Born: July 17, 1952
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
David Michael Hasselhoff (born July 17, 1952), nicknamed "The Hoff", is an American actor, singer, producer, and businessman, who set a Guinness World Record as the most watched man on TV. He first gained recognition on The Young and The Restless, playing Dr. Snapper Foster. His career continued with his leading role as Michael Knight on Knight Rider and as L.A. County Lifeguard Mitch Buchannon in the series Baywatch. Hasselhoff produced Baywatch from the 1990s until 2001 when the series ended with Baywatch Hawaii. On screen, he appeared in films including Click, Dodgeball, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, and Hop.
In 2000, he made his Broadway debut in the musical Jekyll & Hyde. Following his debut, he starred in other musicals including Chicago and The Producers.
Hasselhoff was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Dolores Therese (née Mullinex/Mullinix; died February 11, 2009), a homemaker, and Joseph Vincent Hasselhoff, a business executive. His family is Roman Catholic, of German, Irish and English descent. His great-great-grandmother, Meta, emigrated with her family to Baltimore from Völkersen, Germany, 30 kilometres (19 mi) from Bremen, in 1865.
He spent his pre-teen years in Jacksonville, Florida, and later lived in Atlanta, Georgia, where he attended Marist High School. Hasselhoff made his theatrical debut at age seven in Peter Pan, and ever since his childhood dream was to have a career on Broadway. He graduated from Lyons Township High School in La Grange, Illinois in 1970. He was a member of the speech team, senior discussion leaders, president of the choir, captain of the volleyball team and held roles in several plays (including one lead role as Matt in The Fantasticks). He studied at Oakland University before graduating with a degree in theater at the California Institute of the Arts.
Hasselhoff portrayed Dr. "Snapper Foster" on The Young and the Restless from 1975-82, leaving the series as the show wrote out many of their original characters. In 1979, he played "Simon" in Starcrash. He launched his singing career with guest appearances on the first season of children's program Kids Incorporated, performing "Do You Love Me". He guest starred on two episodes of Diff'rent Strokes and the soap opera Santa Barbara as himself in 1984.
Hasselhoff was recruited by then NBC President Brandon Tartikoff to star in the science-fiction series Knight Rider from 1982 to 1986 as Michael Knight. He has described Knight Rider as more than a TV show: "It's a phenomenon. It's bigger than Baywatch ever was." On the success of Knight Rider - "It's because it was about saving lives, not taking lives, and it was how one man really can make a difference. And we had a blast making it, and we made sure nobody died on the show; we made sure nobody ever drowned on Baywatch". (However, characters did die in a few episodes, including "Knight Of The Phoenix" (the two-hour pilot episode), "Nobody Does It Better" and "Short Notice".)
He describes the acting he has done as "a little more difficult than if you had a regularly well-written script - like, if I was going to be in, say, Reservoir Dogs, or The Godfather, or Dances with Wolves or Lawrence of Arabia or ER, I had to talk to a car." His role in the show led him to a People's Choice Award for 'Most Popular Actor'. Now, over 33 years later, the show is still playing throughout the world.
While his star status waxed and waned in the USA, his popularity endured longer in Germany. In 1989, David trained with Patsy Swayze at Debbie Reynolds' Studio in North Hollywood for the Austrian segment of his Knight Rider tour.
Hasselhoff returned to television on Baywatch which premiered in 1989. Although it was canceled after only one season, he believed the series had potential, so Hasselhoff revived it for the first-run syndication market in 1991, investing his own money and additionally functioning as executive producer. His contract stipulated royalties to be paid to him from the rerun profits, which gave him the financial liberty to buy back the rights to Baywatch from NBC.
In its second incarnation, Baywatch was much more successful. It ran for a total of 11 years and, from the 1990s until its series finale in 2001, was watched by almost 1 billion viewers across 140 countries, solidifying his status among the world's foremost television personalities of the said period. This success combined with his royalties and his other ventures have placed Hasselhoff's fortune at more than $100 million.
In 1991, Hasselhoff reprised his role as Michael Knight in the television film Knight Rider 2000 as a sequel to the original series. The movie served as a pilot for a proposed new series, but despite high ratings, the plan was abandoned.
In 1996, Hasselhoff was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1997, he performed a duet with Filipino singer Regine Velasquez, which was used as the main theme for his 1998 movie Legacy. He made his Broadway debut in 2000 in the title role of Jekyll & Hyde. In August 2001, he hosted an event at the Conga Room, in Los Angeles honoring the Latin rock band Renegade for record sales in excess of 30 million units worldwide, taking the stage with the Latin rockers and singing in Spanish. Beginning on July 16, 2004, he played the lead role in London performances of Chicago for three months.
