Popular 1980s Actor Latest to Reveal Addiction Issues

Back in the 1980s, actor Jan Michael Vincent had the distinction of being the highest-paid actor on television. At USD $40,000 per episode, he was paid to keep fans tuning in every week to the popular Airwolf series that ran for four seasons. Now the 41-year-old actor is broke, ill, and struggling with alcoholism.

Vincent’s rugged good looks and charm earned him a critically acclaimed role in the 1978 cult classic Big Wednesday. From there he continued to land attractive rules until being given the part of Stringfellow Hawke on the Airwolf series. By the time the show was cancelled in 1986, Vincent had already been struggling with drugs and alcohol for a while. His persistent use of the substances resulted in fewer and fewer roles – until he wasn’t working at all.

These days Vincent walks with a prosthetic thanks to two amputations of his right leg. Peripheral arterial disease caused an infection in 2012, requiring his right leg to be partially amputated below the knee. A subsequent infection took the remainder of his lower leg one month later. It is quite possible that Vincent’s alcoholism is partially responsible for the loss of the limb.

Peripheral arterial disease is a condition in which the arteries are constricted due to a build-up of fatty deposits and a narrowing of the vessels themselves. It is usually caused by prolonged high cholesterol and high blood pressure, both of which are known to be caused by excessive alcohol consumption. In Vincent’s case, it is hard to say how much his drinking contributed to the disease. However, it is safe to say the contribution was probably significant.

If things were not bad enough, Vincent and his third wife are now in danger of losing their home due to $70,000 owed in back taxes. The couple has no idea how they are going to make it without a miracle. Unfortunately, there is no turning back the clock to undo what has already been done.

Time for a Rethink

It is stories such as these that we hope will cause alcohol abusers and alcoholics to step back and rethink their actions. We genuinely feel for Mr Vincent and hope he and his wife are able to work through their present difficulties. Yet at the same time, we are forced to remind others that much of their trouble could have been avoided had the actor stayed away from drugs and alcohol.

Time and again we see how addictive substances destroy lives with impunity. Moreover, if stars such as Vincent, Robin Williams, and Philip Seymour-Hoffman are not exempt, neither is anyone else. We have said it before, and we will say it again: nothing good can come from excessive alcohol consumption or the illicit use of drugs. Nothing.

As a drinker or drug user yourself, we urge you to step back and honestly assess your life. Is it truly better because of the substances you ingest? Does your future look brighter because you binge drink or use cannabis? Do you understand that you could end up just like Jan Michael Vincent, or worse, like Robin Williams?

Addiction is a subtle monster that creeps up on you slowly. Once it pounces, you could literally lose everything. Do not take that chance. If you know you are struggling with drugs or alcohol, take the opportunity right now to contact us at Addiction Helper. If you have questions about the potential of addiction, there is another good reason to contact us. We are here to assist by answering your questions and helping you find the treatment you need to get well.


  1. The Daily Mail – https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2824218/The-tragic-downfall-80-s-heartthrob-Jan-Michael-Vincent-Recovering-alcoholic-admits-s-lucky-alive-right-leg-amputated.html
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