David Soul, “Beloved” Starsky And Hutch Actor, Dead at 80

David Soul, best known for playing detective Kenneth “Hutch” Hutchinson on TV’s Starsky & Hutch, died on Thursday. He was 80. His wife of 13 years, Helen Snell, shared the news in a statement with PEOPLE as she described Soul as a “beloved husband, father, grandfather and brother.” The actor “died yesterday after a valiant battle for life in the loving company of family,” Snell said.

“He shared many extraordinary gifts in the world as actor, singer, storyteller, creative artist and dear friend,” her statement continued.  “His smile, laughter and passion for life will be remembered by the many whose lives he has touched.”

The Chicago-born actor originally aspired to play baseball with the Chicago White Sox, and then changed course to study to be a diplomat, following in his father’s footsteps, and said his “detour into entertainment was purely accidental,” according to his official website.

He started out pursuing a singing career in New York City before moving to Los Angeles to begin his acting career. Prior to Starsky & Hutch, he made appearances in shows like Star Trek, Here Comes the Brides, All in the Family and Magnum Force, but his performance as Hutch starting in 1975 solidified his career.

The series aired for four years and saw Paul Michael Glaser as Hutch’s partner and fellow detective David Starsky. In November, Soul said Glaser, 80, “is and will always be my best friend, my brother,” in a post on X (formerly known as Twitter).

Following their run on the hit crime-stopping show, Soul spent years acting and directing various TV shows before moving to London, where he pursued a theater career and made several West End appearances, including in Bill Kenwright’s Catch Me If You Can.  In 2004, he and Glaser reprised their roles as Starsky and Hutch in 2004 in the film adaptation with Owen Wilson, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman and Snoop Dogg.

The actor had celebrated his 80th birthday in August, and commemorated the occasion with a statement on X thanking his fans for their well wishes — and for their charitable donations in his name.  Of the birthday, he said, “You made turning 80 something extraordinarily special. So here’s to my next 80 years. I hope you’ll stay along for the (bumpy) ride. You’re the best! Big kiss and much love!”

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