatest athlete in the world (1973) and appeared in the highly regarded endurance race active person Bite the bullet (1975). I also Top post-apocalypse Damnation Alley (1977), and in John MiliusBig Wednesday (1978), he played a self-destructive surfer, a role perhaps too close to home.

Vincent was reportedly chosen by Universal to play oceanographer Matt Hooper in Jaw (1975), but Steven Spielberg went with the sassy Richard Dreyfuss instead of. (The character is a hard – working boy in Peter Benchley bestseller based on the movie.)

Vincent appeared in Buffalo ’66 (1998), but most of his eventual efforts were under-funded action person and horror movies, many of which go straight to video.

Survivors include his wife, Patricia.

Duane Byrge contributed to this report.

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