Hasselhoff has made several self-parodic appearances in movies. He had a major role in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, released November 19, 2004, starring as himself (though resembling his bygone Baywatch character) and meeting SpongeBob and Patrick (his full name is heard once in the movie; he is referred to as "Hasselhoff"). Hasselhoff also had another short appearance in the movie DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story as the dodgeball coach to the German national dodgeball team, Team Hasselhoff. Berating his team after being eliminated from a tournament, he shouts "Ihr seid alle Schweine!" (translated: "You are all pigs!", a common German insult) and smashes a photo of himself in his Baywatch attire. In 2004's EuroTrip, Hasselhoff appears in a washroom. In the 2006 Adam Sandler film Click Hasselhoff portrays Sandler's despicable boss. Hasselhoff also appears in an episode of Wildboyz. In 2007, he again played himself in the Jamie Kennedy comedy Kickin' It Old Skool.
In his music video for "Jump in My Car", he engages in self-parody; this time parodying his performance as Michael Knight in Knight Rider. The car in the video was a black Pontiac Trans Am with a pulsing LED and an interior nearly identical to that of the KITT car in the series. The video was shot in Sydney, Australia using a right-hand drive KITT replica, including KITT's ejection seat system.
In November 2006, Mel Brooks announced Hasselhoff would portray Roger DeBris, the director of the Nazi musical Springtime for Hitler, in the Las Vegas production of The Producers.
In 2006, Hasselhoff became a co-judge on NBC's America's Got Talent, a show that showcases America's best amateur entertainers. He also judged in the second, third and fourth seasons alongside Sharon Osbourne and Piers Morgan. On the 2007 season finale, Hasselhoff sang "This is the Moment." He was replaced by comedian Howie Mandel for season five.
Hasselhoff produced Baywatch for first run syndication. He has spoken at both the Oxford and Cambridge Student Unions.
He was a celebrity cast member on the eleventh season of Dancing with the Stars which increased in ratings by 36% from the previous year and served as a judge on NBC's America's Got Talent from 2006-09. In 2011, he joined the Britain's Got Talent judging panel, replacing Simon Cowell.
Hasselhoff was later honored on Comedy Central's The Comedy Central Roast of David Hasselhoff in addition to receiving the International Star of the Year Award for Outstanding Contribution to Global Entertainment by the Bollywood Awards. He was awarded the Comeback Star of the Year award during the VH1 Big in '06 Awards.
In 2008, Hasselhoff was a featured guest in a Volkswagen commercial, where he talked about the company selling more cars in Europe and the rest of the world than any other brand. In response, the black Beetle commented that Hasselhoff is "not so big" in Brazil. In late October of that same year, Hasselhoff played a bit part in the EA real time strategy video game Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 as vice president of the United States, while starring in its promotional microsite, conquerthislife.com, which featured several tongue-in-cheek videos as well as a Hasselhoff soundboard.
In February 2008, towards the end of the Knight Rider 2008, he reprised his career-making role as Michael Knight as he walked on to introduce himself to his on-screen son, Mike Traceur. On November 12, 2008, he became the first celebrity downloadable character for the PlayStation Network's video game Pain.
In September 2009, he featured on a radio podcast for Compare the Meerkat, part of the advertising for British website, Comparethemarket.com. He was the subject of an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom as a result of his support for the re-opening of Morecambe Winter Gardens.
In 2010, Hasselhoff guest hosted professional wrestling's WWE Raw in London, England. On August 15, 2010, Comedy Central aired a special "roast" of Hasselhoff.
Hasselhoff returned to The Young and the Restless, reprising his role as "Snapper" for a short arc that aired in mid-June 2010. Hasselhoff appeared as a contestant on season 11 of Dancing with the Stars. His professional dance partner was Kym Johnson. On September 21, 2010, they were the first couple eliminated from the competition. Coincidentally, Hasselhoff competed against Brandy Norwood, who judged alongside him in the first season of America's Got Talent.
In October 2010, it was announced that he would be playing Captain Hook in the New Wimbledon Theatre production of the pantomime "Peter Pan" from December 2010 to January 2011. He has reprised his role of "Hoff the Hook" for 2012 at the Opera House, Manchester.
