May 19, 2024

Starsky & Hutch Star David Soul Dies at 80

Written by AiBot

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Jan 5, 2024

David Soul, the actor best known for playing Detective Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson on the hit 70s police drama Starsky & Hutch, has died at the age of 80. Soul passed away on January 3rd, 2023 at his home in London, England surrounded by family, according to his publicist. He had been suffering from undisclosed health issues in recent years.

Soul first rose to fame in the mid 70s starring alongside Paul Michael Glaser in the buddy cop series Starsky & Hutch. The show ran for four seasons on ABC from 1975-1979 and defined the decade with its streetwise detectives, memorable characters, catchy theme song, and Soul’s signature sandy blond hair. At the height of its popularity, Starsky & Hutch was ranked among television’s Top 10 series. Though only on air for a short time, its cultural impact was immense and can still be felt today through reruns and references in modern media.

Early Life and Pre-Starsky & Hutch Career

Born in Chicago in 1943, David Solomon embarked on an acting career after studying political science at Augustana College. He moved to New York City in the mid 60s to study at the prestigious Juilliard School. During this period, he began using the stage name David Soul and landed his first roles on Broadway.

In 1967, Soul originated the role of Peter in the first US production of the rock musical Hair. His soulful tenor voice caught the attention of music producers and led to a record deal. Though his early musical ventures were not hugely successful, he did have a minor hit with the song “Don’t Give Up On Us” in 1976 which spent a month at the top of the UK Singles Chart.

Prior to Starsky & Hutch, Soul took on guest appearances on numerous TV shows like I Dream of Jeannie, Ironside, All in the Family, and Cannon. His performance as the murderer in a 1973 episode of Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law convinced Starsky & Hutch executive producer Aaron Spelling that he would make a perfect counterpoint to Paul Michael Glaser’s streetwise Starsky. The rest became pop culture history.

Starsky & Hutch Legacy

“They were the first emotionally vulnerable cops on TV. They cared about each other too much to be cliché. And that’s why people fell in love with them.”

Over four seasons from 1975-1979, Starsky & Hutch drew an average 34% share of the US television audience and an ultimate viewership of over 90 million households per episode. Soul and Glaser had an undeniable chemistry that resonated with audiences. Unlike the stoic police officers prevalent on shows up until then, Starsky and Hutch wore their hearts on their sleeves and weren’t afraid to cry. This was pioneering for network TV of the era.

Most Memorable Aspects of Starsky & Hutch

  • Soul’s sandy blond “feathered” hairstyle, black leather jacket, and Ocean King 350 convertible
  • Huggy Bear (Antonio Fargas), the snitch who tipped off the duo
  • Fight scenes choreographed like an intense ballet
  • Lighthearted back-and-forth banter between Starsky & Hutch
  • “Dooba dooba doo ba!” – Hutch’s made up scat singing

The series also featured a sizzling funk and soul soundtrack produced by Tom Scott which captured the feel of 70s Bay City. Tracks like “Gotcha Where I Wantcha” and “I Can See Clearly Now” from the episode “The Game” became radio hits.

Starsky & Hutch helped redefine crime shows by portraying its leads as fiercely devoted best friends. They challenged each other, but at the end of the day, they would die for one another. Hutch was the logical one, while Starsky relied more on instinct. Together they were an unstoppable, quip-flinging force for justice.

So connected were Soul and Glaser that their friendship continued after the show’s end.

“I have to say that my relationship with Paul transcended everything that actors usually have as a relationship,” Soul told the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2000. “And that bonded us in a way that… by the end of four years, I can’t even begin to tell you the depth of our relationship as brothers.”

Later Career and Life

After Starsky & Hutch ended, Soul returned to TV movies and his first love – music. He continued putting out albums and moved to London in 1980 to further his singing career.

In 1986, Soul took on the starring role in the TV adaptation of Ken Follett’s bestselling historical family saga The Key to Rebecca. He won acclaim for his performance, but sadly this failed pilot did not get picked up to series.

Soul was married five times, most recently to Helen Snell. He is survived by Snell and several children from prior relationships.

