David Hasselhoff says big screen revivals show he's still 'semi-cool'

NEW YORK (dpa), Johannes Schmitt-Tegge- Life has slowed down a bit for David Hasselhoff, a star of two very successful television shows in the '80s and '90s that are the basis for movies coming out this year and next. The entertainer is preparing to celebrate his 65th birthday and go on tour in Germany.
- David Hasselhoff will celebrate his 65th birthday on Monday, and in the coming year will tour Germany, a country that has a fondness for the actor and singer unmatched elsewhere in the world.

Hasselhoff played the lead role of crime fighter Michael Knight in "Knight Rider," which featured KITT, a high-performance sports car fitted with artificial intelligence. The show ran on US television for five seasons in the 1980s. Hasselhoff followed that up in the role of Mitch Buchannon on the long-running show "Baywatch," the story of a cadre of Los Angeles lifeguards that ran from 1989-2001.
Hasselhoff, born July 17, 1952, in Baltimore, Maryland, is also a pop singer whose biggest hits were the songs "Looking for Freedom," "Crazy for You" and "Everybody Sunshine."
He has two daughters and has been divorced five times. For six years he has been seeing a Welsh saleswoman and they are now engaged.
In a telephone interview with dpa he spoke about the revival of "Knight Rider," his young fan base and his German ancestors, who were from the town of Voelkersen east of the north-western city of Bremen.
dpa: You are mostly known as a lifeguard through your role in the television show "Baywatch." What do you think of the movie out this year based on the TV series with Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron?
Hasselhoff: The "Baywatch" (movie) we did was not the "Baywatch" I wanted. When it was offered to me, I realized it was going to be a joke and they were going to make fun of it. Dwayne Johnson is a friend of mine, and because I know Zac Efron, who is such a nice guy, I decided to go ahead and do it. I knew if I said no, it would be too much for everyone to handle.
dpa: You have only a cameo appearance in the movie. Would you have liked a larger, more serious role?
Hasselhoff: In Hollywood you do what is offered to you and you try to make the most of it.
dpa: Your other very successful series was "Knight Rider." What can we expect from the movie that is being made based on that show, which is due out in 2018.
Hasselhoff: I don't really know. Harvey Weinstein and I had a few conversations saying I was going to be in it and it's going to be a comedy. The conversations weren't really as positive as I wanted [them] to be. I don't know, but I hope that it's not a spoof. I hope it does justice to the original. It won't be a success unless it's done right. Everybody who has watched the show doesn't want it to be made fun of. They want it to continue. It was like the knights of the round table. He (Michael Knight) is like a knight in shining armour, just that he's wearing black leather.
dpa: Do people still identify you with him today?
Hasselhoff: I keep thinking it's going to go away. Then I find myself going into a hair salon and I get mobbed. Everybody wants to take pictures with me. How does Justin Bieber know me? Obviously, it has nothing to do with "Knight Rider." He's 23 years old. It aired eight years before he was born. Somehow my reputation with these kids is still semi-cool. I have no idea why.
dpa: In the coming year you will go on tour in Germany. What are the people who come to your concerts looking for?
Hasselhoff: They want to forget the pain in the world that we're living in, hate and terrorism and fear. They just want to go back to a happy time and watch "Knight Rider," sing "Crazy for You" and dance.
dpa: How do you explain your fan base in Germany?
Hasselhoff: I sang to a million people (at the Berlin Wall) on New Year's Eve in 1989, and I was the first American to sing there since 1945 and because my song "Looking for Freedom" happened to have the word freedom in it. It was a very important word to the people of East Germany and East Berlin because they weren't free.
dpa: And you have ancestors who came from Germany?
Hasselhoff: I found that out when I was touring Germany and Austria about three years ago. I met a genealogist who said he knew my roots and knew exactly where I came from. We (the Hasselhoffs) were in Voelkerson near Bremen. He gave me a book that showed people up to 1868. There were all these Hasselhoffs! They had a "hof," (yard) ... and they all farmed hazelnuts.
dpa: Would you do anything differently in your life?
Hasselhoff: Probably not. I put heart, humour and action in every script. I'm still looking for freedom. I'm still looking for quality entertainment. I had a magnificent, humble, lucky successful career. If I changed anything, I would take more attention to accepting the truth. But I wouldn't change anything. I'm blessed. I just want to stay alive another 20 years.

Tuesday, July 18th 2017
Johannes Schmitt-Tegge

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