Miami Vice had only been on the air for a few months when show creator Michael Mann heard Glenn Frey’s song “Smuggler’s Blues” on the radio. The tune, like the show, dealt with the seedy world of drug smuggling in Florida; Mann quickly commissioned an episode with the same title. Writer Miguel Piñero worked lines from the song straight into the dialogue, and Frey himself was cast as Jimmy Cole, a pilot who helps Crockett and Tubbs track their man into Colombia.
Frey never appeared on the program again, but months later he wrote “You Belong To The City” specifically for the show. It became the biggest hit of his solo career, peaking at #2 on the Hot 100. In a 1986 interview with Interview Magazine, Frey explained why acting appealed to him. “How long am I going to be able to go out onstage and play rock ‘n’ roll and look young and vibrant?” he said. “Acting is something I can do until the day I die. Instead of my life consisting of going out on the road, going home, resting up, writing songs, rehearsing, recording albums and going back on the road, I have acting projects. This way my life is a lot more interesting.”
Four years after Miami Vice, Glenn Frey had a seven-episode run on the show mob show Wiseguy. He was cast as the lead on the 1993 CBS detective show South of Sunset, but it was cancelled after just a single episode. The next year the Eagles reformed and Frey’s acting career took a backseat, though he did have a memorable role in Jerry Maguire as baseball manager Dennis Wilburn. His last credit was an episode of Arli$$ in 2002.