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'Starksy & Hutch' actor David Soul dies at 80

David Soul was best known for his role on "Starsky & Hutch," but he also had a long music and theater career.
'Starksy & Hutch' actor David Soul dies at 80
Posted at 6:11 PM, Jan 05, 2024

David Soul, half of TV's crime-fighting duo "Starsky & Hutch," has died at the age of 80. 

His wife of 13 years, Helen Snell, confirmed the news Friday, saying the "beloved husband, father, grandfather and brother" died Thursday "after a valiant battle for life in the loving company of family."

"He shared many extraordinary gifts in the world as actor, singer, storyteller, creative artist and dear friend," the statement, also shared to Soul's X page, said. "His smile, laughter and passion for life will be remembered by the many whose lives he has touched."

Though Soul's 1970s role has somewhat become a household name, the Chicago-born actor has said his detour into entertainment was purely accidental, coming after almost signing with the Chicago White Sox then changing course to follow his father's footsteps into diplomatic service.

After a start in theater, Soul headed to New York City in 1965 to become a singer, donning a mask over his face and performing as "The Covered Man" for months — including on "The Merv Griffin Show" — while studying acting.

He then spent nearly a decade appearing on various shows such as "Star Trek" and "Here Comes the Brides," while becoming deeply involved in the anti-war movement. 

Soul's role in Clint Eastwood's "Magnum Force" in 1973 was the breakthrough that caught the attention of a producer, which ultimately landed him the career-defining role as coolheaded Detective Ken "Hutch" Hutchinson in ABC's "Starsky & Hutch."

From 1975 to 1979, the blond actor was a fixture in America's living rooms alongside dark-haired Paul Michael Glaser, who played moody detective David Starsky. Together the pair cracked Southern California cases in their infamous red Ford Gran Torino, leading many fans to collect or customize action figures or real vehicles to match. 

During that time, Soul was able to return to his initial passion of music, with his debut album in 1976 and a No. 1 pop ballad, "Don't Give Up on Us," the following year. His next single "Silver Lady" hit No. 1 in the U.K.

He continued to work in TV, film and music for years, but in 1994, Soul left Los Angeles for Europe and its theater, eventually making London his physical and stage home while still working in other mediums.

A film adaptation of "Starsky & Hutch" was released in 2004 starring Owen Wilson as Hutch and Ben Stiller as Starsky, though the original duo also reprised their roles. In 2023, reports surfaced that the series was being rebooted with a female detective duo, also named Starsky and Hutch.

Soul seemed to point to the rumors in a post on X last year, pondering whether he and Glaser — whom he recently said "is and always will be my best friend, my brother" — should be in a reboot.

"Every article mentions the 'original' actors by name. So why not just reboot Paul and me — as a couple of old farts solving piddly-ass crimes at the assisted living facility where we would now live?" he said in the post. "Who can do Starsky and Hutch better than him and me?"


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