In 2011, he was a guest judge at the Belgian Idols competition. Hasselhoff became a judge on Britain's Got Talent in 2011 alongside Amanda Holden, Michael McIntyre and Simon Cowell. However, Hasselhoff was axed after only one series on the show. In 2011, he revived his music career with a short tour across Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In the same year, Hasselhoff is featured in the trailer of the spin-off downloadable game, Burnout Crash!. On October 1, 2011, David Hasselhoff attended Knightcon 2011 at Xscape, Castleford, UK, with girlfriend Hayley Roberts. The event was also attended by former Knight Rider cohorts Rebecca Holden (April Curtis in Season 2), Peter Parros (Reginald Cornilius III (RC3) in Season 4), and Michael Scheffe, the designer of KITT. In 2012, he was a contestant on The Celebrity Apprentice Australia . He appeared on '8 out of 10 Cats' on May 11, 2012, and entertained the audience by using the word 'willy'.
On February 24, 2014, he opened his own 10-week talk show in Sweden on TV3, in English. A similar show was later recorded in Finland, premiering on Sub on April 2, 2015.
On New Year's Eve he performed again at the Brandenburg Gate, arriving late because his plane was diverted to Hannover.
Hasselhoff had a major role in Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! which premiered globally on July 22, 2015. He then starred in a new musical, Last Night a DJ Saved My Life at the Blackpool Opera House, late in 2015.
On May 18, 2017 Funner, California introduced its first official mayor: David Hasselhoff.
On April 21, 2006, fans of David Hasselhoff launched a tongue-in-cheek website "Get Hasselhoff to Number 1" in an attempt to get the 1989 hit "Looking for Freedom" to the top of the UK music charts through Internet downloads of the single. The campaign attracted attention on British radio and television broadcasts, in the national press and on the Internet. Over 40,000 people signed up to receive the "Hoff Alert" e-mail when the time had come to purchase the single. The focus of the campaign shifted to "Jump in My Car", when that was actually released as a single, and BBC Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills lent his support. On October 3, 2006, "the Hoff Alert" was sent out, and Hasselhoff promptly gained his highest ever UK chart entry (number 3) on October 8, 2006.
In 2008 Hasselhoff launched a MySpace-like social networking site, known as "HoffSpace".
Hasselhoff and his daughters, Taylor-Ann and Hayley, starred in a reality series on A&E called The Hasselhoffs. The series launched on Sunday, December 5, 2010, and focused on Hasselhoff's attempts to resuscitate his career and launch his daughters onto the Hollywood stage.
On Friday, December 10, 2010, A&E confirmed in a statement that, after airing just two episodes, The Hasselhoffs had been canceled. According to Nielsen Co. ratings, the first episode was seen by 718,000 viewers. Viewers dropped to 505,000 for the second installment, which aired on the same evening. The full series aired in the UK on May 30, 2011, on The Biography Channel.
Hasselhoff stars in a casino-style game series online, produced in partnership with Eric Bischoff with Europe being among the first markets to roll out the game. In keeping with internet and online gambling culture in the UK, "The Hoff" series of games includes video slots and scratch-card type games, all played for real money in Europe's online casino environment. The first in the series of games launched on Valentine's Day in early March, 2013, with media and promotional activities commencing in early February.
In 2014, UK channel Dave announced that it had commissioned Hoff the Record, a sitcom series in which Hasselhoff plays a fictionalized version of himself. The series started airing on 18 June 2015.
In 2017 Hasselhoff appeared in short film It's No Game by director Oscar Sharp, playing "The HoffBot". Hasselhoff's lines were generated by a neural network artificial intelligence (called Benjamin) using a statistical model trained on his own 80's and 90s television performances. Hasselhoff said the A.I. "really had a handle on what's going on in my life and it was strangely emotional".
His music career took off in the late 1980s and achieved success at the tops of the charts, with his album Looking for Freedom which went triple platinum in Europe. He had one #1 hit in the German pop charts in spring of 1989 ("Looking for Freedom"). He was noted for his performance of the single at the Berlin Wall on New Year's Eve 1989, two months after the East German government had opened the wall, but nine months before unification took place. Wearing a piano-keyboard scarf and a leather jacket covered in motion lights, Hasselhoff stood in a bucket crane and performed the song along with the crowd. The performance has had a lasting impact on German pop-culture with Hasselhoff commenting that the song became an "anthem" and "song of hope" for the people of East Germany. In 2004, Hasselhoff lamented the lack of a photo of him in the Checkpoint Charlie Museum in Berlin.
