Jan-Michael Vincent! From 70’s Sexiest Man To A “True Hollywood” Tragedy!


This film is currently on the “Retro” cable channel – a great cult 70’s film that was poorly remade as most of them are:

70's sex stud

One of the stars of this great action film has become a shocking “True Hollywood Tragedy” – it’s the story of Jan-Michael Vincent, who starred in the most iconic surfing movie ever – and is now an amputee!

Jan-Michael Vincent amputation

This is a real tragic story of Hollywood – and a reminder of the downside of fame…one of Hollywood’s brightest young stars is now struggling to survive!


Here are words uttered by Vincent in the iconic surfing film “Big Wednesday.”

“I don’t wanna be a star. Have my picture in magazines, have a bunch of kids looking up to me. I’m a drunk, Bear, a screw up. I just surf cause its good to go out and ride with your friends. I don’t even have that anymore.”

amputee jan-michael vincent

Jan-Michael Vincent’s Hollywood story is a familiar one: a handsome young Actor gets discovered, makes several hit films in a row and becomes the next “Hollywood Hunk”…

hollywood sexiest men

Vincent’s breakout hit was alongside Charles Bronson, one of the 70’s biggest action stars…


Vincent exuded raw sexuality and confidence as the young hit man who learns from the grizzled veteran Bronson…

“You always have to be dead sure. Dead sure or dead!”

Jan-Michael Vincent hollywood hunk

The Mechanic – 1972

Here’s a classic trailer for the film, with the foreign title of “Killer Of Killers!”

Jan-Michael Vincent Hollywood Hunk

“The Mechanic” was a smash hit, and Vincent was in demand, quickly becoming one of Hollywood’s hottest young stars. He cemented his stardom with a slew of other hits, including this muscular action movie:

white line fever

White Line Fever – 1975

Here is the trailer:

jan-michael vincent movies

It’s a classic “B” action film, with Vincent a returning vet who stands up to corrupt forces in his hometown. He got the chance to fight bad guys while charming the ladies…

amputee jan-michael vincent

“Surf’s Up!”

Finally, Vincent’s stardom was secured with the iconic 1978 surfing movie, “Big Wednesday”.

big wednesday

“I don’t wanna be a star. Have my picture in magazines, have a bunch of kids looking up to me. I’m a drunk, Bear, a screw up. I just surf cause its good to go out and ride with your friends. I don’t even have that anymore.”


The Actor’s words from that movie are sadly prescient. Here is the film’s trailer:

Jan-Michael Vincent, Gary Busey and William Katt are three young California surfers in the 1960s. After a carefree life of beaches, girls, and waves, the Vietnam war arrives to shatter their idyllic lives.

jan-michael vincent surf movie big wednesday

The title “Big Wednesday,” is the mythical day for surfers when the greatest, cleanest, and most transcendent wave of all will come for them to conquer.

big-wednesday surf movie

By the 80’s, Vincent switched to TV and starred in the hit TV series:


We all remember this shows’ theme:

According to a great article on the actor in the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper, by the mid-80s, Vincent was earning $40,000 an episode as helicopter pilot Stringfellow Hawke in the top rated television series Airwolf.

Yet even while filming the TV show, Vincent had admitted to issues with drugs and alcohol and admits that he still struggles with alcoholism.


According to the newspaper, “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.”


The newspaper points to a second crash that occurred in 2008, and then in 2012 he contracted a leg infection as a result of complications from peripheral artery disease.

‘An infection in my leg got steadily worse,’ he told The Enquirer. ‘I felt like I was beaten with a whip.’

jan-michael-vincent-with wife

Vincent’s third wife, Anna, admits that doctors were left with no option but to amputate the lower half of his right leg.

Jan-Michael Vincent amputation

Once an avid surfer, his other great wish is to get out on the waves once again – even if it is on a belly board now that he can no longer stand on a surf board.

70's sex stud

There is more to this tragic story, and you can read the entire article here:


The National Enquirer also had an update, more than a year ago:


here is what they reported:

“Jan-Michael Vincent has a triumphant message for his fans just one year after The National ENQUIRER exposed the “amputation horror” that nearly cost him his life.

“I’m doing really good!”

The 71-year-old former “Airwolf” star has miraculously rebounded from the devastating blow of losing most of his right leg to complications of peripheral artery disease.

His third wife, Anna, told The ENQUIRER: “Jan-Michael has bounced back, and he’s moving forward! “He’s working hard, and getting really good with a walker. He’s practically running with it. Our goal is for him to walk without a cane. It feels like there’s light at the end of the tunnel!”

Vincent’s story isn’t unusual: Hollywood is a tough town, and it has taken many great artists…

Cheryl Rainbeaux Smith

Cheryl “Rainbeaux” Smith was a 70’s starlet who succumbed to Hollywood – read her story here:


And it can be just as difficult for stars around the world…

Sex kitten Soledad Miranda

Read the story of Soledad Miranda, the star of “She Killed In Ecstasy”, by reading my story here:


And good luck to Jan-Michael Vincent, I hope he can battle through and survive…


Categories: 70's Cinema, Action Films, Books / Media, British Cinema, Cult Movies, Exploitation films, Film Fight Club, Funny Pictures, Golden Globes, Great Films, Grindhouse, Hollywood, Independent Cinema, Los Angeles, Memoirs, Movies, Obscure Movies, Obscure Music, Revenge Movies, Sports, Sports Movies, Talent/Celebrities, Technology, TV Show, Uncategorized

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8 replies

  1. I’ve seen The Mechanic which has the charms of a B-grade flick but A-grade all the way. Ambitious shooting, strong performances and a twist at the end. Everybody talks about that opening scene. A good friend of mine who doesn’t like to watch movies of stars who stopped being famous in 1980 introduced it to me at one of our video nights. I wish him well, I was an Airwolf kid which I think at the time made the highest paid TV actor in the world. As rough as Hollywood is, I think this really just comes down to alcoholism. Addiction sure is tough to beat. Good luck Sir.

  2. Reblogged this on johnrieber and commented:

    This is a REAL “True Hollywood Story” – tragic


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  5. RIP Margot Kidder…A Great Actress Dies…Superman’s Best Lois Lane… – johnrieber

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