Jan-Michael Vincent Gets Jail Time

Fallen '80s TV star sentenced to 60 days in Orange County jail after he admitted violating his probation

By Mark Armstrong Sep 21, 2000 9:30 PMTags
Rehab's been a downer, and Airwolf reruns aren't even showing up on TV Land these days. So can it get much worse for Jan-Michael Vincent?

Well, now that you mention it, yes. The troubled '80s TV star was sentenced Thursday to 60 days in Orange County, California, jail, after he copped to repeatedly violating his probation, including an arrest in July on a domestic-violence complaint.

Vincent, 56, admitted he was drunk in public three times between January and July. The struggling actor was arrested January 19 for public drunkenness, after police found him in Santa Monica, rolling around on the grass with at least a 0.26 percent blood-alcohol level. (That's more than three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent for DUIs in California.)

And just as prosecutors acknowledged they'd seek a six-month jail term for those violations, Vincent was arrested again July 20 following an alleged "pulling hair and pushing" tussle with his wife. "He was intoxicated and a verbal argument with his wife escalated into physical contact," Deputy District Attorney Mike Hernandez said.

Vincent's probation goes all the way back his 1996 arrest for drunk driving, in which he smashed his car into a pole and broke his neck, nearly leaving him paralyzed. He's currently enrolled in a live-in substance abuse program, where he'll stay until he begins serving his jail term September 29. Vincent will return to rehab after his stint in jail, and probation will continue for another two and a half years.

The once-dashing, chopper-maneuvering star of Airwolf has taken a hard fall since his heyday in TV and film. In 1981, Vincent found stardom with his lead role in the miniseries, The Winds of War. But he's struggled with alcohol abuse since the late '70s, and in 1983, the former golden boy was put on probation after being busted on his first drunken-driving charge.

His rap sheet continued to grow: Vincent was arrested for assault and disturbing the peace three times in 1984, and his former live-in girlfriend won a $400,000 judgment against him for her claim that he kicked her in the stomach while she was pregnant.

Earlier this year, Vincent told ABC News he was ready to get back in the pilot's seat, return to acting and conquer his addictions. "I'm just hanging on, by white knuckles," he said. "That's being honest."