Over the years, Starsky & Hutch has never left the public consciousness. It represents an iconic era in pop culture when buddy cop shows and detectives with big personalities like The Rockford Files, Hawaii Five-O, and Charlie’s Angels ruled the airwaves. Hutch’s nickname “Blintz” and catchphrase “I’m gonna hug ya and squeeze ya and hug ya” have become forever imprinted on viewers who grew up watching.

The show lives on through reruns and references in modern shows like Community, Robot Chicken, and Stranger Things. There was even a comedic film reboot in 2004 starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson as Starsky & Hutch themselves. And with Hulu recently obtaining rights to stream all 92 episodes, its nostalgic comfort food charm looks to continue finding new generations of fans.

David Soul was the epitome of 70s small screen cool as Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson. He was tough, but also brought nuance, humor, and likability to the role. As news of Soul’s passing spreads, many are remembering him as their first crush and the character that solidified their love of buddy cop stories.

“Starsky was the hotheaded brawler, I was the quintessential hippie idealist,” Soul described. “Together we were a complete person.”

Looking Ahead at David Soul’s Legacy

In the wake of Soul’s death, Starsky & Hutch fans globally are mourning the loss of someone that felt like everyone’s friend. Social media is flooding with vintage clips, fan art, and discussions of favorite moments.

Paul Michael Glaser, now 79, released a statement saying he has lost his “soul brother” and that a piece of his heart is missing. Fans eagerly await to hear if he has more to say about his late co-star and real life bestie.

Given the show’s lasting popularity, its inevitable that cable channels will be playing reruns on constant rotation in the coming weeks. Streaming services like Hulu may see a bump in new subscribers wishing to revisit or discover Starsky & Hutch for the first time.

As one of the few remaining key cast members still alive, Antonio Fargas (Huggy Bear) will likely make the talk show rounds. He’ll regale millennial and Gen Z hosts too young to remember the 70s sensation with his favorite tales of on-set antics. Expect colorful stories bringing Soul and Glaser’s brotherly bond to life.

Once the initial wave of shock and mourning passes, commemorations of Soul’s career will come. 2024 marks the 50th anniversary of Starsky & Hutch first hitting airwaves, so organized tributes seem timely.

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences will undoubtedly honor Soul in their “In Memoriam” montage at the next Emmy Awards. Fans strongly advocate for his Starsky & Hutch co-star Glaser to make an appearance. It would offer fitting closure to see “Huggy Bear” Fargas join Glaser on stage to recognize Soul’s contribution to TV history.

As for pop culture contributions, there is already chatter suggesting song remix tributes involving “Don’t Give Up On Us.” On TikTok, users duet with 70s footage of Soul’s singing performances. Others make revival cover songs in Soul’s honor. Some even call for a hologram tour featuring Soul singing his hits – similar to what has been done for late legends like Whitney Houston and Roy Orbison. Starsky & Hutch show clips will undoubtedly flood YouTube Recommended feeds and go viral with Gen Z audiences.

Merchandising executives are likely eyeing ways to capitalize on the wave of Starsky & Hutch nostalgia to come. There will surely be commemorative Blu-Ray box sets of the show released later this year. Limited edition apparel could appear, like graphic t-shirts featuring inside jokes that only true fans understand. The Ford Torino Harvest Gold Grand Torino like Starsky’s striped tomato will enjoy renewed interest. Don’t be surprised if miniature collectible versions fly off toy store shelves by Christmas 2024. Officials in Bay City, the fictional town featured in the show, may lobby for a commemorative statue of the partners.

While co-star Glaser has enjoyed later success directing TV shows and films, Soul’s Hollywood star dimmed over subsequent decades. Yet his death reminds the world of his niche in pop culture history. Starsky & Hutch offered many their introduction to interracial friendships, buddy comedy dynamics in police procedural, and using lightness to balance gritty storylines.

At the end of the day, Soul and Glaser’s on-screen chemistry as Starsky & Hutch is what cemented the show as a cultural treasure. They performed an unflinching brotherly bond many grew up wishing to emulate. It is this relationship – both on and off-screen – that David Soul leaves as his legacy.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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