David Soul will always be remembered as half of television's hip '70s cop duo Starsky & Hutch, but he actually started his professional career as a folksinger. Before the weekly series made him and co-star Paul Michael Glaser international stars, Soul opened shows for such notables as Frank Zappa, Jay & the Americans, Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels, the Byrds, and the Lovin' Spoonful. He picked up an interest in folk music about the same time that he played a guitar for the first time, while living in Mexico in 1962. Soul's father, a minister, moved his Midwestern family south of the border when he took a position as instructor to upcoming diplomats, and Soul opted to follow and attend the University of Mexico and the University of the Americas rather than accept an offer from the Chicago White Sox to play baseball. At school he studied political science. When he returned to the U.S., Minneapolis' Ten o'Clock Scholar gave him his first gig, where the blond singer belted out Mexican folk tunes.
Soul, whose real name is David Richard Solberg, was able to spread his wings musically after Starsky & Hutch's successful run and his songwriting talent became more widely known. Over a period of five years beginning in 1977, he put out four albums. His hit singles included "Don't Give up on Us, Baby." With a backing band, he toured North America, South America, Japan, and Great Britain.
As a young performer trying to get established, Soul spent some time in New York during the mid-'60s. His break came when he reinvented himself as a singer known only as the Covered Man. The William Morris Agency snapped him up and he began working the circuit of television talk and variety shows, including The Merv Griffin Show, where he sang and played his guitar while wearing a mask. The bookings dwindled, however, when Soul decided to lose the gimmicky mask and reveal himself. The mystery and the novelty were gone. Still, the television spots brought something good his way. Someone from Columbia Pictures had caught one of Soul's performances and offered him an audition in Hollywood, which led to a contract. In 1968 he won a role in Here Come the Brides. The lack of work following the revelation of the Covered Man's identity was not the only time Soul had to switch gears and forge ahead despite the odds, nor was it the worst. Soul's wife, Patty Sherman, leveled charges of abuse against him in 1983. The situation led to both personal turmoil and career woes. He has been wed four times and has six children. In addition to acting and singing, Soul has produced and directed. ~ Linda Seida