Larry Wilcox was born on August 8, 1947 in San Diego CA. While still an infant, his parents got a divorce. He moved to Rawlins, Wyoming and was raised on his grandfather's ranch, "The Flying Diamond". His father, a bartender, died shortly after and his mother worked as a secretary to support her four children.
After graduating from Rawlins High School, Larry drifted to L.A. and worked odd jobs while studying piano and acting. In 1967, about to be drafted, he joined the Marine Corp Reserve and spent 13 months in Vietnam as an artilleryman. He reached the rank of Sergeant before he was discharged in 1970. Returning to the states, he resumed his acting lessons in L.A.. A fling with predentistry courses at a local college convinced him he "didn't have the manual dexterity for it."
Before long, he was landing lucrative commercials for the likes of Old Spice. In 1972 he was cast as Dale Mitchell in another reincarnation of the popular series, Lassie. The show lasted until 1974. He went on to make several guest appearances on TV and in movies until, in 1977, he was cast as Officer Jon Baker in "CHiPs". Wilcox admits taking the role of Jon to ease his despair at losing a part in Rich Man, Poor Man to Nick Nolte.
As an accomplished motorcycle rider, horseman, race car driver, and jet skier, Wilcox did many of his own stunts on the show. Unlike his co-star, Erik Estrada, he never suffered any major injuries. By the 1979-80 season, he made $25,000 per episode, the same amount as Estrada.
In 1978, Wilcox divorced his first wife, Judy Vagner. Wilcox's second marriage was to Hannie Strasser, a one time "CHiPs" assistant sound technician and a native of Denmark. The wedding took place on April 11, 1980. Erik Estrada was married four months before and Wilcox was not invited. He decided not to send his co-star an invitation. Rumors of friction between the two had occurred late in the 1978-79 season, but it calmed down after Estrada's injury at the beginning of the 1979-80 season.
Apparently the accident was not enough to bring them back together. Wilcox admits he and Estrada were never the best of friends, and that some of the rumors of on-set feuding were true. However, whatever friction may have existed between the two, it never showed in Jon and Ponch's on-screen relationship. Said Wilcox: "We're just two totally different people."
In 1982, he left "CHiPs" to pursue other projects. He formed his own production company, Wilcox Productions, which produced the acclaimed Ray Bradbury Theater for 5 years. He also continued acting and directing.
In the mid-90's, Wilcox ran a pharmaceutical company called Team Elite. He described it as "a multidivisional company selling liquid vitamins, wholesale travel and long-distance communications through network marketing."
He has also produced, directed, written, and starred in a children's video called Lil CHP, which tells the story of two little boys who dream of becoming CHP motor officers. Wilcox returns in his "CHiPs" role of Jon Baker, and former co-star Robert Pine returns as Sergeant Joe Getraer. The video also stars John Schneider (Dukes Of Hazzard) and Ron Masak (Murder She Wrote).
Wilcox says his entrepreneurial talents were nurtured during his days on "CHiPs" by the late David Begelman, then the top executive at MGM, which produced the show. Contrary to Estrada, who blames Begelman for sabotaging his career, Wilcox says, "I loved Begelman. He helped me so much; he gave me advice, we discussed deals and how to negotiate. He was kind of a mentor. He sure was nice to me."
With encouragement from Begelman, Wilcox optioned the rights to several entertainment properties, including the story of a young actress murdered by her boyfriend, which became Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story. Wilcox was executive producer of the TV movie, which starred Jamie Lee Curtis.
The story had a deeper resonance for Wilcox, whose older sister was shot in front of her three kids and her mother. The accused murderer, her husband, was later acquitted in a celebrated trial in Wyoming and subsequently killed in a barroom brawl, according to Wilcox.
Wilcox currently lives on ranch in the San Fernando Valley and is the proud father of 5 children. The two oldest children are from his 10-year marriage to Judy Vagner, whom he married on March 29, 1969. Derek, the oldest, was born in 1970 and appeared in two episodes of "CHiPs". Heidi, the second oldest, is working in the dental profession. Wendy, the middle child, is from his marriage to Hannie Strasser. The two youngest children, Ryan and Chad, are from his current marriage to Marlene Harmon Wilcox, a member of the 1980 Olympic Heptathlon Team, whom he married on April 22, 1986.
Reunited briefly on-screen with his former co-star in National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1, Wilcox says he still talks to Estrada a few times a year. "We exchange stories about coulda shoulda woulda," says Wilcox, who sounds nonetheless itching to get back in the spotlight. "I feel like I can run the 100 in nine flat and they don't let me in the race."
