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HomeUncategorizedSioux Falls native David Soul from 'Starsky and Hutch' fame has passed...

Sioux Falls native David Soul from ‘Starsky and Hutch’ fame has passed away – Sioux Falls Live

Editor’s Note: In November of 2018, Forum columnist Curt Eriksmoen wrote a two-part series on David Soul. The subsequent story includes content from those pieces in addition to the latest details about Soul’s demise.

David Soul, renowned for his portrayal of Kenneth “Hutch” Hutchison on ABC’s “Starsky and Hutch” from 1975 to 1979, has passed at the age of 80. Although he achieved the pinnacle of his popularity as a TV cop in the 1970s, individuals in North Dakota initially recognized him as an attractive blonde blue-eyed cowboy vocalist in the Medora Musical.

His spouse Helen Snell announced his passing from their residence in London.

“David Soul – cherished spouse, father, grandfather, and brother – passed away yesterday following a courageous struggle for life in the affectionate companionship of the family. He presented numerous exceptional talents in the world as an actor, vocalist, narrator, creative artist, and cherished acquaintance. His smile, laughter, and zest for life will be remembered by the many individuals whose lives he has impacted.”

Soul obtained a wealth of experience while maturing in South Dakota, attending school in Minnesota, and performing in North Dakota.

David Soul was born David Richard Solberg on August 28, 1943, in Chicago, to June (Nelson) and Richard Solberg. A distinguished Lutheran intellectual, educator, and cleric, Richard relocated his family to Sioux Falls in 1945, where he was engaged as a history and political science instructor at Augustana College. Due to the conclusion of World War II, Richard also served as the religious affairs adviser for the U.S. Military Government and the U.S. High Commission in Germany, and during the summers, the whole Solberg family frequently accompanied him there.

In Sioux Falls, David became involved in educational and ecclesiastical activities, and he swiftly exhibited proficiency in music, acting, and athletics. While in the fourth grade, his portrayal as a leprechaun garnered acclaim in the local newspaper. One of the individuals who noted David’s acting aptitude was Earl Mundt, the theater director at Augustana College.

Did this youthful high school senior truly evolve into a charismatic ’70s TV law officer?

David Soul was born David Solberg. This is his senior photo from Sioux Falls’ Washington High School yearbook in 1961.

Washington High School Yearbook/1961/via e-yearbook

Mundt originated from Epping, North Dakota, and instructed music and theater in Steele and Grafton before assuming the directing responsibilities at Augustana. He also directed the local theater productions in Sioux Falls, and in 1952, when David was 9 years old, he persuaded the young boy to depict the role of Morten Stockmen in the Heinrik Ibsen play “An Enemy of the People.”

From 1953 to 1956, Richard Solberg served as the senior representative for the Lutheran World Federation to supervise refugee relief operations in West Berlin, leading to the family relocating to West Germany, where David made a concerted effort to learn the German language.

In 1956, the Solbergs returned to Sioux Falls. David frequently vocalized and played the piano at school and ecclesiastical events. He was highly popular at Washington High School, serving on the student council, hosting school talent shows, and performing in school plays.

dave solberg the enchanted with girls.JPG

David Solberg is seen performing in “The Enchanted” at Washington High School in Sioux Falls in 1961. Solberg became David Soul of “Starsky and Hutch” fame.

Washington High School Yearbook/1961/via e-yearbook

He also scribed about sports for the yearbook, held the position of president of the journalism club, and served as the treasurer of the German club. David also belonged to the high school track team and the American Legion baseball team.

It was conveyed that he was such a proficient ballplayer that he received an offer for a professional baseball contract with the Chicago White Sox organization. Following his high school commencement in 1961, David enrolled at Augustana and frequently featured in plays directed by Earl Mundt. He became extensively engrossed in the Lutheran campus church and, in 1962, was elected as the president of the South Dakota Luther League.

Following two years of university, David resolved to accompany his family to Mexico City, where his father had assumed a professorship at the University of the Americas, an institution primarily focused on educating students to pursue careers as diplomats. David expeditiously mastered Spanish and enrolled at the university. He also acquired proficiency in playing the guitar and commenced performing selected popular Mexican folk melodies at intimate gatherings.

After a year in Mexico City, David hitchhiked back to the U.S. and enrolled at the University of Minnesota, pursuing majors in history and political science. In order to cover his educational expenditures, he secured a part-time position singing and playing guitar at the 10 O’Clock Scholar coffee house situated on the university campus.

