Actor-singer David Soul, a 1970s heartthrob who co-starred as the blond half of the crime-fighting duo “Starsky & Hutch” and topped the music charts with the ballad “Don't Give Up on Us," has died at the age of 80.
His wife, Helen Snell, said Friday that “David Soul—beloved husband, father, grandfather and brother—died yesterday 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," Snell said in a statement. “His smile, laughter and passion for life will be remembered by the many whose lives he has touched.”
Born David Solberg, Soul was a Chicago native whose acting career dated back to the 1960s, when he joined the avant-garde Firehouse Theater in Minnesota. He continued to appear on stage and screen well into the 20th century, but he was best known for his work in the 1970s.
Soul portrayed detective Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson alongside dark-haired Paul Michael Glaser as detective David Starsky in “Starsky & Hutch, which ran on ABC from 1975 to 1979 and grew so popular it spawned a line of children's toys.
He also had success as a singer, starting in 1976 with “Don’t Give Up on Us" and following with such hits as “Going in With My Eyes Open” and “Silver Lady.”
Soul first gained national fame in the 1960s appearing on "The Merv Griffin Show” as “The Covered Man,” a singer disguised in a stocking cap who shouted out lyrics such as “That is why I hide my face, because a man has to be free.”
His other TV credits included early appearances on “Star Trek,” “All in the Family” and “”I Dream of Jeannie," the miniseries “Salem's Lot” and a short-lived version of the film classic “Casablanca,” in which Soul took on Humphrey Bogart's role as nightclub owner Rick Blaine.
Soul's movies included “Magnum Force,” “The Hanoi Hilton” and a cameo with Glaser in the 2004 big-screen remake of “Starsky & Hutch,” starring Ben Stiller as Starsky and Owen Wilson as Hutch.
By the 1990s, Soul had moved to Britain, where he performed several stage roles. In 2001, he won a libel case against a journalist who called “The Dead Monkey,” a play that Soul was in, the worst production he had ever seen - without having seen it. He also played the titular talk-show host in “Jerry Springer—The Opera" in London's West End.