David Soul, actor best known for his role in the TV series ‘Starsky & Hutch,’ dies at 80

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David Soul, an actor who rocketed to fame in the 1970s as the blond half of the TV crime-fighting duo “Starsky and Hutch” and went on to become a successful pop singer, has died.

He was 80.

“David Soul—beloved husband, father, grandfather and brother—died yesterday after a valiant battle for life in the loving company of family,” his family said in a statement released Friday. “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.”

Born David Richard Solberg on Aug. 28, 1943, in Chicago to a Lutheran minister and a teacher, he launched his acting career as a founding member of the Firehouse Theatre Company in Minneapolis.

From left, Paul Michael Glaser, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and David Soul, at the the U.K. premiere of the movie "Starsky And Hutch" in 2004.
From left, Paul Michael Glaser, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and David Soul, at the the British premiere of the movie “Starsky And Hutch” in 2004. Dave Hogan / Getty Images file

But Soul first gained national attention in 1967 when he appeared on “The Merv Griffin Show” as “The Covered Man,” a singer who performed while wearing a mask and looked more like a bank robber than a blues singer.

Still, that led him to his first television appearance on “Flipper,” a family-friendly show; “The Covered Man” would later become the title of his 2007 autobiography.

Soul’s big break came when he was cast as Detective Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson in “Starsky & Hutch” opposite Paul Michael Glaser, who played Detective Dave Starsky.

David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser in "Starsky and Hutch" in 1975.
The show turned Soul and Glaser into small-screen stars. ABC via Getty Images

The show, which ran from 1975 to 1979, became one of the most popular TV shows of all time and turned Soul and Glaser into small-screen stars.

But Soul also had a successful singing career, scoring a U.S. chart-topping hit in 1977 with “Don’t Give Up on Us.” His next single “Silver Lady,” was No. 1 in the United Kingdom.

For the next decade, he continued to work regularly on TV. But in the 1990s, he decamped for Britain where he launched a new career as a stage actor on the West End, which is London’s equivalent of Broadway.

Soul eventually made London his home, becoming a British citizen and a regular presence on British TV.

Married five times, according to various biographies, he fathered five sons and a daughter.

This is a developing story, please check back for updates.

First appeared on www.nbcnews.com

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