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Vince Van Patten, one of Hollywood Poker's
leading stars, has played in some of the biggest cash poker games and tournaments in the world. Nicknamed "King of the Hollywood Home Games",
Vince is host and commentator for the World Poker Tour, and associated with an online poker card room, Hollywood Poker. But his work as a poker impresario
is only one facet of a diverse career as an actor, producer, director and world-ranked tennis pro.
Born into an entertainment family, the youngest son of actor Dick Van Patten, Vince was first thrust into the spotlight at age nine at the behest of his
father's agent. A commercial for Colgate toothpaste was followed by more than 30 other commercials before Dick landed a role in the TV series, Arnie,
and moved his family from Long Island to Los Angeles.
There, Vince's career as a child actor blossomed. Through the 1970s he guest-starred in over three dozen classic TV series including Bonanza,
High Chaparral, Medical Center, Adam 12, The Courtship of Eddie's Father and a variety of telefilms. At age 16 he
landed a regular job in Apple's Way, a CBS series in which he played the son of an architect who leaves the big city to raise his family
in small-town Appleton, Iowa. Three years later Vince co-starred in The Bionic Boy, a two-hour ABC spinoff of the hugely popular Lee Majors
vehicle, The Six Million Dollar Man. Next came two very different roles: as a surfer bully in Gidget's Summer Reunion, and then, with
his brother James, as a jailed hillbilly brother in Dirty Dozen: The Deadly Mission, a television project shot in Yugoslavia with acting
legends Telly Savalas and Ernest Borgnine.
Van Patten’s success on television helped launch his big-screen career. At age 14, he co-starred with Kurt Russell, Cloris Leachman and Fred
MacMurray in the Disney comedy, Charlie and the Angel. Later, he played a cowboy opposite actor Charles Bronson in Chino, a football
jock in Rock'n'Roll High School, and a hockey player who falls in love with a French-Canadian girl in The Time Forever.
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But Vince's real-life sports passion was tennis: he was a natural competitor who invented his own methods and quickly progressed through the
junior tournament ranks in Los Angeles. In 1978 his game was so strong that he was offered the starring role in a Paramount film called Players;
the part ultimately went to someone else, but the disappointing incident spurred Vince to travel to England to take a shot at Wimbledon. "I spent
three months practicing on grass and never won a match!" recalls Van Patten. "On the last day of failing to qualify, players came to the venue
and started filming."
Stung by the episode but still determined to succeed, Vince returned home, kept practicing and competing, and within a year he was ranked among the
Top 30 professional players in the world. In 1979 he was awarded the Association of Tennis Professionals' Rookie of the Year award, beating out
Ivan Lendl for the honor. The pinnacle of his career came in 1981 when he beat the first, fourth and fifth-seeded players in the world -- Vitas
Gerulaitis, Jose Louis Clerk and John McEnroe -- to win the $300,000 Seiko World Super Tennis tournament in Tokyo.
In fact, in eight years of professional play, Van Patten bested every major player in the game -- including Ilie Nastase, Roscoe Tanner, Stan
Smith, Bob Lutz, Tom Okkor and John McEnroe -- before retiring in 1986. At his peak he was ranked 25th in the world. Tennis pundits agree that, were
it not for a sporadic back problem, Vince’s talent, ambition and dedication might one day have landed him in the top ten.
After putting down his racquet, Vince returned to the film world, and in 1995 he saw his first original feature film, The Break, distributed
theatrically by Trimark Pictures and released on home video by Vidmark. Produced by Vince and his brother James under the banner of their
production company, Autumn Winds Productions, The Break stars Vince as Nick Irons, a hard-drinking, burned-out tennis pro whose bookie, forgives
his gambling debts but forces him to coach his son, an awkward but promising 17- year-old who dreams of conquering the satellite tennis circuit. A three-star
review in the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel said the film had "more court action than the O.J. Simpson trial," and praised Vince's "fiery,
curiously persuasive performance."
Vince and James' most recent feature is The Flunky, which Vince wrote and directed. It stars Gena Lee Nolin, Farrah Fawcett, Dean
Stockwell and James Van Patten, and is a comedy about an insane rock star and his sidekick. It earned Vince the prestigious Best Director award at
the Port Hueneme International Film Festival in October 2000.
In 2001, Vince was in an ABC movie of the week entitled Battle of the Sexes, a dramatization of the memorable 1973 tennis match between Bobby
Riggs and Billie Jean King at the Houston Astrodome. The film stars Holly Hunter and Ron Silver. Vince played Bobby Rigg's sidekick, Lornie. For the
past few years Vince has also had a recurring role on The Young and the Restless as Christian Paige, the mysterious and unpredictable friend
of Ashley (portrayed by actress Eileen Davidson).
Vince co-wrote the book, The Picasso Flop.