Who Is David Hasselhoff?
In 1982, David Hasselhoff landed in prime time for one of the most recognizable roles of his career, that of Michael Knight on the hit show Knight Rider. The series was a huge success in the United States and overseas and made him one of the most recognizable actors on TV. In 1989, Hasselhoff returned to TV to produce and star in the series Baywatch, which became the most watched show in TV history.
Early Life and Career
David Michael Hasselhoff was born on July 17, 1952 in Baltimore, Maryland. As a child, Hasselhoff and his family moved frequently and the relatively shy youngster became interested in acting, singing and dancing. He attended the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Michigan and the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California. In 1973, he landed a regular role on the soap opera The Young and The Restless.
‘Night Rider’ and ‘Baywatch’
In 1982, Hasselhoff moved to prime time to star in Knight Rider. He played the character of Michael Knight, who fights all types of crimes and misdeeds with the help of a super car called KITT. Veteran actor William Daniels provided the voice for KITT. The series quickly became a huge success in the United States and overseas and made him one of the most recognizable actors on television. The acclaim helped Hasselhoff launch his music career, which has been particularly successful in Europe.
Knight Rider ended in 1986, but Hasselhoff wasn’t off the air for long. In 1989, he returned to television to produce and star in the series Baywatch. He played Mitch Buchannon, the leader of a group of lifeguards in California. The beachy adventure show had a rocky start, and it moved from network television to syndicated television after its first season. But it soon developed a following, especially overseas. In addition to Hasselhoff, Baywatch also featured Yasmine Bleeth, Carmen Electra and Pamela Anderson. The series ran until 2000 and launched two spinoff series, Baywatch Nights and Baywatch Hawaii, before being revived for the big screen in 2017.
In June 1989 Hasselhoff released his album Looking For Freedom. His single of the same name became a No. 1 hit in Germany, and he famously performed it on New Year’s Eve 1989 at the Berlin Wall.
Since the end of Baywatch, Hasselhoff has tackled a variety of projects. He made his debut on Broadway in Jekyll and Hyde in 2000, playing the title character. Since then, Hasselhoff has appeared in a number of different theatrical productions, including a run in The Producers in Las Vegas in 2007. It was during this time that his daughter Taylor created the now infamous video of a drunk Hasselhoff trying to eat a cheeseburger. Soon after the incident, Hasselhoff reportedly worked to get sober. He told People magazine that “Thanks to the tape, I realized this was a problem that I needed to deal with.”
‘America’s Got Talent’ to ‘Sharknado’
In 2006, Hasselhoff returned to the small screen as a judge on the summer competition series America’s Got Talent. He sat alongside Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne for four seasons before leaving in 2010. Hasselhoff was replaced by comedian Howie Mandel. With his daughters Taylor and Hayley, he branched out into reality television on The Hasselhoffs, a short-lived series in 2010. That same year, Hasselhoff showed off his fancy footwork as a contestant on Dancing With the Stars. He competed against the likes of Bristol Palin, Florence Henderson and Michael Bolton.
Hasselhoff continues to work in theater and television, often making cameos as himself in various productions. In 2012, he performed a show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and competed in an Australian version of The Celebrity Apprentice.
Hasselhoff later surfaced in the cult comedy-horror flicks Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! (2015) and Sharknado: The 4th Awakens (2016) as the father of Ian Ziering’s shark-fighting hero, before making an appearance in the 2017 Baywatch movie.
HISTORY’S Car Week Special
In the two-hour special Battle of the 80s Supercars with David Hasselhoff, Hasselhoff sets out to prove how the iconic 80’s KITT car inspired and revolutionized the car industry for years to come. From one of the fastest vehicles on the planet to an amphibious sports car, Hasselhoff will pull back the curtain, meet the mavericks and get behind the wheel of some of the wildest cars out there. The special will culminate with iconic vehicles and their drivers lining up for a one-of-a-kind race with Hasselhoff in the KITT car, Dirk Benedict in the A-Team Squad Van from “The A-Team” and Erik Estrada in the motorcycle from the police drama television series “ChiPs.” The special premieres on July 10, 2019 at 8/7c on HISTORY. Watch a preview:
Marriages and Children
Hasselhoff was first married to actress Catherine Hickland in the 1980s, but their union ended in divorce. In 1989 he married actress Pamela Bach, with whom he had daughters Taylor and Hayley. Hasselhoff filed for divorce from Bach in January 2006.
The actor later began dating model Hayley Roberts. After the two announced their engagement in the spring of 2016, they were married on July 31, 2018, in Italy.