Why Did Ernest Borgnine Leave Airwolf?

Airwolf was one of the most popular shows in the 1980s. It starred Jan-Michael Vincent as Stringfellow Hawke, a loner who lived in seclusion in the California mountains with his helicopter, Airwolf. The show was action-packed and full of suspense.

One of the reasons it was so successful was because of the great chemistry between Vincent and Ernest Borgnine, who played Hawke’s friend and mentor, Dominic Santini.

Why did Borgnine leave Airwolf?

According to interviews, Borgnine wasn’t happy with the direction the show was going.

He felt that it had become too dark and violent and that his character was being sidelined. He also didn’t like working with some of the new cast members who had joined the show in its third season. Whatever his reasons, Borgnine’s departure was a big blow to Airwolf fans.

Ernest Borgnine’s departure from Airwolf came as a surprise to many fans of the show. The actor had been with the series since its inception, and his character, Stringfellow Hawke, was a integral part of the show. So why did Borgnine leave?

According to interviews, Borgnine felt that he had done all he could with the character of Hawke. He wanted to move on to other projects and challenge himself with different roles. Additionally, the actor was reportedly unhappy with the direction that Airwolf was taking in its third season.

He felt that it had strayed too far from its original premise and was becoming too campy. Whatever the reasons for his departure, Ernest Borgnine will always be remembered for his portrayal of Stringfellow Hawke on Airwolf. He helped make the show what it was and will always be cherished by fans.

Why Did the Original Cast Leave Airwolf?

When Airwolf first hit the airwaves in 1984, it was an instant hit. The high-octane action series about a rogue helicopter and its renegade crew quickly became one of the most popular shows on television. But behind the scenes, there was turmoil.

The original cast left Airwolf after just one season, and the show would never be the same again. So what happened? Why did such a successful show lose its entire cast?

And can Airwolf ever be truly great again? The answer lies in creative differences. When Airwolf first started production, creator Donald P. Bellisario intended it to be a very different show than what it eventually became.

He envisioned a darker, more serious series about international espionage and Cold War intrigue. But when test audiences reacted poorly to early footage of the show, Bellisario was forced to make some major changes. He toned down the violence and made the characters more likable.

In short, he turned Airwolf into an action-adventure series instead of the hard-hitting drama he originally wanted it to be. For actor Jan-Michael Vincent, who played Stringfellow Hawke on the show, this change in direction was a dealbreaker. He felt that Bellisario had betrayed his vision for the series and decided to leave at the end of Season 1.

The rest of the cast soon followed suit, as they didn’t want to continue on without Vincent. This mass exodus left Airwolf without its key players and sent production into disarray. The second season featured a completely new cast (with Ernest Borgnine taking over as Hawke) and a shift in focus from international intrigue to lighthearted adventures around America’s national parks (?!).

What Happened to Dominic Santini in Airwolf?

Dominic Santini, played by Ernest Borgnine, was the original owner and operator of Airwolf in the 1980s television series. He was a widower with a young son, Stringfellow Hawke. After Hawke’s wife and child were killed in a car accident, Santini took him in and raised him as his own.

Santini was a Vietnam War veteran and had served as a helicopter pilot during the conflict. He was also an accomplished mechanic and kept Airwolf in top condition. In the first season of the show, Santini is kidnapped by enemy agents who want to use Airwolf to carry out their evil plans.

Hawke rescues him and they defeat the bad guys together. In later seasons, Santini remains an important part of the team, using his skills to keep Airwolf flying and to helpHawke on missions. Sadly, Borgnine passed away in 2012 at the age of 95.

His character was not written out of the show but it was implied that he had died off camera sometime between seasons three and four. This left Hawke without his father figure and best friend but it ensured that Borgnine’s amazing legacy lived on through Airwolf.


Ernest Borgnine’s departure from Airwolf was a turning point for the show. The actor, who played Stringfellow Hawke on the series, left after the third season due to creative differences with the show’s producers. His departure brought about changes in the show’s cast and crew, as well as its setting and tone.

While Airwolf continued to be popular with viewers, it was never quite the same without Borgnine.

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