Remembering David Soul: A Multifaceted Talent and Icon of the 70s
David Soul, acclaimed for his portrayal of Detective Kenneth “Hutch” Hutchinson in the iconic Starsky & Hutch, bid farewell at the age of 80. Succumbing to life’s challenges, he departed on Thursday, surrounded by his cherished family, as revealed by his wife, Helen Snell.
Beyond the realm of acting, Soul’s legacy spans his roles as a singer, storyteller, and creative force. Helen fondly shared, “His smile, laughter, and passion for life will be remembered by the many whose lives he has touched.”
Starsky & Hutch, a crime-solving masterpiece that ran from 1975 to 1979, showcased Soul’s enduring talent alongside Paul Michael Glaser. In 2004, the duo revisited their iconic roles in a remake, with Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson joining the cast.
Ben Stiller, paying tribute, underscored Soul’s impact on 70s coolness by reposting a clip from the original series. “Defining 70’s cool. Rest in peace x,” he expressed.
Soul’s versatile career included roles in Here Come The Brides, Magnum Force, The Yellow Rose, and Salem’s Lot, drawing acknowledgment from acclaimed author Stephen King.
While Soul touched British television audiences through shows like Holby City, Little Britain, and Lewis, he declined the allure of reality TV, stating, “These days anybody is a celebrity and, frankly, there’s nothing to celebrate.”
Beyond the glitz, Soul’s life bore challenges, notably an incident in the 1980s resulting in arrest for an attack on his then-pregnant wife. Completing a probationary diversion program, he later addressed his regret and engaged in prison visits to discuss domestic violence.
David Soul’s departure marks the end of an era, leaving behind a legacy that extends far beyond the screen—an artist, a storyteller, and a man who grappled with life’s complexities.
Exploring Roots and Rhythms: David Soul’s Early Years
Born as David Solberg in Chicago on August 28, 1943, Soul’s childhood unfolded across the landscapes of South Dakota and post-Second World War Berlin. Dr. Richard Solberg, his father, a distinguished professor and ordained minister, steered the family to Berlin, where he served as a religious affairs adviser to the US high commission. Amidst the historical tapestry of Berlin, young David’s journey took shape, laying the foundation for a life that would transcend boundaries.
Harmony in Diversity: The Folk Singer Emerges
Before the spotlight of acting found him, Soul’s journey into the realm of performance commenced as a folk singer. He honed his musical skills in Mexico during his teenage years, where his father’s academic pursuits led them. Immersed in the vibrant culture, Soul befriended radical students who introduced him to the indigenous melodies of Mexico. This cultural odyssey sparked his passion for music, propelling him to success in Minneapolis with renditions of these soulful tunes.
The Masked Melody: The Covered Man’s Rise and Transition
Soul’s foray into entertainment took an intriguing turn as “The Covered Man.” Veiled in mystery, he captivated audiences with his masked persona, earning recognition from the prestigious William Morris Agency. The TV talk show circuit, including appearances on the Merv Griffin show, showcased his enigmatic allure. However, as the mask fell away to reveal the man behind, bookings dwindled, leading Soul to a pivotal crossroads where music paved the way for acting.
Versatility Unveiled: Soul’s Journey in Acting and Television
Transitioning into acting, Soul etched his mark across the 1960s and 1970s with roles in Star Trek, Here Come The Brides, Perry Mason, and Johnny Got His Gun. Each performance added layers to his versatile talent, setting the stage for the iconic roles and contributions that would define his future in the entertainment industry. David Soul’s early years, colored by diverse experiences and artistic pursuits, laid the groundwork for a legacy that extended far beyond the stages he graced.
Unveiling the Silver Screen: Soul’s Breakthrough in Magnum Force
Embarking on his acting journey, David Soul secured his breakthrough as Officer John Davis in Clint Eastwood’s gripping police drama, Magnum Force. This pivotal role, intricately woven into the narrative of Inspector Harold Callahan, became the stepping stone that propelled Soul into the iconic Detective Kenneth “Hutch” Hutchinson in Starsky & Hutch. The silver screen beckoned, and Soul answered with a charisma that etched his name into the annals of television history.
Harmony in Transition: A Musical Resurgence
Post the triumphant era of Starsky & Hutch, Soul orchestrated a melodious return to his roots. Venturing back into music, he serenaded the late 1970s with four albums of soul-stirring soft rock ballads. His musical odyssey bore fruits with UK chart-toppers like “Silver Lady” and “Don’t Give Up On Us,” captivating the hearts of devoted fans who craved not only his on-screen presence but also his soulful melodies. The stage was set for a musical spectacle that left indelible impressions.
Flashing Lights and Fading Fervor: The Aftermath of Stardom
A New York Times review from 1977 painted a vivid picture of Soul’s post-fame concert—a whirlwind of excitement with “camera-wielding teenage girls charging the stage.” Amidst exploding flashcubes and perpetual squeals, Soul’s popularity soared. However, the fervor faced an abrupt halt after his arrest and subsequent rehabilitation. This transformative period saw Soul recording just one more album, the introspective and self-released “Leave a Light On” in 1997.
Romance Amidst the Spotlight: Soul’s Marital Odyssey
David Soul’s personal life mirrored the complexities of his professional journey. Married five times, his unions included actresses Sherman, Mirriam Solberg, Karen Carlson, and Julia Nickson. Amidst the highs and lows, he found his “soulmate” in Helen Snell, whom he met during their collaboration in Deathtrap. She not only became a pillar of support but added a profound chapter to Soul’s narrative of love and connection.
Legacy Beyond the Screen: A Farewell to an Icon
As the curtains fall on David Soul’s vibrant and multifaceted life, his legacy remains imprinted in the hearts of those who witnessed his journey. From the gritty streets of Magnum Force to the melodious echoes of “Silver Lady,” Soul’s imprint transcends the boundaries of time, leaving an indelible mark on the realms of both acting and music.