At 80, David Soul Reflected On Blessing Of 'Strong' Wife Who Helped Him Recover In Palliative Care After Multiple Failed Marriages

Sep 15, 2023 by apost team

David Soul was a preacher’s kid who didn’t plan for a life of fame. The actor, renowned for playing Detective Hutchinson in “Starsky and Hutch,” only wanted to sing, so he started singing after he impregnated his girlfriend at 19 and went on to marry her. Later, he had to become an actor to support her and their child.

“I went into acting because I had to make a good living. I had a child now and I had to support him any way I could... I wasn't happy, but I wasn't unhappy. I was just doing what I had to do to survive,” he said.

For Soul, music always came first. He had success in his musical endeavors. Two of his songs, “Don’t Give Up On Us” and “Silver Lady,” were number-one hits on the charts, and three others were on the top 12 list in the UK.

Soul’s first marriage to Mim Solberg, born Mirriam Russeth, lasted only two years before the duo split. His other three marriages after that didn’t work either. His parents, who were married for 64 years, were as unhappy as he was over his failed marriages. He told The Guardian:

“My parents were together for 64 years and I'm on my fifth marriage, so they weren't too happy with the situation. They were very saddened by what happened to me and I certainly am too, but it's just what happened.”

Nevertheless, Soul had six children, five sons and a daughter, China. After his messy lifestyle, he gave his all to have a relationship with them. 

“Winning back my children's trust wasn't easy,” he revealed.

Soul was last married to his fifth wife, whom he thought the world of. He credited her with helping him recover while in palliative care in an interview published on April 12, 2019. Keep reading for more details. 

David Soul (2014), (Tristan Fewings/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images)

Soul’s dad was the religious affairs adviser for the US High Commission sometime after the Second World War had ended, and he remembered that their house was a stopover for many people fleeing the East. His parents attended to everyone, but this made him feel neglected by them.

Unfortunately, that became a habit that stuck with him after marriage. 

“I've had a number of marriages, and one of the recurring complaints about me has been that I've paid less attention to the home fires and more to the strangers and people out there than I do to the person I'm supposedly in love with,” he confessed.

Soul’s divorces cost him a lot as he had to pay for the upkeep of six children. He lost his Los Angeles home and moved to Britain. He also engaged in numerous unprofitable ventures, which he financed with his money because he wanted to make a social impact. 

However, Soul did not regret what he had. Instead, he relished the comfort of his family above money.

“When I’m surrounded by my six children, I feel rich,” he told The Sunday Times.

He met Helen Snell, his fifth wife, in Britain and began a new chapter. 

“I finally got British citizenship in 2004 because I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life here with Helen,” he told Daily Mail.

From all appearances, Soul finally found lasting love with Snell. The duo met when Snell was hired to run PR for a play, “Deathtrap.” The two didn’t get along well because the actor was usually wary of PR tactics. Snell also didn’t know him as she didn’t watch his famous TV series, “Starsky and Hutch.”

The lovebirds tied the knot in 2010.

Helen Snell, David Soul (2012), (Ben Pruchnie/WireImage via Getty Images)

Soul turned 80 on Aug. 28, 2023, and couldn’t be more thankful for his life at the time. The actor reflected on the periods when he was very sick, and his wife helped him pull through.

He had two hip replacement surgeries and once, in 2017, lapsed into unconsciousness after anesthesia was administered to him. Soul stayed in intensive care for 10 weeks, and doctors didn’t think he would make it.

“I spent 72 days in intensive care, including twice being put on a ventilator and undergoing a tracheostomy,” he shared

The tracheostomy, a breathing tube that went into his throat, meant that Soul could no longer sing and, therefore, lost his livelihood. He told The Sunday Times

“One thing I can’t do now, which is my livelihood, is sing or work in the theatre. My voice has dropped considerably and I don’t have the vocal range, or the power.”

Besides hip replacement surgery, Soul also had cancer of the lungs and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) from years of smoking daily for 50 years. Soul disclosed that he used to smoke about three packs of cigarettes daily. 

“It took its toll and I quit about 10 years ago (but) you can’t reverse the condition,” he shared.

He also used a wheelchair at some point, and his “Starsky and Hutch” costar, Peter Glaser, pushed him to the 2017 Comic Con, making fans worried. Soul joked about it on social media later. 

However, Snell was beside him through it all.

“I am a fighter and I did fight my way through this thing,” he said. “There is no question about it, but without Helen I never would have made it. She’s magnificent. Phew. What a strong lady. She was as much a part of my getting better as the doctors were.”

Soul passed away on January 4, 2024. His wife Helen stated that he passed away "after a valiant battle for life in the loving company of family."

Helen Snell, David Soul (2015), (David M. Benett/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images)

What do you think of David Soul’s story? Did you know about his five marriages and six children? What do you think about his wife, Helen Snell, helping him live through his health struggles? Let us know — and be sure to pass this on to friends and fans of “Starsky and Hutch.”

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