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‘Airwolf’ Cast: See The Stars Then and Now

Plus, find out who often was in trouble with the law during the filming of 'Airwolf''. 


The Airwolf cast left their mark on audiences and fans of action-packed television. From the iconic performances of Jan-Michael Vincent and Ernest Borgnine to the contributions of supporting actors like Jean Bruce Scott and Deborah Pratt, the show’s ensemble brought the thrilling world of high-flying adventure to life. While the years have passed since Airwolf last graced the small screen, the legacy of its cast continues to endure, reminding audiences of the timeless appeal of this unforgettable series.

Airwolf was expensive to produce, and critics didn’t love it, but fans did and it stayed on CBS for three seasons. The main star, Jan-Michael Vincent, was one of the most highly paid actors working at the time, making around $200,000 an episode.

This action-packed series, which aired in 1984, captured the hearts and imaginations of viewers with its thrilling aerial stunts, high-tech espionage, and compelling characters. Created by Donald P. Bellisario (known for hit shows like Magnum P.I.) and produced by Universal Television, Airwolf soared to popularity during its run.

Here, we look back at the Airwolf cast—from their origins to their present endeavors.

Jan-Michael Vincent as Stringfellow Hawke

Jan-Michael Vincent as Stringfellow Hawke
1982/2017 Archive Photos / Stringer/Getty; Bobby Bank / Contributor/Getty

Born on July 15, 1945, in Denver, Colorado, Jan-Michael Vincent portrayed the enigmatic Stringfellow Hawke, a skilled pilot and former Vietnam War veteran who becomes the pilot of the advanced helicopter known as Airwolf.

Vincent, who was remembered for his electric blue eyes and strong physique, began acting in the late 1960s, appearing on television shows including Bonanza, Lassie and Gunsmoke. He then had lead roles in films like The World’s Greatest Athlete (1973), Buster and Billie (1974) and White Line Fever (1975).

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His big break, however, came as Stringfellow Hawke in the Airwolf cast. Unfortunately, with fame came challenges. Vincent had substance abuse issues with alcohol and cocaine and often got into bar fights. He narrowly avoided jail in 1986 by entering a monthlong drug rehab program. He also was cited for drunken-driving incidents. CBS canceled Airwolf in part due to his instability.

Vincent’s career declined after that, although he continued to appear in TV movies like Alienator (1990) and Deadly Heroes (1993). His substance abuse worsened, and he broke his neck in 1996 in a car accident. In 2000 Vincent told Bill Ritter of the ABC News program 20/20 that he had been sober for a time, but that remaining so was a struggle. “I’m hanging on by my white knuckles,” Vincent said.

He continued to be plagued with health issues and troubles. He was also involved in another car accident in 2008, and in 2012 an infection led doctors to amputate part of his right leg.

He passed away in 2019 at the age of 73.

Ernest Borgnine as Dominic Santini in the Airwolf Cast

Ernest Borgnine as Dominic Santini
1985/2012Donaldson Collection / Contributor/Getty; Joe Scarnici / Contributor/Getty

Born on January 24, 1917, in Hamden, Connecticut, Ernest Borgnine played the role of Dominic Santini, Hawke’s loyal friend and co-pilot who operated Airwolf alongside him.

Borgnine was already a seasoned actor with a distinguished career before he became a part of the Airwolf cast. He played the lead role of Marty Piletti, a shy and sensitive butcher, in the movie Marty (1955). He won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance.

He also appeared in The Catered Affair (1956), Ice Station Zebra (1968) and Emperor of the North (1973). He also played Lt. Commander Quinton McHale in the popular television series McHale’s Navy.

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He continued his acting success after Airwolf. In 1995, he was cast in the comedy series The Single Guy (1995) as doorman Manny Cordoba. He also was famous for his voiceover work including animated films All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 (1996) and Small Soldiers (1998). He was also known as the voice of the Mermaid Man in the series SpongeBob SquarePants (1999).

He passed away in 2012 at the age of 95.

Did you know? Borgnine was married five times.

Alex Cord as Michael Coldsmith-Briggs III Airwolf Cast

Alex Cord as Michael Coldsmith-Briggs III (Airwolf Cast)
1978 Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer/Getty

Born on May 3, 1933, in Floral Park, New York, Alex Cord portrayed the character of Michael Coldsmith-Briggs III, codenamed “Archangel,” the intelligence operative who recruits Hawke to fly Airwolf on covert missions.

Cord had polio as a child and was confined to a hospital and iron lung. However, he overcame his illness and pursued a career in acting. He appeared in several TV shows including roles in Fantasy Island, Simon & Simonand Mission: Impossible.

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He got his breakout role playing the mysterious white-suited, eye-patched, cane-using Michael Archangel in the Airwolf cast.

His career continued after the show, including parts in Walker, Texas Ranger, Murder, She Wrote and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Most recently, he appeared in the 2009 movie Fire from Below.

In addition to his acting career, Cord was an accomplished equestrian, having competed in rodeo events.

He passed away in 2021 at the age of 88.

Did you know? On the personal front, Cord was married three times.

Jean Bruce Scott as Caitlin O’Shannessy

Jean Bruce Scott as Caitlin O'Shannessy (Airwolf Cast);CBS

Born on February 25, 1956, in Monterey, California, Jean Bruce Scott played the Caitlin O’Shannessy, a pilot and professional helicopter flyer who becomes involved with Hawke and Santini in their missions.

Before the Airwolf cast, Scott had a reoccurring role in Magnum, P.I. and St. Elsewhere.

After Airwolf, Scott acted in several shows including Port Charles and Murder, She Wrote.

Scott married Randy Reinholz, a fellow actor and theatre director. Together, they founded the Native Voices theatre company, which focuses on producing works by Native American playwrights. She retired in 2019 from Native Voices after more than 25 years of developing and producing new work (plays, radio shows, and screenplays) by Native American playwrights.

Deborah Pratt as Marella Airwolf Cast

Deborah Pratt as Marella Airwolf Cast
1990/2024 George Rose / Contributor/Getty; Courtesy of Spence Bovee

Born December 16, 1951, in Chicago, Illinois, Deborah Pratt portrayed Marella, the intelligence operative who works closely with Archangel and serves as a liaison between the Airwolf team and their superiors.

Prior to her role on the Airwolf cast, Pratt had gained recognition as an actress and writer, with credits in TV shows such as Knight Rider, St. Elsewhere and Magnum P.I.

Her big break came playing Marella on Airwolf. After the show ended, she appeared in several shows including Quantum Leap and The Net.

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In addition to acting, Pratt is also an accomplished author, having written several novels and short stories.

Did you know? Pratt was married to Airwolf series creator Donald P. Bellisario.

Lance LeGault as the narrator

Lance LeGault as the narrator (Airwolf Cast)
1987Hulton Archive / Handout/Getty

Lance LeGault was born as William Lance Legault on May 2, 1935 in Chicago, Illinois. Lance began his acting career as a stunt double for Elvis Presley. He appeared in the 1960s Presley movies Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962), Kissin’ Cousins (1964), Viva Las Vegas (1964) and Roustabout (1964).

LeGault was known for his commanding screen presence and highly distinctive deep, gravelly voice. He had recurring roles on several television series including the role as Colonel Roderick Decker on The A-Team, Colonel Buck Greene on Magnum, P.I. He also had bit parts in The Incredible Hulk and The Dukes of Hazzard.

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After Airwolf, he continued to act in shows like MacGyver, Major Dad, Quantum Leap and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

LeGault died at age 77 of heart failure in 2012.

Did you know? In addition to acting, LeGault worked as a lounge and nightclub singer.

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