David Soul, the actor best known for playing Detective Kenneth “Hutch” Hutchinson on the beloved ’70s cop show Starsky & Hutch, died on Thursday. He was 80 years old.
“David Soul—beloved husband, father, grandfather and brother—died yesterday after a valiant battle for life in the loving company of family,” his wife Helen Snell confirmed in a statement. “He shared many extraordinary gifts in the world as actor, singer, storyteller, creative artist and dear friend. His smile, laughter and passion for life will be remembered by the many whose lives he has touched.”
Soul was born in Chicago in 1943 and began his career on stage, often performing songs in his persona as “The Covered Man”; he appeared in his mask multiple times on The Merv Griffin Show (per The Hollywood Reporter). After landing a contract with Columbia Pictures he began working in television, eventually landing the role of Joshua Bolt on the comedy Here Come The Brides. After working steadily through the late ’60s and early ’70s, he was cast by Clint Eastwood in the film Magnum Force (per Deadline).
In 1975, he was cast as Kenneth Hutchinson in Starsky & Hutch, which would become the defining role of his career. Playing oppositeas Sergeant David Michael Starsky, Soul also had the opportunity to direct several episodes over the course of the series’ four seasons. (They would later appear together in a cameo in the 2004 Starsky & Hutch film starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson.)
Around this time Soul also re-focused on his musical ambitions, scoring a number-one hit on the Hot 100 with his song “Don’t Give Up On Us” as well as a handful of singles on the U.K. charts. After Starsky & Hutch concluded in 1979, he continued to appear regularly on television, with roles in Salem’s Lot, Casablanca, and The Yellow Rose, among others. In the ’80s, he faced legal trouble after being accused of abuse by his third wife, Patti Carnel Sherman (something the couple opened up about in a People cover story in 1983); he was ordered by a judge to attend therapy and counseling for alcoholism. Later in life, he attained British citizenship and appeared on British series like Poirot and Lewis, in addition to starring in the West End production of Jerry Springer—The Opera.