‘Starsky & Hutch’ star David Soul dead at 80

Actor David Soul, best known for portraying Kenneth “Hutch” Hutchinson on the television series “Starsky & Hutch,” has died. He was 80.

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Soul’s wife, Helen Snell, said in a statement that he died Thursday “after a valiant battle for life in the company of family.”

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

Soul appeared in dozens of films and TV shows over the course of his five decades in entertainment. He released several albums in the 1970s and 1980s, including the No. 1 single “Don’t Give Up on Us” from 1976, Variety reported.

Born Aug. 28, 1943, in Chicago, Soul grew up in a religious family with his father serving as a Lutheran minister and a history professor, The Guardian reported.

“The atmosphere was strict when I was growing up but tempered by love,” he told the newspaper in 2012. “We were a very, very religious family – we weren’t fundamentalists, just very worshipful and gave credit to God for almost everything.”

As a child, he moved around a lot with his family, living in Berlin, Mexico City and, eventually, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, according to The Guardian.

It was in Mexico that Soul picked up an interest in music, which he brought back with him when he returned to the U.S., BBC News reported. He started his professional career as a folk singer before transitioning into acting.

He became a major star after appearing from 1968 to 1970 as Joshua Bolt on the Western “Here Comes the Brides,” according to Variety. One year after the show ended, he made his film debut in “Johnny Got His Gun.” In 1972, he got a break as an actor when he appeared as Officer John Davis in Clint Eastwood’s “Magnum Force,” BBC News reported. The role would lead to his eventual casting in “Starsky & Hutch.”

Soul is survived by his wife and six children, according to Variety.