In 1993, he released the single "Pingu Dance" based on the children's show Pingu. In 1994, he was scheduled to perform a concert on pay-per-view from Atlantic City. The concert was expected to help reignite his singing career in the United States. However, on the night of the concert, O. J. Simpson was involved in a police chase in southern California. Viewership of the concert was significantly lower than expected due to the live coverage of the chase, and the event was ultimately a $1.5 million loss.
In May 2006, Hasselhoff returned to the spotlight after he was mentioned in an interview of Dirk Nowitzki, an NBA star playing for the Dallas Mavericks and a native of Germany. Nowitzki was asked what he does to concentrate when shooting foul shots. Dirk replied that he sings "Looking for Freedom" to himself. He meant this as a joke but it was thought to be a serious answer. Shortly thereafter, Hasselhoff attended the May 26, 2006, Mavericks home playoff game where they faced the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Western Conference Finals. Interviewed by Craig Sager, Hasselhoff stated he was as much a fan of Nowitzki as Nowitzki was a fan of him. In The 2006 NBA Finals, fans of the Miami Heat in the American Airlines Arena held up facial photos of Hasselhoff and chanted his name when Nowitzki went to the foul line. On August 2, 2006, he proclaimed himself "King of the Internet" in a tongue-in-cheek advertisement for Pipex.
In December 2008, he sang the national anthem at the NCAA Las Vegas Bowl. Although the game was televised live by ESPN, the station chose not to broadcast Hasselhoff's performance.
In 2015, he recorded the single "True Survivor", accompanied by a music video, which featured as the lead track for the 2015 Swedish short film Kung Fury. The song was composed by Mitch Murder (Johan Bengtsson). Recorded in Sweden, the song and the video is designed as an ostentatious over-the-top 1980s homage/parody, with the video featuring dinosaurs, kung fu, Adolf Hitler, skateboarding, Norse Gods and time travelling. Hasselhoff claimed that he had received the offer to record the song and the video by a request from Sweden Universal to "sing a tribute to the '80s". Hasselhoff performed a live version of the song during the 2016 Guldbagge Awards. In 2017, a retro music video called "Guardians' Inferno" was released as a bonus on the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 home release, where Hasselhoff does the singing.
Hasselhoff's autobiography Making Waves was released in the United Kingdom in September 2006. In an interview in April 2006, he promised the book would present the "last chapter" regarding controversial elements of his personal life.
In November 2015, Hasselhoff posted a YouTube video in which he announced that he had changed his name to "David Hoff". It was then reported that he was not changing his name; that the video was an excerpt from an upcoming advertising campaign.
After touring Glasgow during late 2015, Hasselhoff stated that he supports Scottish football team Partick Thistle F.C..
Hasselhoff was married to actress Catherine Hickland from March 24, 1984, to March 1, 1989. Their wedding was recreated in the Knight Rider Season 4 episode "The Scent of Roses" which first aired on January 3, 1986.
Hasselhoff married actress Pamela Bach in December 1989. The couple have two daughters: Taylor Ann Hasselhoff, born May 5, 1990, who attended the University of Arizona and was cast for the 2015 season of Rich Kids of Beverly Hills, and actress Hayley Hasselhoff, born August 28, 1992. In January 2006, Hasselhoff announced he was filing for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. Their divorce was finalized in August 2006. Bach was given custody of one daughter and Hasselhoff custody of the other, until Hasselhoff later obtained custody of both. As of December 2010 he resided in Southern California with his daughters, five dogs, and other pets.
Since 2013, Hasselhoff has dated Hayley Roberts, from the town of Glynneath in Wales. He is a fan of Welsh rugby union, and they regularly attend rugby matches in Wales.
On May 3, 2007, a viral video surfaced online of Hasselhoff appearing to be severely drunk inside his home. His daughter, Taylor Ann, who shot the video, can be heard interrogating him and asking him to cease abusing alcohol. She also warns her father he could be jeopardizing his spot on the Las Vegas production of The Producers he starred in at the time. In the wake of the leaked clip, Hasselhoff issued a statement saying it was recorded by Taylor Ann so that he could see how he behaved while intoxicated and the footage was deliberately released. As a result of the video, Hasselhoff's visitation rights with his two daughters were suspended on May 7, 2007, for two weeks until the video's authenticity and distributor were determined. In May 2009, Hasselhoff's attorney, Mel Goldsman, described Hasselhoff as "a recovering alcoholic".
David Hasselhoff supports the following charitable cause: Multiple Sclerosis.