David Soul, a Star of the Hit Cop Show ‘Starsky & Hutch,’ Dies at 80

In 1977, the year after releasing his debut album, he shot to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 with the lachrymose ballad “Don’t Give Up on Us.” Many years later, Owen Wilson, as Hutch, parodied the song in none-too-loving fashion in a 2004 feature-film comedy version of the show, which also starred Ben Stiller as Starsky and Snoop Dogg as Huggy Bear.

Mr. Soul, who often said that music was his priority over acting, released five albums in his career and notched four Top 10 hits in Britain in the 1970s, including “Don’t Give Up on Us,” which climbed to No. 1; “Silver Lady,” which also went to No. 1 although it reached only No. 52 in the United States; and “Going In With My Eyes Open” — No. 2 in Britain and No. 54 on the American chart.

He became enough of a singing sensation that, in reviewing a 1977 concert of his at Radio City Music Hall, Robert Palmer of The New York Times described “camera-wielding teenage girls charging the stage, the flicker of hundreds of exploding flash cubes and a continual squealing.”

Mr. Soul was born David Richard Solberg on Aug. 28, 1943, to Richard Solberg, a professor of political science and history as well as a theologian, and June (Nelson) Solberg, a teacher.

In David’s youth, the family lived in Cold War-era Berlin as well as in South Dakota. He aspired to be a diplomat or a minister before turning his sights on a show business career. In his late teens, he learned that his girlfriend, Mim, was pregnant; under parental pressure, they married.

Later, when he was 22, he found his wife another man, a friend of his, and left her and their young son, Christopher, to chase his dreams of stardom in New York.

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