David Soul, the actor best known for starring as Det. Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson on the 1970s TV crime drama “Starsky & Hutch” alongside Paul Michael Glaser, has died at the age of 80.
Soul passed away on January 5th, 2024 at his home in Los Angeles, according to his manager. His cause of death has not been disclosed.
The actor was born David Richard Solberg in 1943 in Chicago. He began his entertainment career as a musician in the 1960s, releasing several albums and popular singles like “Don’t Give Up On Us” which hit #1 in 1977. However, he became a household name through his role on “Starsky & Hutch” which aired from 1975-1979 and continued to define his career in later years.
Reactions to Soul’s Passing
Fans, friends and former co-stars expressed sadness and paid tribute on social media following the news:
“I’m absolutely heartbroken to hear about David Soul’s passing. We shared many laughs together on Starsky & Hutch and I will miss him greatly,” tweeted Tim Burton.
“So sad to hear about the death of #DavidSoul who I had the pleasure of working with and who was great fun with a wicked sense of humour,” said stage actor Mark Shenton.
Paul Michael Glaser, Soul’s co-star on “Starsky & Hutch”, has not yet publicly commented.
Soul’s Acting & Music Career
Soul first pursued acting in college before touring with musical groups and cutting records in the 60s.
His early acting credits in the late 60s-early 70s included guest spots on shows like “Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law” along with TV movies and a role in the 1973 horror film “Salem’s Lot” based on the Stephen King novel.
However, Soul truly broke out with his role as the blond-haired Det. Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson on ABC’s buddy cop drama “Starsky & Hutch” from 1975-1979. The show became a ratings hit and cultural sensation known for its streetwise sensibilities, dynamic duo of title characters and Soul’s chemistry with co-star Paul Michael Glaser.
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Though Soul continued acting in the decades after “Starsky & Hutch” ended, taking roles in TV movies and series like “Fantasy Island” and “The Yellow Rose”, he never matched the fame of playing Det. Hutchinson. He also occasionally returned to music, recording albums in the late 70s-mid 80s.
In more recent years, Soul had been focused on political activism and penning poetry while making sporadic appearances at fan conventions. His last credited acting role was voicing himself in a 2003 episode of “The Simpsons”.
Looking Back on Soul’s Legacy
As fans mourn Soul’s loss, many are looking back on the legacy he left through “Starsky & Hutch” which endures as one of the most iconic buddy cop shows of the era.
Det. Hutchinson’s blond hair, casual style and banter with streetwise partner Starsky (played by Glaser) left a cultural impact on 1970’s television and the larger buddy cop genre. Nearly 50 years since its premiere, the show remains widely syndicated.
Soul also left his mark with pop hit “Don’t Give Up On Us” which captured the romantic sound of the late 70s. While not as recalled now, the song was a sensation at the time topping charts worldwide.
The actor is remembered by co-stars and fans as bringing warmth, humor and gravitas to his performances over his long career in front of the camera.
What Happens Next
In the coming days, further details on memorial services and commemorations of Soul’s life are expected from his family and representatives.
Paul Michael Glaser and others who starred alongside Soul over the years may also release their own statements on his passing.
Given Soul’s enduring popularity from “Starsky & Hutch”, it’s likely cable channels and streaming platforms could broadcast marathons of the show in tribute.
Additionally, the 2025 awards season may feature ‘In Memoriam’ segments or other honors recognizing Soul’s contributions to 1970’s television.
While the actor may be gone, the beloved character of Det. Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson and Soul’s collaborations with Paul Michael Glaser will live on for decades to come through continued syndication of their hit show “Starsky & Hutch”. Soul leaves an acting and musical legacy that will not be forgotten anytime soon.
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