Success, alcoholism and oblivion: the hard life of David Hasselhoff, the actor of Fantastic car and Baywatch
David Hasselhoff He entered Hollywood like a storm, starred in two of the most remembered television programs in history, and then disappeared. However, before fading away, he went through a process that slowly dragged him to the fringes of show business. This included a couple of resounding successes, a musical career that was only successful abroad, a series of roles that were not as glorious as the first ones and, finally, a severe addiction problem that ended up burying his career. Although he is remembered by many, for others he is a complete unknown..
Understanding the phenomenon that Hasselhoff meant is not easy at all. The man became the official face of a decade, and for an entire generation, his name is synonymous with entire afternoons in front of the television to watch their hero battle villains. But…How can it be that such a legendary celebrity has lost relevance from one day to the next? Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that he never took himself very seriously. Or maybe it was just the opposite, but he didn’t realize that he was slowly turning into a parody.
It’s also possible that he, who built a giant, multimillion-dollar brand around his face and his characters, doesn’t care too much if his relevance remains intact today. Because, the reality is that you only need to enter your Instagram profile to discover that At 69, Hasselhoff is in his prime, at least in terms of his personal life.
Before talking about the present, it is necessary to know where it all began. His great debut was with the interpretation of Michael Knight in the acclaimed series Knight Rider, better known in Latin America as The fantastic car. The story follows the life of a policeman who is shot in the face and rescued by a billionaire scientist. After defeating death, he changes his identity and sets out to fight crime with the help of KIIT, a futuristic and almost indestructible car.
It is not necessary to clarify that the saga released in 1982 was a success and that Hasselhof became the idol of millions of children around the world. But, at six feet three inches tall, with a perfectly blended jopo and a bright-toothed smile, It was a matter of time before he put aside his role as a hero and took the deserved place of a sex symbol.
After the hit that meant The fantastic car, it was his turn, Baywatch, the series that became an undisputed classic. The historic show etched into popular culture that all lifeguards have an obligation to run in slow motion on the sand in the most sensual way possible and caused Hasselhoff, who gave life to the brave Mitch Buchannon, broke the Guinness World Record for the “Most Watched Man on Television”.
The Baywatch, name with which it became popular among the Spanish-speaking audience, was tuned in by more than 1 billion people across 140 countries. That incredible achievement was the result of the protagonist’s sharp entrepreneurial eye. The story behind it is that the producers decided to drop the show after just one season, but it was David who blindly trusted in the commercial potential of the show and, after a significant investment made from his own capital, managed to get it back on the air in 1991 -three years later- until its end in 2001. Needless to say, it was one of the best investments of his life.
The eighties and nineties did not stop smiling at him. At the same time that he triumphed on the screen, he did the same on stage. David, in addition to being an actor, is also a musician and in those years, he summoned crowds who shouted his songs while he moved around the stages with his tight pants and rockstar attitude. Since no one is a prophet in his land, he was not very celebrated by his compatriots but he was received with open arms in Europe, especially in Germany, where the division of Berlin was more than firm and his song “Looking for Freedom” became a hymn of freedom.
The song represented the western culture that the citizens of the communist side of the city longed for so much. and his verses accompanied the fall of the first bricks of the much hated wall. Even the very Hasselhoff gave a live show on December 31, 1989 in Berlin to celebrate the historic fall.
He shone brighter and brighter but, at the turn of the century, something broke and could never be fixed. The entertainment industry is treacherous and did not hesitate to turn his back on the man who gave him so much. After the end of Baywatch, Hasselhoff was never able to rebuild his acting career and his roles were reduced to playing himself or parodies of what he once was. Thus, those who loved him stopped seeing him in the movies and, for those who were not old enough to know him for his times of splendor, the legendary icon was nobody.
In the midst of his professional downfall, his addiction problem Y multiple failed marriages played against him. His worst moment came in 2007 when one of his daughters decided to record one of his episodes of alcoholism on video so that he could “remember” how bad he looked. Sadly, good intentions couldn’t stop someone from leaking the recording to the press.
At that time, he was in the middle of a divorce and the clip caused the judge in charge not to let him see his daughters. After that, nothing was ever the same again. the golden days of David Hasselhoff were only part of the collective memory.
However, hitting rock bottom helped him get back on his feet, and although he never regained the acting status he had before, he was able to rebuild his life. His gradual disappearance on screen and increasingly bizarre roles weren’t enough to slow him down. He continues as if nothing had happened, with his tan and his smile intact.. After all, as he declared in an interview given in 2010, life “is not about falling down” but about “how fast you get up”.