Owing to his demonstrated talent in music and his interest in history and politics, David became captivated upon learning that Bismarck entrepreneur Harold Schafer was sponsoring an extended summer production, “Teddy Roosevelt Rides Again: A Medora Musical,” to be staged in an outdoor amphitheater. David auditioned for and secured a role as one of “The Medora Kids” (now The Burning Hills Singers) in the inaugural Medora Musical.

Fred Smith of Hal Sheehan Inc., the original producer of the show, informed Curt Eriksmoen in 2004, the young David Soul “was a good vocalist, he played the guitar skillfully; he was no slouch.”


David Soul (Solberg) performing at the “Medora Musical” in the summer of 1965.

Special to The Forum

Smith also recollects the future luminary as one of the cast’s more playful members.

One day, Smith received a disconcerting call from Harold Schafer, who launched the show. Schafer apprised the producer that David and a female cast member were out at 3 a.m. in Medora, making a commotion and flinging mud at each other.

“During those times, the roads were unpaved,” Smith reminisces. “I suppose it rained and they were joyfully flinging mud at each other.”

However, it wasn’t solely recreation. David was striving to establish a legitimate career in the entertainment industry. A New York agent was pursuing him for other opportunities and urged him to depart from the show prematurely.

Smith conversedHe convinced him to take a step back from it, but following the closure of the show, the performer made his way to New York in pursuit of greater opportunities, he mentions.

Triumph in New York and Hollywood

Prior to his departure for New York, David Solberg was aware that he required a memorable alias and an original angle to make himself marketable. He shortened his surname to Soul and adopted a mask, labeling himself as “the concealed gentleman.”

Soul then submitted a photograph of himself along with a demonstration tape to the William Morris Agency and was recruited “without being seen.” The agency arranged for Soul to appear on “The Merv Griffin Show,” and his debut was a hit. He graced the stage in his attire and declared, “My name is David Soul, and I aspire to be acknowledged for my musical talent,” following which he crooned a song or two.

Subsequently, during the latter half of 1965 and the start of 1966, Soul became a recurring guest on the show.


David Soul as “the covered man.”

Special to The Forum

Having received acting instruction from actresses Irene Dailey and Uta Hagen, he made appearances in the television series “Flipper,” “I Dream of Jeannie,” and “Star Trek,” subsequently landing a co-starring role in the film “The Secret Sharer,” scripted by Joseph Conrad.

In 1968, Soul attained recognition and a degree of financial stability by assuming a co-starring role in the ABC television program “Here Come the Brides.” This series revolved around the escapades of three siblings employed at a logging camp in post-Civil War Seattle who were presented with marriageable, unattached women.

However, Soul’s most significant achievement materialized in 1975 when he was chosen to enact the character Kenneth “Hutch” Hutchison in ABC’s police drama “Starsky and Hutch.”

Hutch, as depicted by Soul, was described by the production company as a “fair-haired Duluth, Minnesota native with a more restrained and intellectual demeanor” compared to his colleague David Starsky, a astute native of Brooklyn (portrayed by actor Paul Michael Glaser).

The series, described by the Internet Movie Database as a program featuring “two savvy officers apprehending wrongdoers in their red-and-white Ford Gran Torino, with the aid of police informant Huggy Bear,” gained significant popularity, resulting in a range of children’s playthings.

Soul’s prominence as Hutch led to a music contract and eventually, a chart-topping hit in 1976 titled “Don’t Give Up on Us.”

Following the conclusion of “Starsky and Hutch” in 1979, Soul continued to pursue acting, including a portrayal of Roy Chapman in the TV series “The Yellow Rose” in 1984.

In addition to his acting, Soul also ventured into directing and producing various projects, and he devoted much of his attention to advocating social and environmental causes. In 1995, he received an invitation to the United Kingdom to perform in the play “Catch Me If You Can,” and he eventually made London his new place of residence. In 2004, he became a citizen of the United Kingdom.

Soul had amassed a considerable following for his endeavors in the U.S., but in the U.K. and the rest of Europe, he was hailed as a megastar, with even members of the royal family counted among his admirers.

David Soul was reintroduced to a new generation of admirers when he and Glaser made cameo appearances in the 2004 film remake of “Starsky and Hutch” featuring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson.

Nonetheless, there were tumultuous periods. Soul was married on five occasions. Problems concerning alcohol and violence were cited as factors in these unions. Soul openly acknowledged grappling with anger management problems stemming from feelings of “hurt and being misunderstood,” and through sustained effort, he claimed to have become significantly more cautious and less desperate.

He had been in a relationship with Snell since 2002.

Soul is survived by five sons and a daughter.

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