David Soul, ‘Starsky & Hutch’ star who was born in Chicago, dies at 80

Actor David Soul, right, known for his role of Hutch in the TV series "Starsky & Hutch," has died. At left is co-star Paul Michael Glaser, who portrayed Starsky.

David Soul, who starred as Sergeant Kenneth Richard “Hutch” Hutchinson in the TV series “Starsky & Hutch,” died Thursday, his wife announced on his website. 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,” she wrote. “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.”

David Soul performs during a curtain call for "Jerry Springer - The Opera" at the Cambridge Theatre in Covent Garden in central London on July 22, 2004.

In addition to “Starsky & Hutch,” Soul starred in the Western series “Here Come the Brides” and movies like “Magnum Force,” “Salem’s Lot” and more. He was also a singer and released several albums in the ’70s and ’80s, and the No. 1 single “Don’t Give Up on Us.”

Born in Chicago on Aug. 28, 1943, Soul started acting on stage in the ’60s and began pursuing his passion for music. In 1967, he sang on “The Merv Griffin Show,” receiving major attention, and landed his first TV role on “Flipper.” That led to signing a contract with Columbia Pictures and playing Joshua Bolt, a lumberjack and brother of lead character Jason Bolt (Roger Brown), on “Here Come the Brides.” The show ran from 1968 to 1970 and made Soul a major star.


In 1971, Soul made his film debut in “Johnny Got His Gun” and then appeared opposite Clint Eastwood in “Magnum Force” (1972), one of Eastwood’s Dirty Harry movies. After more guest roles, Soul landed the biggest role of his career on “Starsky & Hutch,” alongside Paul Michael Glaser as Sergeant David Michael Starsky. The two played Southern California police detectives, originally in a 1975 pilot movie and then in a weekly TV series that ran on ABC until 1979.

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Starsky and Hutch drove around in their iconic red-and-white-striped Ford Gran Torino and had a brotherly love, us-against-the-world attitude that was different than typical cop shows. The overly affectionate buddy cops became a staple of the ’70s and oftentimes the punchline to erotic jokes. Even Glaser later admitted that Starsky and Hutch had some “homoerotic elements.”

“I think it’s important to understand that yeah, there’s homoerotic elements,” he told Page Six in 2021. “I think the reality is David and I are for the most part — if you have to define oneself — as straight. But you have to be able to recognize there’s a part of all of us that is homoerotic.”

Amid rising concerns about TV violence, “Starsky & Hutch” toned down the blood and played up the social themes and friendship in Season 3. Ratings declined soon after, and Glaser often publicly discussed leaving the show, which finished its run with Season 4.

It wasn’t the last time fans would see the two cops, however. Director Todd Phillips made a prequel film, starring Ben Stiller as Starsky and Owen Wilson as Hutch, in 2004, with Soul and Glaser making cameo appearances.

Soul returned to his singing roots in the ‘70s with the popular songs “Don’t Give Up on Us” and “Silver Lady.” He released five studio albums and seven compilations during his career. He starred in the miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s “Salem’s Lot” in 1979. Soul played Ben Mears, a writer who returns to his small hometown of Salem’s Lot, Maine, only to discover it’s become infested by vampires.

In the ‘90s, Soul moved to the United Kingdom and began a career in West End theatre and British TV. He obtained citizenship in 2004, and his later credits included the films “Farewell” and “Filth” and shows like “Poirot,” “Dalziel and Pascoe” and “Lewis.”

Soul is survived by his wife Helen Snell and his six children.