Today he spends his time working on various philanthropic projects, raising his two teenage sons, and caring for his father-in-law, a stroke victim. He is open to acting again, but has no wish to be a "celebrity". These days he enjoys his anonymity.
In October 2010, Wilcox was accused of securities fraud by the SEC for manipulating the volume and price of penny stocks to illegally generate sales.45 On November 5, 2010, Wilcox plead guilty to securities fraud in Federal District Court in Florida. Authorities allege Wilcox tried to bribe undercover FBI agents thinking that they were pension fund managers. He faced up to five years in prison.6
On January 28, 2011, the Associated Press reported that Wilcox was sentenced to three years probation plus 500 hours community service. US District Judge James I. Cohn cited evident and sincere remorse on the part of the plaintiff, calling the episode an "aberration in what has otherwise been an exemplary life".7
- Open Winter (?)
- Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones (ABC-11/16/1971) [Charlie Saunders]
- The Great American Beauty Contest (TV-1973)
- Lassie (TV-1972-74) [Dale Mitchell]
- The Girl Most Likely To... (TV-1973) [Moose]
- Death Stalk (TV-1974) [Jody]
- Sky Heist (TV-1975)
- The Last Hard Men (1976) [Shelby]
- Relentless (TV-1977)
- "CHiPs" (NBC-1977-82) [Officer Jon Baker]
- The Last Ride of the Dalton Gang (TV-1979)
- The Love Tapes (TV-1980)
- Trail of Danger (TV-1981)
- Deadly Lessons (TV-1983) [Detective Russ Kemper]
- Dirty Dozen: The Next Mission (TV-1985)
- Mission Manila (1989)
- Rich Men, Single Women (TV-1/29/1990) [Mark]
- National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 (1993) [as "Larry" with Erik Estrada]
- Cops n Roberts (1995)
- Lil CHP (Video-1996) [Jon Baker]
- The Thundering 8th (1998)
- "CHiPs" '99 (TV-10/27/1998) [Capt. Jon Baker]
- Room 222 (ABC-11/4/1971) "Stay Awhile, Mr. Dreamchaser"
- Wonderful World of Disney (NBC-9/30/1973) "Fire on Kelly Mountain"
- Cannon (CBS-10/3/1973) "Target in the Mirror" [Tennis Player]
- The Partridge Family (ABC-11/10/1973) "Heartbreak Keith" [Feder]
- Police Story (NBC-12/4/1973) "The Big Walk"
- The Streets of San Francisco (ABC-12/6/1973) "The Runaways" [George Morgan]
- Hawaii-Five-0 (CBS-9/10/1974) "The Young Assassins" [Mike]
- Wonderful World of Disney (NBC-1/4/1976) "Twister, Bull from the Sky"
- M*A*S*H (TV-2/15/1977) "The General's Practitioner"
- Wonderful World of Disney (NBC-3/12 & 3/19/1978) "Trail of Danger"
- The Love Boat (TV-1980) "Witness For the Prosecution"
- Hardcastle and McCormick (ABC-9/23/1984) "Outlaw Champion" [E.J. Corlette]
- Hotel (ABC-12/2/1984) "Ideals"
- The Love Boat (TV-1986) "Hippies and Yuppies"
- Murder She Wrote (CBS-2/9/1986) "Powder Keg" [Andy Crane]
- Matlock (TV-2/10/1986) "The Convict" [Lester Matthews]
- The New Mike Hammer (TV-1987) "Body Shot"
- Perry Mason: The Case of the Avenging Ace (TV-2/28/1988) [Lt. Col. Kevin Parks]
- Murder She Wrote (CBS-4/10/1988) "Showdown in Saskatchewan" [Boone Talbot]
- Murder She Wrote (CBS-3/10/1991) "The Prodigal Father" [Dave Hastings]
- MacGyver (ABC-12/16/1991) "Guns 'N Boyz" [Minton]
- FBI: The Untold Stories (1992) "The Sting" [FBI Agent Bob Jones]
- Murder She Wrote (CBS-12/13/1992) "A Christmas Secret" [Floyd Bigelow]
- April 1994 episode of the Afterschool Break Special series (a father whose daughter was being sexually harassed at school so bad that they had to go to court to get the harassment stopped)
- Pacific Blue (USA-1/4/1998) "Heartbeat"
- Profiler (NBC-3/21/1998) "Every Five Minutes"
- National Health Foundation Luminary
- Honorary National Chairman: Toys for Tots (1985)
- Honorary Member: California Highway Patrol
- Member: Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association