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The Rise & Fall of AirWolf: Jan-Michael Vincent Barely Has a Leg to Stand On


Jan-Michael Vincent is old, broke, and an alcoholic with one leg. Yet another lesson in “You got too much money” for a young Hollywood star who didn’t read the directions.

The young and lucky Californian earned $40,000 an episode filming the hit TV series Airwolf in the mid-80s – a King’s ransom in those days. Pretty boy.. ain’t too pretty now.


One day you’re a good-looking surfer boy who becomes the highest-paid TV actor in the business – the next day you’re sitting around with one leg, half a liver and thousands owed in back taxes.

That’s the glamour of Hollywood.

Jan-Michael Vincent now lives out his days as a recovering alcoholic who almost died two years ago after an infection forced him to have his right leg amputated.

Helicopter pilot Stringfellow Hawke from top rated television series Airwolf – even while filming the show – admitted to issues with drugs and alcohol. Still has them to this day:

From The Daily Mail comes the story of Airwolf, plummeting to earth. In Mississippi, no less:

When the show ended in 1986, acting roles dried up for Vincent as his demons got the better of him. He also suffered his fair share of bad luck including two serious car accidents.

In the first incident in 1996, Vincent broke three vertebrae in his neck and sustained a permanent injury to his vocal cords that left him with a permanently raspy voice.



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Rodney Lee Conover

Rodney Lee Conover is a writer, producer and Senior Editor at

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