David Hasselhoff (b. July 17, 1952), US actor

Born in Baltimore, MD, Hasselhoff first came to prominence by becoming a popular leading man on daytime TV, playing Dr. Bill “Snapper” Foster on The Young and the Restless from 1975 to 1982.

Thanks to the coaxing of NBC executive Brandon Tartikoff, Hasselhoff went prime time with the drama Knight Rider. He played Michael Knight, who drove around stopping nefarious criminals with the help of a talking black Trans Am named KITT. The show ran four seasons until cancellation in 1986, but a combination of syndication and nostalgia make it still popular today. Despite this, everyone thought Hasselhoff would go the way of Erik Estrada and fade away into B-movie obscurity. Hasselhoff starred in a number of bad movies over the years, most of them TV movies and none of them bear more than three stars from allmovie.com.

But unfortunately Hasselhoff refused to fade away and reinvented himself as a pop singer. In the US, as a musician he’s a joke, but he somehow managed to develop a rabid fan base in Europe. Hasselhoff, a fluent speaker of German, is especially popular in Germany. Germans love David Hasselhoff. He actually began his recording career while Knight Rider was still on the air, with the 1984 album Night Rider. (Get it? “Night Rider”?) But he didn’t become a Europop star until 1989 with the album Looking for Freedom. The immensely popular title track became an anthem for the German people, or at least that’s what his website claims. The highlight of his pop career was no doubt his New Year’s Eve 1989 concert at the Berlin Wall, which drew 500,000 spectators. Germans love David Hasselhoff.

In 1989, Hasselhoff starred in another NBC prime time drama, Baywatch, as Lt. Mitch Buchanan, head of a squad of Los Angeles lifeguards. In this incarnation, Baywatch was bland, dull, sexless, boring, much like it is now, but it had much less cleveage and was quickly cancelled after only one season. But never underestimate the power of breasts. Hasselhoff and his partners brought the show back to life in 1991 as a syndicated drama, and now it is probably the most watched show in the world. God help us all.

In 2000, Hasselhoff invaded Broadway, starring in the title roles in Jekyll & Hyde. Soon he plans to release an album which will feature him singing in Spanish for the first time. Eep! He’s married to actress Pamela Bach and they have two daughters. And he once saved the life of a drowning child, which just goes to show you that at least he did something good once.

Sources: allmovie.com, allmusic.com, davidhasselhoff.com

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