Encore

Starsky and Hutch

Seventies TV-cops Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul have taken new paths with directing and singing

With tires squealing on the bright red Ford Torino, Starsky and Hutch hit prime time on Sept. 10, 1975. Just another couple of TV cops? Not quite. Though hatched from the formula factory of Aaron Spelling (The Mod Squad, Charlie's Angels) for ABC, the duo (Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul) reinvented the buddy-cop genre with sexy '70s looks and a fast, loose approach to cop-show conventions. Critics and consumer watchdogs weren't amused. ''They dress raffishly, drive too fast, and generally behave like a mini-Mod Squad,'' snorted TIME magazine, while groups like the PTA ranked the show among television's most violent. But viewers loved their act enough to keep them around for four seasons, until 1979.

When S&H ended, Glaser didn't stop getting work as an actor. He stopped looking. After cutting his directorial teeth on Starsky, he logically progressed to Miami Vice, in the mid-'80s, then moved on to making feature films, including The Running Man (1987) with Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Air Up There (1994), and Kazaam (1996).

Real life, however, has been a rockier road for Glaser, now 54. His wife Elizabeth contracted HIV through a 1981 transfusion, then unwittingly passed it on to their two children, Ariel and Jake. Ariel died in 1988, at age 7; Elizabeth died in 1994. Now he's remarried, to producer Tracy Barone (Rosewood), and expecting a baby in October.

Soul, meanwhile, has grown complete-ly disenchanted with Hollywood. ''I had to get out of L.A.,'' says the actor, 54. ''It was like being at a bad party.'' After Starsky and Hutch, he starred in three other series (1983's Casablanca and The Yellow Rose and 1989's Unsub), made nearly 20 TV movies, and did some directing (Miami Vice, China Beach). Since relocating to London in 1995, he's been dividing his time between the stage and music, with occasional films for the international market. Having started out in folk clubs in the early '60s, he's just seen the European release of his fifth album (and first since 1982), Leave a Light On.

Soul says he'd even come back for a Starsky and Hutch reunion, given a good script. ''I think it'd be cool. There's a real closure that could be done with these characters.'' But the sometime Starsky won't be there. ''I'm not one for going back. I'm about going forward,'' says Glaser. ''I love David. We had a great dance. But that's the past.''


September 10, 1975

Steven Spielberg's big fish story, Jaws (starring Richard Dreyfuss, right), finishes the summer as the undisputed box office champion, leaving such adult fare as Nashville in its wake and inaugurating the era of the summer blockbuster. By decade's end, grown-up movies would forever be banished to fall. In a luxe LOLLAPALOOZA, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Count Basie begin a two-week engagement at New York's Uris Theater, packing them in at a top ticket price of $40. CBS' indomitable All in the Family launches its fifth season as TV's most popular show. Amazingly, the sophisticated sitcom's No. 1 status had come despite four years in a time slot later considered to be fatal: Saturday nights at eight. AND IN THE REAL WORLD, teachers are on strike in New York City, prolonging summer vacation for some one million public school students. Kids will have three more days to frolic before the strike is settled on Sept. 15.

Originally posted Sep 05, 1997 Published in issue #395 Sep 05, 1997 Order article reprints