Jan-Michael Vincent: a passionate surfer | Photo: Warner Bros

American actor Jan-Michael Vincent has died aged 73 of cardiac arrest.

He was famous for his roles in "Big Wednesday," the iconic 1978 surf movie directed by John Milius.

Jan-Michael Vincent was born on July 15, 1945, in Denver, Colorado. He started his acting career in "The Bandits," a 1967 film by Robert Conrad.

The most notable appearances of his professional path were, undoubtedly, "Big Wednesday" and the "Airwolf" TV series.

In the cult surf movie, he plays the role of Matt Johnson, a self-destructive character, and one of the three friends who live their lives around surfing before being drafted for the Vietnam War.

Jan-Michael Vincent was an active surfer himself, and his tanned good looks fit Johnson's role perfectly.

"Big Wednesday" was a box office plot but as time went by it became one of the most influential surf flicks of all time.

Matt Johnson (center): the star of 1978's surf movie 'Big Wednesday'

The movie's final scene was shot at Sunset Beach in Oahu, Hawaii.

The 120-minute film also featured a fictional surfboard brand - Bear - that became so popular that the logo morphed into real life and grew into a successful business.

A Troubled Life

Throughout his life, Jan-Michael Vincent battled alcoholism and drug abuse in a way mimicking Matt Johnson's behavior.

The actor survived three violent car crashes and, in 2000, was sentenced to 60 days in jail for assaulting his fiancée and appearing drunk in public.

In 2012, Jan-Michael's right leg had to be amputated below the knee in the aftermath of a leg infection.

"I just want to be someone that people care about watching, and I feel I'm a good actor," he said in 2007.

Jan-Michael Vincent passed away on February 10, 2019. He is survived by his daughter, Amber Vincent.

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